3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 14 Win
Coming out of their bye week, the Green Bay Packers went right back to work and stayed on a roll. They're one of the top teams in the NFL this season, and they continued to prove that with their performance on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
The Packers improved to 10-3 by notching a 45-30 win over the Chicago Bears, sweeping the season series against their NFC North rival. Green Bay has a four-game lead over the rest of the division, and it's now 6-0 at home this year.
At halftime, Green Bay trailed 27-21 after a wild, back-and-forth second quarter that featured 45 total points. But it came out in the second half and scored 24 consecutive points to pick up the victory.
Here are three takeaways from the Packers' Week 14 win.
Rodgers Still Owns the Bears
During the Packers' Week 6 win over the Bears in Chicago, Aaron Rodgers gained a lot of attention when he yelled, "I still own you," after running in a touchdown. It was true that the Green Bay quarterback owned the Bears then, and it's still true after Sunday night.
The 38-year-old threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns, as he completed 29 of his 37 passing attempts in another dominant performance against Chicago. The Packers are now 23-5 vs. the Bears in games that he has started, and his 61 career touchdown passes against them are the most all time.
"The majority of stats don't mean much, but this rivalry does mean a lot to me because I'm almost an adult in Green Bay—I've lived here for 17 years and started for 14," Rodgers told reporters. "I know how much this rivalry means to our fans, and to be a part of it has been really special."
The veteran's showing is even more impressive considering he is playing on a fractured left pinkie toe. It hasn't slowed his production, though, as he's passed for 1,033 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions over his past three games.
Although Rodgers won't get to play the Bears again this season, he is proving he has plenty left in the tank with some more big games on the way.
The Defense Makes Big Plays, Steps Up Again in 2nd Half
The Packers' defense had an up-and-down second quarter against the Bears. While Rasul Douglas had a 55-yard interception return for a score, Green Bay also allowed Justin Fields to throw a pair of long touchdown passes, as he connected with Jakeem Grant Sr. for a 46-yard score and Damiere Byrd for a 54-yard TD.
The Bears scored 24 points in the second quarter and had a six-point lead at halftime. At that point, the Packers' defense received a much-needed message from linebacker Preston Smith.
"P just came in yelling at us," Douglas told reporters. "He was just like, 'That's [bull].' We don't play like that.'"
In the second half, the Packers' defense didn't play like that. They held the Bears to three points over the final two quarters, as Chicago's six second-half possessions resulted in three punts, a lost fumble, an interception and a field goal.
If Green Bay's defense hadn't stepped up, the game may have been an offensive shootout to the end. Instead, it clamped down, got stops, made big plays and helped secure the victory.
Special Teams Must Perform Better Down Stretch
One of the reasons why the Packers trailed for much of the first half and allowed things to stay somewhat close during the third quarter was their special teams play. And it happened in a multitude of ways.
The Bears extended their lead to 24-14 late in the second quarter when Grant returned a punt 97 yards for a touchdown. There were also three first-half kickoffs that resulted in Chicago starting at its own 40-yard line or better. Green Bay made some miscues, as one of those kickoffs went out of bounds; and Amari Rodgers nearly muffed a punt return in the fourth quarter, but the Bears committed a penalty on the play.
"Certainly, the special teams was not good enough," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said. "It's not up to our standard."
LaFleur is not considering making any coaching changes, so it appears Maurice Drayton will still be the special teams coordinator when Green Bay returns to action next week. However, the Packers will need to clean up this area of their game, otherwise it could prove costly in games later on.