Five Reasons Why the Packers Beat the Bears in Week 1

The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in Week 1. But why? These are the five main reasons. 

The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears by a 31-23 scoreline to open the 2015 NFL season. 

Here are the five primary reasons why the Packers were able to leave Soldier Field with a 1-0 record:

 

1. Return of James Jones

Jones made contested catches on his first-quarter touchdown and on a free play that went for 34 yards. He also hauled in a difficult throw on third down to move the chains, and Aaron Rodgers audibled to him at the goal line for a second score. Who knows if Jeff Janis (one snap) or Ty Montgomery (one snap) could have made the same difficult catches, or if Rodgers even would have attempted to make those same throws. With veteran know-how and an undeniable trust level with his quarterback, Jones brought a stabilizing presence to the Packers receiver group. Sunday could have ended very differently without No. 89 back in the fold. 

 

2. Front Five Command

Rodgers was rarely disrupted in the pocket Sunday, facing pressure on just eight of 28 dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus. Even when the Bears did get some push up front, Rodgers was able to sift through the clutter and make plays—scrambling five times for 35 yards and completing four of five passes for 76 yards and a score under pressure. Give credit to the offensive line, which took over right where it left off to end last season. The line did commit three penalties, including a hold on David Bakhtiari that negated a score. But the Green Bay front five mostly had their way with the Chicago front, especially in pass protection. Rodgers is impossible to handle when he’s protected. 

 

3. Red Zone Prowess

The Packers scored touchdowns on four of their five trips to the red zone. The only miss came after David Bakhtiari’s hold took away James Jones’ diving touchdown, but Green Bay still got three points out of the ordeal. Jones was a big part of the reason why the Packers were efficient in the red zone. He works well in cramped spaces, and trust between quarterback and receiver means everything down near the end zone. He also set up Eddie Lacy’s easy plunge for a score by drawing a pass interference penalty late in the contest. Of course, it sure helps to have a quarterback capable of making impossible throws (see: Randall Cobb’s touchdown). Meanwhile, the Bears scored just one touchdown on three red zone trips. In reality, Chicago should have finished 0-for-3, but Sam Shields’ bone-headed penalty on the field goal attempt gave the Bears a second life. The final miss came on fourth down, when a blitz forced Jay Cutler to throw erratically against Casey Hayward’s coverage. The Packers won decisively in the red zone. 

 

4. Cutler Goes Full Cutler

Coordinator Adam Gase had a good plan, especially in terms of featuring Matt Forte and the running game and preventing Jay Cutler from needing to make difficult throws. For three quarters, Cutler and the Bears executed the plan smoothly. But it only took one relapse for the recurring nightmare to come back for Cutler, who tossed an interception to Clay Matthews with the Bears down eight but driving. He broke two of Aaron Rodgers’ rules for not throwing picks: Cutler didn’t look inside (where Matthews was breaking on the throw), and he threw late down the middle. Like they have for years, the Packers turned the takeaway into seven points—essentially ending the contest. There seems to be a decent possibility that Cutler will only get one more shot to not throw a pick against the Packers as a member of the Bears. He’s now 12-for-12 in tossing at least one interception to the Packers since arriving in Chicago back in 2008. 

 

5. Typical Rodgers

Like most weeks, the most obvious reason for victory was also the most important. Nothing should be surprising with Rodgers, but he provided some ridiculous plays once again Sunday. His first-quarter flip to Eddie Lacy was downright Farvian. This packaged play makes you wonder how he releases the football so quickly. The touchdown to Randall Cobb had a foot-by-foot window to fit it in, and he placed it perfectly. On the negated score, he scrambled to his left, squared his shoulders and unleashed a 105 mph fastball to the only spot James Jones could catch it. He created a big play with his cadence and changed a play at the goal line for an easy touchdown. Rodgers beat the Bears every way possible Sunday. 

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Comments (58)

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Simply put: At the end of the day, they were the better team!

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ChicagoBearJew's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:23 pm

Well said. Rodgers put on a clinic yesterday. He didn't make a bad throw.

I think though that the piece was unfair to Cutler. He played well. He moved out of the pocket and made a couple of really good throws. The problem is that he had to be perfect yesterday. Just wasn't going to happen.

But from this side of the aisle, I'm happy with what I saw out of the Bears. I think having real professional coaches made a difference. They had a good game plan. However, the Bears failures to cover kickoffs continues to hurt this team. Giving Rodgers starts at the 40 yard line is a recipe for disaster.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:35 pm

You should be happy. The Bears finally have a competent coaching staff on both sides of the ball. IF the GM (I forget his name from the Saints) can get those guys players they're going to be pretty good in a couple years.

Kudos.

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ChicagoBearJew's picture

September 14, 2015 at 04:26 pm

Pace has a lot of work to do. The lack of talent is so evident. The Bears have failed miserably in the draft. Hopefully he is able to identify and the organization develops talent. I think there's good coaches now in place, so hopefully they have players to work with...that being said, missing this year's first round pick hurts.

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Evan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:45 pm

"He didn't make a bad throw."

He was pretty wide and high on a back shoulder to Adams in the first half.

As for Cutler, yea, that was probably the best he's ever played against the Packers. But you knew sooner or later he'd turn back into a pumpkin.

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ChicagoBearJew's picture

September 14, 2015 at 04:28 pm

Cutler played well in the Conte/Cobb game. He's a mid-level QB. But I'm encouraged by most of his play yesterday. As I said before, considering the talent gap between the two teams, he had to be perfect.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:02 pm

I agree that Cutler was okay. Consider that he lost White, Jeffries looked less than 100%, and the other two WRs, one got banged up, and both of them look like #3 or #4 WRs. A mid-level QB needs weapons. If Cutler throws 16 INTs, that would be a little high, but not at all terrible. GB is spoiled by Rodgers and his lack of interceptions.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 15, 2015 at 06:15 am

No, Aaron did bad throw (to Davante Adams in the red zone!), but his QB rating of 140,5 tells the story!

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Since'61's picture

September 15, 2015 at 10:21 am

The only QB stats that matter are # TDs passes thrown versus # of Interceptions thrown. Rodgers TD/Int ratio so far for 2015 is 3/0. That's all we need to know about how well a QB is playing. He's scoring points and he is not hurting his team. QB rating is an ambiguous and meaningless stat . The formula for QB rating has been changed several times over the years and it still is an unnecessary measure of a QB's performance. But it's great for Madden football and fantasy football etc... Funny no one measured QB rating before Johnny U. Thanks, Since '61

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 15, 2015 at 11:39 am

QB Rating has nothing to do w/ fantasy, only yds, TD's and INT's. So I guess that makes your stats more meaningful to fantasy. QB rating hasn't changed in years, many years. ESPN came up w/ its own QBR but it hasn't caught on.

The traditional QB rating also takes into account comp %, yards per att, TD and INT's and other numbers that have legit meaning in measuring a QB's performance.

Rodgers is among the best ever because he is elite in all the categories measured w/in the QB rating. He's extremely efficient as a result.

I think it would be in your best interest to really get to know what's included in the traditional QB rating and why they are important.

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Since'61's picture

September 16, 2015 at 09:53 am

Dan - appreciate the suggestion but TDs and Ints have the biggest impact on a QBs rating. If A QB has a favorable TD/Int ratio like Rodgers had in 2014, he is going to have a high QB rating. If I know the # of TD passes thrown and the number of interceptions I know if a QB is playing well or not. Yards or yards per attempt don't mean much since many times a QB might throw for a lot of yards when his team is behind or in garbage time. Wins & TDs v Ints are the most important stats for a QB. I don't need a QB rating for that. Thanks, Since '61

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EdsLaces's picture

September 14, 2015 at 04:03 pm

It's funny how the whole game you're like wow is this really Jay Cutler then BAM ....yeah this is definitely Cutler hahaha.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 14, 2015 at 05:40 pm

Like I told a friend who's a beats fan after the INT. I love Jay! My favorite non-Packer in the NFL.

Played well most of the game but sooner or later Jay will be Jay.

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Lphill's picture

September 14, 2015 at 04:37 pm

Let's hope it just a slow start for the defense , too many missed tackles, and I hope not taking a inside linebacker in the draft doesn't come back to haunt us .

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 14, 2015 at 05:41 pm

They did. Jake Ryan 4th rd. They didn't reach for one early, thankfully.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 15, 2015 at 06:17 am

That unit played for the very first time together on Sunday! So, give them some time...

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HankScorpio's picture

September 14, 2015 at 04:49 pm

Red zone was the tale of the game yesterday. Both offenses had little trouble between the 20s. The Packer defense held to a lot of 3s while the Packer offense managed to convert the 7s.

James Jones was a big part of that on the Packer side and should have been an even bigger part. I thought the hold that negated his TD was a bit ticky tack.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:05 pm

Bakh had both of his hands outside the defenders shoulder pads. Bakh was squared up to the defender and engaged, but no one should be surprised if refs call that.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:51 pm

True.

But I've seen more obvious holds not called. I guess it's all a matter of where the refs looking.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 14, 2015 at 08:56 pm

Hands outside shoulder pads = automatic holding. No questions asked. Hands inside on numbers ONLY.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 15, 2015 at 06:19 am

Well, I heard some experts says that the call was heavy mistake on referees... That is something it is not usual penalty in NFL!

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croatpackfan's picture

September 15, 2015 at 06:19 am

Well, I heard some experts says that the call was heavy mistake on referees... That is something it is not usual penalty in NFL!

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Spud Rapids's picture

September 14, 2015 at 04:56 pm

Not that I want to defend Cutler but how many linebackers in the league can cover the amount of ground that Matthews did to pick that pass off? That was where the blitz came from and the right decision. I do think if you watch the play again there is a split second of hesitation from Cutler that contributed but all in all that was all Matthews.

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marpag1's picture

September 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

Agree. An INT is never good, but it was a great play by CM3 and a good call by the defense. Cutler played pretty well. Better than he has, at least.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

A TE running up the seam is going to almost always have an ILB in coverage. Cutler has to know that and find that ILB. Granted Matthews was on the other side of the formation a little, but Cutler still has to account for the possibility the ILB might be involved in the coverage. It was a great play by Matthews, no doubt. A great call by Capers, no doubt. But it was still a mistake by Cutler not to recognize the coverage options and account for them. Far from his worse decision for sure, but still not a good one.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:21 pm

I like the Jake Ryan pick late in the draft but soon we need to find our Khalil Mack......

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Evan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 07:45 pm

Isn't Khalil Mack the Raiders' Clay Matthews?

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EdsLaces's picture

September 15, 2015 at 09:42 am

Nah I think Mack is a bit more physical.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 15, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Mack was drafted 5th overall. Packers don't ever get to draft those types of players.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 15, 2015 at 01:22 pm

Damn that double edged sword!!!

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lucky953's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:37 pm

I'd say another reason was excellent field position generally provided by the kickoff return team. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of the punt return team.

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John Galt III's picture

September 14, 2015 at 07:14 pm

The next (7) games will be the test:

KC
Seattle
49ers
Rams
Chargers
Broncos
Panthers

If we are or 7-1 or 6-2 after the 1st 8 games then we have a great team.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 15, 2015 at 09:29 am

Very true.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 14, 2015 at 08:23 pm

Is Weatherford still available? Ging' looks absolutely awful, if he keeps banging line drive 40 yarders... it's only a matter of time before it bites us.

Is anybody else concerned?

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Evan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 08:54 pm

I don't expect them to punt a whole lot.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 14, 2015 at 11:14 pm

While I appreciate your confidence, we will punt, probably a couple dozen times this season, minimum. I would just hate to lose a close one because of an inadequate, soulless ginger... ya feel me?

There was a time when he was very good, whatever funk he's in, I guess we just have to hope he snaps out of it. Preferably soon.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 15, 2015 at 09:44 am

Lmao Soulless ginger ....I feel ya Cartman.

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Bohj's picture

September 14, 2015 at 08:55 pm

They're taking the Crosby approach. If he starts tilting the field against us consistently, I imagine they would have to replace him. They believe he will bounce back. We've seen him be pretty stellar, so the tools are there. His first year he was so money. Had like more punts fielded within the ten than any other punter. I wonder if that was more Bush being a ST ace though. Moot point now.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 14, 2015 at 11:17 pm

I guess we will find out. I always thought he was pretty solid, but he's got me worried... and you can't let a ginger punter derail championship aspirations.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 15, 2015 at 07:08 am

I agree with FITZ. The problem with the Crosby approach is Crosby actually did a GOOD JOB the next season. If Masthay continues to punt like he did against the Bears, then he hasn't worked out his issues from the year before then the "Crosby Approach" didn't work and he should be replaced. I'd hate for another Seattle Incident to happen before they did something.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 14, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Have I mentioned he's a ginger?

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Bohj's picture

September 14, 2015 at 10:07 pm

After watching the first half of this viking game with the penalties, terrible tackling and worst special teams I've ever seen, it feels like that Packer game was way better than anything that was on this weekend.

According to Boomer, every defense had terrible tackling this first week. Let's get some perspective pack fans. The lack of camp and preseason reps is killing the art of tackling. We are not alone.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 15, 2015 at 06:28 am

I watched 13 of 16 games from week one. And you are absolutely right... Just go and see results... STL offense putted 34 points on Seahawks? That tells yopu all!

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Bohj's picture

September 15, 2015 at 08:00 am

That's incredible!
Either you work at ESPN or you spent your kid's college money on the NFL package and now you have to justify it by watching every game. Or your girlfriend is Erin Andrews. Or you are part of the matrix. Or you are a fan dual champion from last year and trying to defend your crown. Or you live in the Keewenaw Penninsula of Michigan and it snowed 6 feet and you're trapped.

Regardless, I am somewhat impressed, somewhat disturbed, and yet totally jealous.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 14, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Off topic, but I was WAYYYY off about the Vikings this year.

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zeke's picture

September 14, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Further off topic, is it me or are the 49er uniforms hideous?

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 15, 2015 at 12:03 am

Totally

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Since'61's picture

September 15, 2015 at 08:10 am

They are totally hideous. The original uniform is a classic, but like everything else they figured out they can make more money selling their alternate jerseys in addition to their traditional jersey. Pretty soon the players uniforms will be covered in ads like a Nascar racing car. Thanks, Since '61

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marpag1's picture

September 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

49er unis were awful, but the matching cheerleader outfits were spot on.

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Otto's picture

September 15, 2015 at 12:25 am

Me, too. It looks like Trestman is coaching them.

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4thand1's picture

September 15, 2015 at 07:36 am

The queens got raped on a no PI call early. Glad they lost,1st place baby!
GOPACKGO!

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Otto's picture

September 15, 2015 at 12:25 am

Don't forget the fans. They couldn't have done without the fans.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

September 15, 2015 at 10:54 am

"There seems to be a decent possibility that Cutler will only get one more shot to not throw a pick against the Packers as a member of the Bears."

Nooooooooooooooooo! Say it ain't so!

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4thand1's picture

September 15, 2015 at 02:34 pm

I think the Packers should retire his number and put in the ring of honor. If the Bears keep him for 5 more years , it's 10 more wins. Maybe even a statue between Vince and Curly!

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Archie's picture

September 15, 2015 at 01:32 pm

Difference between Bears and Packers was pretty small. It took a great performance by AROD and a great play from CMIII to eke out a win.

SEA +3 is a gift this week.

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4thand1's picture

September 15, 2015 at 09:39 pm

I guess the odds makers know more than you. Pack beat the spread sunday and are favored by 3.5 against the seaschickens. Want some cheese with yer whine?

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egbertsouse's picture

September 15, 2015 at 02:18 pm

Here are my 5 reasons:

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. CMIII
3. James Jones
4. Jay Cutler
5. Aaron Rodgers (Yes, he gets 2 spots.)

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Tabitha's picture

February 03, 2017 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for the great post. I’m a big fan of your writing style. I will comeback and read all the other articles you posted

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