Fluke play becomes metaphor for Chicago Bears’ season
This is the word that comes to mind that best describes the Chicago Bears‘ season, and a key play that is the epitome of this description occurred in the second quarter Sunday. Julius Peppers sacked Aaron Rodgers from behind, propelling his arm forward and jarring the ball loose. The play was not blown dead, yet no player on either team went for the ball. This lasted a short time as Green Bay Packers‘ wideout Jarrett Boykin was alerted by the Green Bay sideline and Rodgers to pick up the ball and run. He did exactly that, romping 15 yards for a touchdown.
The Packers jumped out to a 10-7 lead, which increased to 13-7 after a Mason Crosby field goal in the waning seconds of the first half. The Bears matched with a score of their own from Matt Forte, and it was more or less a see-saw affair after that. Forte had two touchdowns and 100 yards on 22 carries, and he played a big role in carrying the offense and putting them in position to win the game.
Jay Cutler played well enough to win, but it was the defense that doomed the Bears. The quarterback threw for 226 yards on 15-of-24 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. His second touchdown came in the fourth quarter, when he threw a 5-yard beauty to Brandon Marshall in the corner of the end zone. He was also sacked twice but finished with a 103.8 quarterback rating, his third 100+ rating in a loss.
He has shown throughout the season he is capable of making big plays, as he did with Marshall Sunday. However, the loss will certainly hurt his leverage when the two sides begin negotiations, and he has yet to win a high-stakes game. We will see how this all plays out in the coming months.
Like Cutler two weeks ago, Rodgers was rusty early in his return, throwing an interception to both Chris Conte and Tim Jennings, but settled down just when the Packers needed him the most. The Bears’ worst nightmare threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns along with the two interceptions. His favorite target was Jordy Nelson, who was targeted 10 times for 161 yards. Randall Cobb was targeted twice for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense could not stop the ground attack, either, as they allowed 160 yards on the ground, 66 yardsalong with a touchdown to Eddie Lacy and 88 to James Starks. The duo that gashed the Bears in Week 9 did the same in a game that meant much more to both teams. Lance Briggs and the defense made inexcusable errors and could not stop the Packers on fourth down, allowing them to convert all three of their attempts. The most egregious of errors came at a crucial time in the fourth quarter.
Miscommunication between the Bears coaches and defensive backs allowed Cobb to break into the open field and scamper 48 yards for the game-winning touchdown with :38 seconds remaining.
The Bears finish the season at 8-8, while the Packers improve to 8-7-1 and move on to host the San Francisco 49ers in Green Bay next Sunday.