The Chicago Bears started hot and finished hot offensively, but the Green Bay Packers dominated the bulk of the game en route to a 24-14 victory Sunday. Both teams struggled to protect their respective quarterbacks, as sacks killed a number of drives. The win puts the Packers in the driver's seat of the NFC North with a two-game lead over Chicago.
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It wasn’t a banner performance from Aaron Rodgers by any means, but he did more than enough against the team he owns.
Aaron Rodgers to #Bears fans: “I still own you!”
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 17, 2021
They leaned on the run game heavily all day to try and avoid obvious passing situations to put Rodgers in harm’s way. He only dropped back to pass 28 times all day and was still sacked three times. He finished the game without any turnover-worthy plays, going 17-for-23 for 195 yards with two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown.
Aaron Jones continues to look worthy of the contract Green Bay handed him last offseason. He gained 76 yards on 13 carries with three broken tackles, but his masterpiece came through the air. On what looked like an afterthought dump-off from Rodgers, Jones stiff-armed Tashaun Gipson en route to an improbable score.
So glad Aaron Jones is a Packer.
— GBP Daily (@GBPdaily) October 17, 2021
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
The Packers' air attack continues to be Davante Adams or bust. Adams hauled in four of five targets for 89 yards. The next-closest wide receiver for the Packers was Allen Lazard, who only caught three of five targets for 27 yards.
Considering the opponent, the Packers had to be happy with the performance of their offensive line. While they had some help from a play-calling perspective, the unit as a whole combined to allow only six pressures on the day. That was with center Josh Myers getting hurt two snaps into the game. While they had a couple miscommunications that led to sacks, their play was instrumental in the win.
It won’t show up on the stat sheet, but Rashan Gary had one of the best performances of his young career. He had four pressures on 33 pass-rushing snaps as well as three stops in the run game. The unit outside of him struggled to consistently make plays in the run game and was gashed at times.
Packers fans got their first taste of new linebacker Jaylon Smith. He played 15 snaps on the day and the results were… not great. The only real play he was involved in, Smith failed to even lay a hand on the Bears ball carrier in space for a missed tackle.
With injuries to Jaire Alexander and Kevin King, the Packers were on their last legs in the secondary. Even still, the Packers corners combined to allow a grand total of 69 yards on 6-of-11 targets for only three first downs. That was decidedly not what most expected heading into the game. Slot corner Chandon Sullivan had one of his best games as a Packer, as he didn’t allow a catch on three targets.
Justin Fields looked like the guy we saw at Ohio State at times in this one, but the rookie learning curve was there as well. He was attacking consistently downfield with a 12.7 yard average depth of target and 71.8% of his yards coming through the air. At the same time, Fields struggled to consistently identify open receivers and play within the offense. He made a number of rookie mistakes like taking a sack to move them out of field goal range and holding an RPO too long to warrant an illegal man downfield flag.
Khalil Herbert looks like a real deal NFL starter. He picked up 97 yards on 19 carries with four broken tackles and a touchdown. He also had another one called back. His decisiveness and acceleration was on full display all day. He looks like a steal of a sixth-rounder.
KHALIL HERBERT FIRST CAREER TD pic.twitter.com/TDk9OI4l4b
— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) October 17, 2021
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Second-year tight end Cole Kmet finally started to develop some rapport with Justin Fields in this one. He caught all four of his targets for 49 yards with three of those going for first downs. The more Fields can use a massive target like that over the middle of the field, the better off he’ll be.
It was the tale of two tackles on Sunday for the Bears. Jason Peters had one of his best days in a Bears uniform, as he didn’t allow a pressure on 37 pass-blocking snaps all day. Elijah Wilkinson, on the other hand, yielded five hurries on the same number of snaps, earning the lowest pass-blocking grade on the day.
Green Bay paid extra attention to Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack Sunday, but both got home to Aaron Rodgers for a sack. Quinn’s was a particularly impressive bend around the edge against left tackle Elgton Jenkins.
Robert Quinn looks like THAT dude this year. pic.twitter.com/f732sIloE2
— Ryan Heckman (@RyanHeckmanFS) October 17, 2021
Roquan Smith was everywhere in one of his best performances this season. He missed only one tackle on 14 attempts with five of those resulting in defensive stops. Smith was darn near single-handedly shutting down the Packers' rushing attack Sunday.
Jaylon Johnson got the unenviable task of having to follow around Davante Adams all day. It’s safe to say that Adams got the upper hand in that matchup. Johnson had allowed all of 137 yards in the first five games this season, but yielded 92 on Sunday alone.