During week 15, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears by a score of 21-13. It was a close contest, but Green Bay completed the season sweep against their NFC North rival. Here is the full recap of the Packers vs Bears game.
Kenny Clark Kent
All season we have been waiting for a superhuman performance from Kenny Clark. While he flashed and made key plays during previous games, he had not yet had a contest where he was constantly disrupted. We finally got that game where he was less Clark Kent and more Superman. His impact was immediately made with a tackle for loss on the second play from scrimmage of the match. Clark finished the game with 6 solo tackles (8 total), 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.
The Bears began to double team Clark on this opening drive, but with little success. On 3rd-and-10, when he was double-teamed, Clark managed to get some penetration and forced Mitchell Trubisky to scramble out of the pocket for a short gain. Chicago’s initial possession ended in a punt.
The game actually began with three straight punting drives. The Packers’ first play from scrimmage was a play-action deep shot to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Unfortunately for him, Aaron Rodgers‘ perfectly thrown pass went right through his hands. The drive ended after a drop by another Green Bay receiver who failed to meet lofty expectations in 2019. Geronimo Allison ran a good crossing route from the slot, and while the pass was a little high, he definitely should have come down with it. While Allison would still be involved in the game plan, Valdes-Scantling did not see another target in this contest.
The Bears’ second drive went no better than their first. Once again, Clark’s impact was felt with a 2nd down sack setting up a 3rd-and-16. Chicago ran a quick pass to rookie Riley Ridley in order to get something going. However, Jaire Alexander, who was covering a different receiver, tackled Ridley behind the scrimmage and got the defense off of the field.
Since his rookie season, Davante Adams has worked tirelessly to become a premier wide receiver in the NFL. The fruits of those labors were on full display during week 15. Adams was the only Packers players to catch more than 2 passes hosting the Bears. That includes a 29-yard reception in the end zone to give the Packers an early 7-0 lead. Lining up in the slot, Adams beat Buster Skrine right off the line of scrimmage. Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target was open for the early score. Adams finished the match with 7 receptions for 103 yards a 1 TD. It was his 4th 100-yard game of the season, and also the 6th contest where he snagged at least 7 catches.
One characteristic of this Packers’ season has been the team’s consistent inability to stop the run. There were times where the defense found success in the run game, most notably week 1 in Chicago. Well, it happened again as the Packers held the Bears running backs to 67 yards on 22 carries (3.05 yards per attempt).
Chicago tried to establish their ground game on their third drive of the game. A swing pass to Tarik Cohen out in the flat set up the Bears with a 2nd-and-4. However, 2 runs from David Montgomery went for a combined -1 yard, and the team was forced to punt again.
It is not as if the Packers backfield found much room to run either. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 77 rushing yards on 21 carries (3.67 yards per attempt). A major factor in that was the return of Akiem Hicks from the injured reserve. Out since the London game with an elbow injury, Hicks was on and off the field as he clearly was not 100%. However, he was arguably the Bears most impactful defender causing havoc up the middle and acting as an excellent run stuffer. Imagine his impact if he was fully healthy.
The Bears players were not the only ones dealing with ailments. A couple of key Green Bay defenders left the field during the first half. For starters, Tramon Williams took a hard hit to the helmet on a punt return. He was evaluated for a concussion. Later on, Blake Martinez stayed on the ground after getting tangled up chasing down a play. Both players would miss time, but both would return to game action.
4th down became an important aspect of the 2nd quarter. For starters, the Bears went for it on a 4th-and-7 from the Packers’ 41-yard line. It was the first time that Chicago was in opposition territory during this game. They wanted to take advantage of the field position and Mitch Trubisky took a deep shot to Anthony Miller. It was a favorable matchup for the Bears as Miller was covered by Chandon Sullivan. It was a perfectly thrown ball by Trubisky that Miller was able to grab. However, providing tight coverage, Sullivan did not let Miller get a second foot down in bounds as he pushed him onto the big white line.
On the ensuing Packers possession, a similarly aggressive approach was employed. The cold weather of Lambeau did not create an ideal environment for the kicking game. Freezing temperatures make the football harder and more difficult to kick. That explains why the Packers went for it on 4th-and-6 from the Bears 36-yard line. 53 yards is normally within Mason Crosby‘s range for field goals. Instead, Aaron Rodgers took another deep shot to Davante Adams. Unlike on the touchdown catch, Buster Skrine had good coverage on Adams and the Packers turned it over on downs.
Out of Hibernation
The Bears offense woke up right after getting the ball back. The second play of the drive was a deep shot to Anthony Miller for a 33-yard completion. It was a questionable defensive call for Green Bay as Blake Martinez was in coverage on Miller. It is odd to have a linebacker (as great as he is) on one of the opposition’s top two targets.
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Green Bay prevented Chicago from getting into the end zone, partially thanks to a sack from rookie Rashaan Gary, his second of the year. Chandon Sullivan came in on a 3rd-down corner blitz, which forced Mitch Trubisky to rush his throw incomplete. Eddy Pineiro then came out to kick a 30-yard field goal and make the score 7-3.
The Packers had a chance to add to their lead before halftime. However, for the second consecutive time, a drive ended in a turnover on downs. A 45-yard kickoff return by Tyler Ervin set up the offense in a good position. Things started fairly well. On 3rd-and-3, a scrambling Aaron Rodgers found Allen Lazard for a 1st-down reception. After an intentional grounding penalty took them out of field goal range, the Packers went for it on 4th-and-14. Rodgers was unable to connect with Geronimo Allison and the Bears took over. However, they only had enough time to run one Hail-Marry play. Mitch Trubisky threw it up and it was intercepted by Jaire Alexander.
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The Green Bay offense found their footing in the 3rd quarter. Their first two offensive possessions after the break both ended with Aaron Jones touchdowns. The first one, a 21-yard run, featured great blocking by David Bakhtiari. Both offensive tackles, Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga had a tough challenge in this game as they were often tasked with blocking Khalil Mack 1-on-1. The offensive linemen won those battles throughout the game and Mack made a minimum impact on this contest.
The second touchdown run was not as long but just s important. From 2 yards out, Jones found the endzone thanks to some great blocking across the line. Rookie Elgton Jenkins pushed his man back into the endzone, while Bakhtiari was a statue and held his man in place, giving the running back a lane. Jones ran through a Kevin Toliver tackle to find the end zone and give the Packers a 21-3 lead.
Slipping in the 4th
After each team punted, the Bears found some momentum in the form of an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Mitch Trubisky alternated bad throws with great ones and was able to move the football well enough. For the Chicago QB, the issues include a poor sense of timing and anticipation that caused some throws to be late and behind receivers. At times, he puts too much power on short pass attempts. Also, there were a couple of throws that were just bad misses. The positive with Trubisky is that he can make accurate throws with power and velocity.
Either way, the result was a 27-yard field goal to begin the 4th quarter. At that point, the Bears trailed 21-6. There was potential for the Packers to eat up the clock and take full control of the game. Instead, back-to-back 4th quarter drives ended in 3-and-outs. One of the few impacts Khalil Mack made on the game was providing pressure on Aaron Rodgers. It was a clear mistake in pass-protection as Mack went unblocked on the 3rd down attempt.
The Packers’ 3-and-out possession bookended a Bears touchdown drive. Once again, it was a mixed bag from Trubisky. He made a poor decision and threw into double coverage, a play that almost ended up as a turnover. However, after avoiding that mistake, Trubisky threw a 15-yard pass to Allen Robinson on 3rd-and-7. Three plays later, he found Anthony Miller in the end zone to make the score 21-13.
Bear-ly Hanging On
Now only up by 1-score, the Packers needed some clutch plays and got one from the defense. Thanks to pressure provided by Za’Darius Smith, Mitch Trubisky threw the football right at Dean Lowry. The defensive linemen came up with his first career interception and set up Green Bay on the Bears 33-yard line. Aaron Jones gained 6 yards on two runs plays and set up the chance to kick a 44-yard field goal if they did not lose any yards. However, the costly decision was made for Aaron Rodgers to drop back. Jones could not contain Nick Kwiatkoski in pass-protection as he pushed the running back right into Rodgers for the 11-yard sack. This forced the Packers to punt and it remained a 1-score game.
Ultimately, the Bears had the chance to put together 2 drives to win the game. The first ended in a turnover on downs. On 4th-and-10 from midfield, Kenny Clark made another big impact. Blocked 1-on-1, Clark pushed his man out of the way and forced Trubisky to flee. After scrambling, Trubisky had no choice but to throw late over the middle. Allen Robinson almost came down with the catch, but Jaire Alexander’s tight coverage prevented that.
Closest of Margins
After the Packers punted once again, the Bears got a final chance. A Hail Marry attempt barely failed. Jaire Alexander almost came up with another interception, but it went through his hands. While the ball ended up landing near Riley Ridley, he was just out of range to be able to make a play on it.
After that play, the clock, read 00:01. Therefore, Chicago had one more attempt. However, instead of taking another shot at the end zone, Trubisky went underneath to Tarik Cohen. The Bears then ran a series of laterals in an attempt to score. Eventually, Jesper Horsted ended up with the football and brought it to the Green Bay 7-yard line. However, Chandon Sullivan punched the ball out and it was recovered by Tramon Williams to end the game.
The Packers edged out the 21-13 victory over their divisional rivals. Green Bay’s record improves to 11-3 and they are currently the #2 seed in the NFC. The Bears record meanwhile, drops to 7-7 and were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
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