On Sunday, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will meet for the final time in 2021. It could very well be the last time the Bears see Aaron Rodgers in a Packers uniform as well. The Bears and Packers will square off under the bright lights in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. We all know what the narratives will be.
Nevertheless, the Bears come into this matchup following a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Packers are coming off of a bye week.
As far records go, the Bears are 4-8 with their playoff hopes all but dashed. On the other hand, the Packers come into the contest at 9-3. They are still fighting for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in the NFC.
The Bears and Packers are two historical franchises that helped found the NFL we know and love today. These two teams have been rivals from the start and will play one another for the 204th time this week.
Once upon a time, the Bears had a commanding 23-game lead in the series over the Packers. However, in the past 29 years between the Favre and Rodgers eras, that lead has gone by the wayside. In fact, now Green Bay has a seven-game lead over Chicago. They lead the head-to-head slate 102-95-6 and have outscored the Bears 3,565 to 3,479 in those games.
The last time these two teams faced off was not too long ago in a Week 6 matchup at Soldier Field. On October 17, 2021, the 4-1 Green Bay Packers visited the 3-2 Chicago Bears. That happened to be the last time the Bears were over .500. For Justin Fields, it was his first taste of the Bears-Packers rivalry. In contrast, it marked the 17th season of the storied rivalry for Aaron Rodgers.
As for the game, it got off to a horrendous start. On the first play from scrimmage, the referees called Robert Quinn for a neutral zone infraction. However, a few plays later Khalil Mack put an end to a promising Packers drive by sacking Aaron Rodgers.
The six-play, 31-yard drive resulted in a punt. Subsequently, the Bears took advantage by marching 80 yards down the field on eight plays. Khalil Herbert capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Bears an early 7-0 lead.
Following the Bears’ score, the Packers responded by going three-and-out and punting the ball back. Unfortunately, on the corresponding drive, Justin Fields threw an interception on what he assumed to be a free play. However, the referees did not call what looked like an obvious offsides by the Packers.
The Packers responded to the gift accordingly. They moved 80 yards on a 12-play drive spanning just over six minutes. Allen Lazard hauled in a one-yard pass from Rodgers to tie the game at seven. After the Bears went three-and-out, the Packers had the ball again. This time they went 38 yards on seven plays to set up a 39-yard Mason Crosby field goal. That kick gave the Packers a 10-7 lead.
Just before halftime, the Bears were on the move. But a nine-play, 20-yard drive stalled at midfield and yielded no points after Fields took a 10-yard sack to put Chicago out of field-goal range.
Following a punt, Rodgers took a knee and the clock expired on the first half. The Packers sported a 10-7 lead at the break.
In typical Bears fashion, they came out of halftime and did absolutely nothing. A golden opportunity to take a lead over the Packers fell short after a four-play, 19-yard drive. Following the punt, the Packers executed a methodical 10-play, 90-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes and resulted in more points for Matt LaFleur’s squad. This time Aaron Jones caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to extend the Packers lead to 17-7.
Next, both teams exchanged punts to set up a Bears’ 10-play, 80-yard drive spanning 6:16. Darnell Mooney hauled in a five-yard touchdown catch to cut the Packers’ lead to 17-14. This score brought the Bears right back into the game.
Just when things were looking good for the Bears, Aaron Rodgers ripped their hearts out. The Green Bay signal-caller led his offense on a seven-play, 75-yard drive while taking 4:14 off the clock. Rodgers put an exclamation point on the drive when he rushed it in himself from six yards out. That touchdown gave Green Bay a two-possession lead once again with the score at 24-14.
To make matters worse, Rodgers taunted Bears fans following his touchdown run. He yelled back to the fans, “I own you! All my f*cking life, I own you! I still own you! I still own you!”
Consequently, the Bears attempted a rally which ultimately fell flat. A seven-play, 10-yard drive resulted in a turnover on downs and gave the ball back to the Packers. Green Bay iced the game with a seven play, 19-yard drive to eat up the remaining 2:14 left on the clock.
The 24-14 loss to the Packers dropped the Bears to 3-3. This marked the first defeat of what would become a five-game losing streak. That skid dropped Chicago’s record from 3-2 to 3-7. However, the Bears ended the losing streak by defeating the Lions on Thanksgiving. Now, the Bears find themselves at 4-8 and with slim playoff hopes. In fact, the Bears are the third-worst team in the NFC and sixth-worst in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the Packers improved to 5-1 with the win and have gone 4-2 since. At 9-3, they hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture. Green Bay is only one game behind the Arizona Cardinals for the top spot in the NFC.
The race for the No. 1 seed will come down to the wire between the Cardinals, Packers, and Buccaneers. However, the Cowboys and Rams are still lurking not too far behind. The prize for being the best in the conference includes a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
No matter the records, Bears vs. Packers always brings about a heated battle. That’s exactly what fans should expect to see in the Week 14 installment of Sunday Night Football.
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Featured Photo: Chicago Tribune