2021 Week 14 - That's What Cheese Said

Hear from the head coach and key players following an NFC North victory against the Chicago Bears in primetime. 

The Packers won matchup No. 204 in the all-time series against the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, bringing their record to 10-3 on the season. With that victory, Green Bay is one win away from clinching the NFC North. And, thanks to the results of Monday Night Football, Green Bay also finds itself atop the NFC as the conference’s No. 1 seed with four games left to play. 

While the 45-30 victory looks impressive on paper, it was truly a tale of two halves for the Packers. Green Bay went into halftime trailing 27-21 and having put up zero points in the first quarter, a common occurrence this season. 

The Bears had 247 yards in the first half and were able to convert 4-of-7 third down attempts. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields completed nine passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a rating of 101.6. Chicago also had an average drive start at the 36-yard line due to poor special teams play on Green Bay’s side, including a 97-yard punt return for a touchdown. 

Still, Green Bay was moving the ball well in the second quarter, and the offense scored two touchdowns. But the play of the half came from cornerback Rasul Douglas who returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown, his second pick-six in two games. 

“I definitely think this is one of my best seasons in the National Football League by far,” said Douglas, who now leads the defense with three interceptions this season. His two pass breakups against Chicago also bring his total to 10 on the year, second on the team behind only rookie Eric Stokes. 

“There was no panic at halftime. We kind of got back to who we were in the second half,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur of the team’s operations. 

Preston Smith, one of the vocal leaders of the team, got the defense fired up in the locker room during the half, telling the team they weren’t playing like themselves. 

“What we put on tape in the first half was not a reflection of who we are as a team. And definitely wasn’t who we were as a defense, especially,” said Smith of what he told his teammates, adding that there may have been a few explicit words in there as well. “We came out in the second half and showed who we were as a team and as a defense.”

Things really did turn around for the Packers in the second half, with Green Bay holding Chicago to only a field goal in the game’s final 30 minutes. What’s more, the Packers didn’t allow the Bears to get a first down until a little over four minutes were left on the clock. 

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had his third four-touchdown game of the season, with the other two coincidentally occurring against the division rival Lions and Vikings. He ended the night with 29 completions for 341 yards and four scores, giving him a rating of 141.1. 

His four touchdowns also brought his career total to 61 against the Bears, which eclipses Brett Favre’s previous total and sets a new NFL record. The 61st touchdown fittingly went to Davante Adams, with Adams telling the media he kept the ball knowing Rodgers wanted to save it. 

“That does mean a lot to me. It really does,” Rodgers said of his record. “The majority of stats don’t mean much but this rivalry means a lot to me. Because I’ve lived, I’m almost an adult in Green Bay. I’ve lived here for 17 years and started for 14. I know how much this rivalry means to our fans. And to be a part of it has been really special.” 

For Adams, this was his third straight game with over 100 receiving yards, and his two touchdowns bring his season total to seven.  

Without Randall Cobb in the lineup, Allen Lazard took a number of his reps in the slot and had his best game of the season, catching a season-high six passes for 75 yards and one score. 

“I think our entire team played great,” said Lazard. “We put up 45 points and scored zero points in the first quarter. I told a lot of the guys, that’s the standard. We’ve gotta keep that momentum going and keep building off of it.”

As the Packers hope to potentially get key pieces back soon like left tackle David Bakhtiari, the team suffered another loss in right tackle Billy Turner. He exited the game with a knee injury and didn’t return, meaning right guard Royce Newman is the only starter at his position remaining from Week 1. 

“Yeah we’ve gotten decimated, no doubt about it, but nobody’s feeling sorry for us. I can promise you that,” said LaFleur. “It’s been challenging. But you’ve gotta give a lot of credit to the guys and their ability to step up.”

Dennis Kelly filled in at right tackle the remainder of the game and didn’t allow a single pressure, which LaFleur says is a testament to all of the guys in the locker room and how they prepare like starters each week. 

The Packers know there’s plenty to clean up in all three phases, but as LaFleur put it, “anytime you win the turnover battle 3-0, that’s a pretty big deal.”

Smith remains explosive on defense, tallying two sacks against Chicago (and a forced fumble which led to points) bringing his season total to seven, which leads the team. He also has five sacks now in his last four games. Additionally, after not practicing all week on the COVID-19/Reserve List, De’Vondre Campbell finished the game with 16 tackles against the Bears, bringing his season total to 115 combined tackles. 

“There’s never a time where I feel I can’t make a play with these guys on my team,” said Smith. 

Green Bay will need to get special teams corrected, and quickly, with the players and coach understanding that’s how you lose close games in the playoffs. 

“When you’re playing great teams, and the kind of football we’re going to be playing here over the next month, we need to be a lot more sound in that phase of the game,” said Rodgers. 

LaFleur referred to it as “all hands on deck” indicating that more starters will likely be called upon to take valuable special teams reps in the coming weeks. 

Despite the miscues and mistakes, the Packers are sitting pretty at 10-3, one win away from clinching the NFC North, and coming off a victory under the lights at Lambeau Field. For the players, wins against Chicago never get old. 

“Oh no, never. Never,” said Kenny Clark smiling, who had three quarterback hits against the Bears. “Never. We love it. We love it. That’s the best win. That’s one of the best wins of the year right there. Love it.”

Up next for the Packers is a trip to Baltimore to take on the 8-5 Ravens. Kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. CT on FOX. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

8 points

Comments (9)

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Brockrice99's picture

December 14, 2021 at 12:07 pm

1. Special Teams Unit is a train wreck waiting to happen anytime they take the field. 2. The Billy Turner injury is horrific, because come playoff time a team like the Buccs are going to come in hot with the blitzes and I am afraid a make shift offensive line can only hold up for so long. We need to get healthy (prayers for Billy and Bahk) and we need to at least be average on Special Teams if we want a shot at another Lombardi.

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Ya_tittle's picture

December 14, 2021 at 12:39 pm

My bold prediction. Bucs will get knocked off before the NFCCG

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Brockrice99's picture

December 14, 2021 at 01:48 pm

I would absolutely love that! Tom in the playoffs is a different breed and I do not want to see that again.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 14, 2021 at 02:12 pm

Are they going to lose at home against the #7 seed? Or do you think they’ll lose at home to the #3 seed?

If you want to be the champion, you should want to beat the champion.

The #1 seed is ours. All we have to do is win out. Then we’ll get a bye, a tuneup at home, and then the Championship game at home.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 14, 2021 at 04:20 pm

I for one, want the Bucs again. The GBP outplayed them last year and lost on a defensive brain fart, AJones injury and fumbles, clueless coaching that didn't help our tackles who were getting beat regularly and a pass-happy approach after the 2nd half turnovers the pack received.

That will not happen again. Bring on the Bucs or anyone else!

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PeteK's picture

December 14, 2021 at 06:14 pm

Bring on the best team so that there is no whining about luck from haters.

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Jaqu’eau's picture

December 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm

Maggie, your writing is excellent, and so enjoyable to read. Thanks!

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canadapacker's picture

December 14, 2021 at 03:42 pm

Loved the final result of the game. After screaming at special teams most of the night. What the H does all hands on deck mean. I mean - you kickoff the ball so that it stays in bounds - Right? You catch the punt so that it doesnt hit the ground - Right? You let the kickoff bounce out of bounds on the 9 yard line instead of fielding it Right? You stay in your lanes and make the tackle on both punt returns and Kick off returns. Maybe some of our better special teamers were hurt but really. Have to look at the on side kick botch up - But MVS had a bad bounce - but didnt guys miss blocks on the Bears guy - and havent we seen that before - guys trying to catch the ball instead of blocking. The Kick probably heads out of bounds if the guys block the Bears player even after MVS touches it. It seems as if these special teamers are not only not being smart - ie not Crosby's first kick out of bounds - nor taught the correct positioning and strategy. Now remember that Cobb muffed a punt. Finally - Can Cory kickoff - maybe Crosby cannot reach the endzone on certain temps or wind conditions and maybe the punter has a better leg - we have seen that scenario in the NFL before - where the punter does the kickoffs

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Lphill's picture

December 14, 2021 at 03:43 pm

Give Drayton his walking papers make Chris Gizzi the special teams coach he will get them fired up .

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