Tom Oates: Grading Packers’ performance in 24-17 loss to Bears at Soldier Field
Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers’ performance in their 24-17 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The Packers’ first two drives ended, as usual, with third-down sacks. The Bears totaled five sacks. Aaron Rodgers threw only his second interception of the season and overthrew open receivers on consecutive deep balls when the game was tied in the fourth quarter. Losing Aaron Jones didn’t help. Davante Adams has become a star.
The tackling in the first half was atrocious. Tarik Cohen made Kentrell Brice look bad on a touchdown catch before halftime and the Packers blew a coverage on Trey Burton’s touchdown catch in the second half. Despite not having any starters available on the line, the defense limited the Bears to 97 yards and 3.3 yards per carry.
Special teams: C
The Packers weren’t fooled and Fadol Brown and J’Mon Moore made the tackle for a loss on a fake punt. Cohen’s 44-yard return of a short JK Scott punt basically sealed the deal for Chicago. A holding penalty on long-snapper Hunter Bradley gave the Bears the ball on the Packers’ 45, setting up the Bears’ winning touchdown drive.
The Packers did the only thing they could with their makeshift offensive line facing the NFL’s best defensive front, mixing a variety of short passes with a few runs. They also had Marcedes Lewis chip Khalil Mack on occasion. It worked to a point, but they needed to convert on the few big-play opportunities they had and couldn’t.
Was this a changing of the guard in the NFC North? The Bears clinched their first division title since 2010 and the Packers assured themselves back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1990 and ’91. The game was tied 14-14, but the Packers, following their season-long trend, weren’t good enough to win on the road.