Game Recap: Packers Beat Bears 35-16, Clinch No. 1 Seed in NFC

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week seventeen win against the Bears.         

The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will run through one of the toughest places to play in the NFL: The Frozen Tundra. The Green Bay Packers (13-3, 5-1 NFC North) clinched the number one seed in the NFC and a first-round bye with a 35-16 win over the Chicago Bears (8-8, 2-4 NFC North) Sunday.

In the 202nd matchup between these two teams, Chicago took the field first and things got weird right from the start. Packers kicker Mason Crosby fired the ball out of bounds on the kickoff and the Bears got great field position as a result of it. Green Bay challenged the out of bounds call but ultimately lost the challenge and a timeout with it.

Then, the Bears took their sweet time navigating the little field they had to work with. On a drive that lasted over seven minutes and consisted of fourteen plays, including a successful fourth down attempt, running back David Montgomery rushed for a 2-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Bears lead.

Despite relaxing on the sideline for nearly half of the first quarter, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his offense came out firing with a lengthy seven and half minute drive of their own. After first downs from wide receiver Marques Valdez-Scantling, a pair of first downs from running back Aaron Jones and a defensive pass interference call as a result of wide receiver Davante Adams getting held on 4th and 3, Rodgers connected with tight end Robert Tonyan for a 3 yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

After a shaky opening drive, Green Bay’s defense seemed to settle down on Chicago’s next possession. Linebacker Christian Kirksey applied great pressure and forced what would ultimately be the lone sack of the day for Green Bay. On the next play, cornerback Kevin King broke up a pass play and forced Chicago to punt.

The Packers effort was sadly short lived; returner Tavon Austin fumbled the punt return and the Bears recovered it. Luckily, the d-train was able to hold Chicago to just three after their 30-yard field goal attempt was good to cut Green Bay’s lead to 10-7.

When the offense finally got back on the field, they didn’t disappoint either. When it looked like they were starting to get out of rhythm, Rodgers connected with MVS on 3rd and 4 for a 72-yard touchdown and a 14-10 lead. According to the FOX Broadcast, with that touchdown pass, Rodgers set his own single season record for touchdown passes in a season with 46 (he would finish the game with 48).

After holding the Bears to just a field goal on their last possession, the Packers defense continued to make big plays when they needed to. Star cornerback Jaire Alexander forced a fumble and linebacker Rashan Gary was there to recover it. The officials reviewed the play and after further evaluation confirmed it was a fumble and the Packers recovered it.    

As a result, Green Bay took advantage. On 2nd and goal, Rodgers connected with wide receiver  Dominique Dafney (that’s right!) for 13 yards and the score to put the Packers up 21-10.  

To close an exciting first half, the Bears had one more chance to get six in the first half but were ultimately forced to settle for another field goal after King dropped an interception in the endzone. Chicago’s 27-yard field goal attempt was good, and the Packers had a 21-13 lead heading into the half.

At the start of the second half, Rodgers sailed what would have been a touchdown pass to MVS, but unfortunately, he bobbled the ball and dropped it. On the next play, Rodgers was sacked for the first time and the Packers were forced to punt.  

The dropped pass and sack seemed to shift the game’s momentum for a bit too. On the Bear’s next drive, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky connected with wide receiver Darnell Mooney off a 29-yard pass to get in scoring position. Luckily, Green Bay’s defense came up clutch again and stopped Chicago on third and goal and forced them to settle for another field goal to make it 21-16.  

However, things continued to look shaky for a bit on offense. Rodgers was almost picked on back-to-back plays and before you could blink the Packers were punting and the Bears had another chance to make this one interesting. After a lengthy drive that consisted of three fourth and one attempts for Chicago, Green Bay made the stop when they needed to on fourth down in the red zone after cornerback Chandon Sullivan broke up the play.

From there, the 2020 NFL MVP and his offense took control. Rodgers connected with Adams for back-to back first downs, which resulted in Adams break Sterling Sharpes’ franchise record for receptions in a season, then the Packers got first downs from wide receiver Allen Lazard, Jones and Lazard again before Jonsey himself rushed it in for a 4-yard touchdown and a 28-16 Packers lead.

And, after a spectacular season for Green Bay, former Chicago Bear Adrian Amos picked off Trubisky on the Bears’ next possession, pretty much sealing the deal for the Packers to win this one and secure the number one seed in the NFC.

To put the cherry on top, the Packers kept their foot on the gas and responded with a 6-yard touchdown pass to who else but Davante Adams to give us our final score of 35-16.

Chicago did have one more chance to get on the board Sunday evening, but they couldn’t get the garbage time touchdown they hoped for and Green Bay walked away with the massive win.

 

What we learned: The road to the Super Bowl will go through Lambeau

They did it. With their win over the Chicago Bears Sunday, the Green Bay Packers clinched the number one seed in the NFC, secured the first-round bye and will have home field advantage throughout their entire path to the Super Bowl.

Now, any team in the NFC that wants a shot at the NFL’s highest prize will have to survive a January showdown with the Packers at Lambeau Field, a place where Aaron Rodgers and this team have been historically great. Bring it.

 

What went right: O-Line

After losing left tackle David Bakhtiari to a season ending knee injury in practice last week, the Packers offensive line had a lot of pressure on them heading into this one. However, just as they have all season, they remained cool, calm and collected and put on a superb performance when it was needed the most. Rodgers was sacked just one time on Sunday and had great protection throughout much of the day. This offensive line has played well all year and they continued, even without the heart of their unit, to shine on Sunday.

 

What went wrong: Special Teams

Another week, another questionable performance for Green Bay’s special teams unit. To start things off, Crosby launched the kickoff out of bounds (which I know was questionable) and then the Austin fumble on the punt return could have been disastrous. Luckily things worked out just fine for the Packers but as I’ve said multiple times this season though, the Packers cannot afford to make these mistakes on special teams deep into the playoffs.   

 

Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Davante Adams summed it up best at his post-game media availability:

“MVP should be locked up."

Aaron Rodgers had another monster performance in the final week of regular season play, only continuing his MVP-caliber play. According to ESPN stats, Rodgers was 19/24 on the day and threw for 240 yards, 4 touchdowns and finished with a QB 147.9 passing rating.

 

Defensive MVPs: Krys Barnes and Adrian Amos

I continue to love what I see from linebacker Krys Barnes and he certainly had an impact performance on Sunday. Despite going down twice with injuries, Barnes continues to fight and finished the afternoon at the top of the defensive score sheet for Green Bay. According to ESPN stats, Barnes led the team in tackles with 14, 8 of which were solo, and 1 tackle for a loss.

Safety Adrian Amos continued to ball out in week seventeen as well. According to ESPN stats, Amos finished with 9 tackles, 7 of which were solo, 1 pass deflection and, of course, the late-game interception.

 

A look at some of your takeaways!

  • “#1 seed, MVP, OPOY, DPOY...give us all the awards!!!  All roads go through Lambeau!!!” - @eric_olson7
  • “We are very easily the best team in the NFC. D Train made splash plays when needed. Feeling great after another blowout win.” - @caseygopackgo
  • “Just Football watching and no stress next week I love it.” - @321Lead

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers enjoy a week off, while they wait and see who gives them a visit at Lambeau Field. Go Pack Go!

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

11 points

Comments (18)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Thegravedigger's picture

January 03, 2021 at 07:56 pm

Red zone defense. Took 17 weeks. But the red zone defense was the difference. Hopefully mvs keeps his head up, cus we will need him in the playoffs. Chandon sullivan had his best game at the right time. It was pretty obvious that chicagos plan was to run it and throw at king and make him tackle. He missed some tackles, but made some plays. His play will be crucial, especially against our most likely opponent in 2 weeks; the bucs. Hes gonna have to tackle ab and them guys on short passes. His tackling baffles me. Hes a hard hitter and a physical guy, but he continues to either go high and wrap up but not make the tackle or go low and not wrap up and miss the tackle. He bent today, but he didnt break. He is gonna be the guy on d that other teams go after. Hopefully we get the best kevin king in 2 weeks.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 03, 2021 at 08:06 pm

Between the opening kickoff, the fumble on the punt return, and MVS missing his shot at a second long range touchdown, this game had all of the earmarks of a loss. This Packers team wins by 19 anyway.

Either the Packers OL coach is the assistant coach of the year, or the balance of this offense just makes life a whole lot easier on this offensive line. Pick one. Or pick both.

Assuming Barnes is healthy in two weeks, everything is coming together at the right time for this defense.

Kevin freaking King. Why the hell can't you tackle a man that is so much smaller than you by using your shoulder pads? Are you hurt? Or are you just a chicken? I mean, if you're doing the torpedo tackle on Derrick Henry, then I get it. But what the actual F was that against #11?

Special teams worries me. The inability of this coaching staff to win the 3rd quarter worries me even more. This team has enough talent that it is going to be in the Super Bowl regardless.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 03, 2021 at 08:32 pm

In all fairness to King, I thought that he was pretty active on the field and played above an average level. Obviously he is not as good as Alexander so he will continue to be tested.

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 03, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Yeah. They went after him every single roll out. He was probably the leading tackler.

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Oppy's picture

January 03, 2021 at 10:45 pm

King will always be targeted heavily, because Jaire dominates half the field.

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 03, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Yeah. They went after him every single roll out. He was probably the leading tackler.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 03, 2021 at 11:58 pm

No doubt. Agreed. But God gave him two arms so that he could wrap up,

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FITZCORE1252's picture

January 04, 2021 at 12:59 am

Yes! It's embarrassing.

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Cwoodson21's picture

January 03, 2021 at 08:53 pm

Kevin King is making a business decision on his tackling attempts. Wrapping up up could damage his fragile shoulders.

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Lphill's picture

January 03, 2021 at 09:13 pm

I think I saw AJ Dillon's picture on the back of a milk container.

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 03, 2021 at 10:22 pm

Maybe lafleur was worried about another fumble. And the 5 wide was working against a team with no 2 or 3 starting corners. And also deon bush the safety was out. They werent gonna pound it on hicks and them with dillon. Thats not how you beat this team. 5 wide was the plan. Aaron jones is the best man for that role. Hopefully we will have a nice snow globe aj dillon game on our way to tampa.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

January 03, 2021 at 10:52 pm

I also would have like to see Dillon but with Williams returning La Fleur was going with the seniority list. That's Ok - better to have an abundance of riches than not. I think we may have to wait until the next season for the full Dillon (unless an injury).

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 04, 2021 at 01:02 am

35 points. Why would you care whether Dillon played or not?

And the "milk container" thing was tired 20 years ago. Besides, the expression is "milk carton". At least get your lame sayings correct.

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Rossonero's picture

January 03, 2021 at 09:52 pm

Terrific team win despite the Bears making a legit run at us. The defense kept us in this game 100%. I warned friends of mine before the game that Akiem Hicks would plug the middle, and he did. We didn't even sniff 100 yards rushing, even though Aaron Jones made plays with the touches he had.

MVS.....was MVS. Makes a great catch, then has a howler of a drop. That's just who he is until he proves us wrong. Heck, Davante Adams used to have us pulling our hair out in 2015 with all of his drops, but he was able to put it behind him. MVS has got to fix that or he'll be playing elsewhere in 2021.

Rodgers had a few sloppy throws, but otherwise had a superb night. Give him the MVP already. He makes it look too easy.

Adrian Amos -- wow, so glad he's wearing green and gold. That dude just hits people. Kevin King could learn a thing or two from him.

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Oppy's picture

January 03, 2021 at 10:49 pm

The thing with Adams and drops his sophomore year- he was playing injured and in considerable pain throughout that season. Of course, nobody wanted to hear that at the time, Packers fans love nothing more than to make up disparaging nick names for new players and demand they be cut because they suck.

What can you do?

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Fabio's picture

January 04, 2021 at 05:22 am

I think in two weeks the only goal is to collapse the Tampa Bay pocket otherwise it will be tough. I hate seeing Brady play like he's on the couch
Go Pack Go

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 04, 2021 at 06:53 am

Not a lock. Bears v. New Orleans. If they get after Breese and start hitting him hard anything could happen. Barring a setback Kamara should be able to play on Sunday, but if symptoms persist he may miss the game. Even if symptoms do not persist he may not be himself. His balance may be off. His weight and energy level may be down. We have a friend whose husband is still having difficulty keeping food down a month after other symptoms have gone. Mask up Green Bay! Whether or not the Packers win another Super Bowl may well depend on your ability to control community spread!

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jlc1's picture

January 04, 2021 at 09:53 am

I think Crosby was aiming towards that area of the field in an effort to minimize Patterson's run back. In that sense it was a designed play and as such acknowledges that the Pack coaching staff does not think much of the ST tackling ability. And they would be correct in that assessment although I don't think the Bear Dafney hit on the return after his touchdown is likely to forget it anytime soon.

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