GREEN BAY – The Bears came into Sunday's game in Chicago allowing opponents just 3.9 yards per carry running the ball, good for eighth in the league.
Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon left Soldier Field with a 5.6 average, gaining 135 yards on 24 attempts, pushing Chicago's ranking down a few pegs.
A strong, efficient ground game is rarely about one guy getting a good block. It's often multiple guys getting good blocks and/or one guy getting multiple blocks.
The Packers had all of that against the Bears, plus a big change-up thrown in for good measure.
Here's a sampling:
Play No. 1: Second-and-goal from the Chicago 7, second quarter, 10:45 left
Result: 6-yard run by Jones
LT Elgton Jenkins (74) was back after missing three games, and he gets the two-for-one here, first helping LG Jon Runyan (76) get DL Eddie Goldman (91) moving laterally. Jenkins then pivots to pick up LB Roquan Smith (58). All the while, TE Robert Tonyan(85) – who had some rough moments early against LB Robert Quinn (94) – gets the best of Quinn this time by tossing him to the ground. When diving S Tashaun Gipson (38) fails to trip Jones up, the push nearly gets him to the goal line. The Packers would score on the next play, a shovel pass to WR Allen Lazard .
Play No. 2: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 42, second quarter, 8:03 left
Result: 36-yard run by Dillon
On the first play of the Packers' next drive, they throw the change-up, a switch from zone blocking to a "power" or "gap" scheme with a pulling lineman, and it works beautifully. RG Royce Newman (70) is the puller and he gets to Smith at the exact same moment TE Marcedes Lewis (89) engages with LB Alec Ogletree (44). The timing couldn't be more perfect. With TE Josiah Deguara (81) throwing a cut block on Quinn, Dillon is to the second level in a hurry. He makes Gipson miss in the open field and he's off to his career-long carry, and the longest run allowed by the Bears this season.
Play No. 3: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 21, third quarter, 12:16 left
Result: 28-yard run by Jones
To start the second half, the Packers are back to their more traditional inside zone scheme. Like he did in Play No. 1, Jenkins provides a nudge to help Runyan, this time against DL Bilal Nichols (98). But the two-fer is executed by C Lucas Patrick (62), who comes off a quick double-team with Newman against DL Akiem Hicks (96) to take out Ogletree and spin him to the ground. Patrick pops up and celebrates with a well-earned fist pump as Jones gets a big chunk of yardage. It's the third-longest run allowed by the Bears this season.
Play No. 4: Second-and-2 from the Chicago 13, fourth quarter, 5:23 left
Result: 7-yard run by Jones
One play before QB Aaron Rodgers scrambles for a touchdown, the Packers overload the right side for a comin'-at-ya run. From outside-in, Lewis is against Mack, who has no interest in locking up with the big tight end, taking himself out of the play. Tonyan deftly handles a swim move by DL Angelo Blackson (90) and seals him off. RT Billy Turner (77) has a clear shot at Ogletree and wins. And Newman, after taking a false step initially, adjusts his angle in time to help wall off Goldman for a big first down in the red zone.
Play No. 5: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 48, fourth quarter, 2:14 left
Result: 8-yard run by Dillon
On the final drive of the game, four straight runs by Dillon pick up 23 yards and a pair of first downs, leading to Rodgers kneeling out the rest of the clock. This is the first of those four, which again has Mack avoiding combat with Lewis. Turner and Newman handle Nichols, and WR Randall Cobb (18) provides a nice assist by taking out DB Xavier Crawford (21) as Dillon charges right on through.
Big Dog Bonus No. 1: First-and-10 from the Chicago 41, third quarter, 9:57 left
Result: 9-yard completion to Lewis
Several plays above show Lewis' impact in the running game, so we'll add some bonus work in the passing game. This one is all about the play-action fake, which Rodgers carries out to great exaggeration. The extended deceipt not only draws in inside LBs Ogletree and Smith, but Gipson on the edge as well. By the time he realizes Lewis is crossing his face on a route, he has to spin around and it's too late to prevent the Big Dog from setting up second-and-short.
Big Dog Bonus No. 2: First-and-10 from the Chicago 12, third quarter, 6:09 left
Result: 12-yard TD reception by Jones
Remember the references to two-for-ones earlier? This might qualify as a three-for-one. Lewis starts by stymieing Quinn in pass protection as Rodgers throws the check-down to Jones. Then, as Jones stiff-arms away from Gipson, it's Lewis out front with both Smith and Ogletree in pursuit. He hardly touches either defender, but neither gets close to Jones, so it's mission accomplished.
Big-Play Bonus: Second-and-10 from the Green Bay 38, fourth quarter, 7:15 left
Result: 41-yard completion to WR Davante Adams
Having shown how the Packers' two long runs were executed, why not show the biggest pass play, too? This one's fun, because there's a lot going on here. First, the Bears' two-deep safety look morphs into single high as Smith blitzes off the slot and Gipson rotates over to cover Lazard. Then, there's an obvious lesson in why cornerbacks don't try to jam Adams at the line of scrimmage often, as CB Jaylon Johnson (33) completely whiffs. Last but not least, Cobb's route from the far inside slot keeps occupies the now single safety Eddie Jackson (4), whose hips are turned the wrong way to have any chance to help on Adams. If only Adams could have stayed in bounds for a 62-yard TD.