Packers: Aaron Rodgers throws four TD passes as Green Bay routs Chicago Bears
GREEN BAY — The Chicago Bears proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the injury-ravaged Green Bay Packers.
Now coach Mike McCarthy just has to hope he has enough healthy players to field a competitive team when they return to action on Oct. 8 at Dallas.
Despite playing with a ramshackle offensive line and losing their two top running backs and one of their top receivers to injuries during the game, the Packers blew out the Bears 35-14 on Thursday night at Lambeau Field — and did so with the help of four Chicago turnovers, three of which led to touchdowns.
“We knew were going to get into a grind of a game. The turnovers were huge for us,” McCarthy said.
With starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga out and their top three backup options at tackle — Kyle Murphy, Jason Spriggs and Don Barclay — all on injured reserve, the Packers cobbled together an offensive line with left guard Lane Taylor at left tackle, Lucas Patrick taking Taylor’s spot at left guard and Justin McCray starting his second NFL game at right tackle.
The Packers (3-1) then lost starting running back Ty Montgomery to broken ribs on the opening series, lost No. 2 running back Jamaal Williams to a knee injury during the second quarter and saw wide receiver Davante Adams leave the stadium in an ambulance after a wicked helmet-to-helmet hit by Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan during the third quarter. Inside linebacker Joe Thomas also was lost to an ankle injury.
The Packers were already playing without defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hip) for the second straight week and without veteran cornerback Davon House (quadriceps). Outside linebacker Nick Perry played with a large protective cast on his right hand.
“This was a big character win for us,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “It’s been a next-man-up, no-excuses policy.”
The Bears won the coin toss and deferred. Rodgers & Co. drove 75 yards in 10 plays en route to a 5-yard Rodgers-to-Adams score and a 7-0 lead.
Montgomery did much of the heavy lifting initially (five carries, 28 yards) and Rodgers got the ball out quickly with short drops and decisive throws, including a 12-yarder across the middle to Randall Cobb and a 26-yard reception by tight end Martellus Bennett.
Then, on Chicago’s first offensive snap, outside linebacker Clay Matthews hit quarterback Mike Glennon high, jarring the ball loose. Linebacker Jake Ryan recovered at the Chicago 3, and three plays later, Rodgers zipped a 2-yard touchdown pass to Cobb for a 14-0 lead.
Chicago’s ensuing possession also ended in a turnover when center Cody Whitehair rocketed a shotgun snap off Glennon’s knee when the quarterback appeared to be stepping forward to make a protection call. The ball caromed to linebacker Blake Martinez, but the Packers went three-and-out on their next series.
“Obviously a very poor performance. I think it starts at the top. We got outcoached, we got outplayed in every area,” Bears coach John Fox said.
“The number one thing I obviously have to fix is the turnovers,” Glennon said.
The Packers extended their lead to 21-0 after safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix registered their first interception of the season when Glennon overthrew an open Markus Wheaton inside Green Bay territory. On the next play, Rodgers stepped up away from pressure and launched a 58-yard completion to Jordy Nelson, who took the ball down to Chicago’s 2-yard line. The ball carried 44 yards in the air, Rodgers’ longest throw of the season according to ESPN Stats & Information.
On the next play, third-string running back Aaron Jones scored from 2 yards out.
The Bears finally got on the board with 8 seconds left until halftime, when Glennon found an open Kendall Wright against Packers cornerback Damarious Randall for an 11-yard touchdown. Randall was benched after that and was replaced by Josh Hawkins to start the second half. At some point, Randall left the Green Bay sideline, and a team spokesperson said he was not injured.
The Packers extended their lead to 28-7 when Rodgers hit Nelson for a 4-yard touchdown after Trevathan’s illegal hit on Adams. Rodgers then threw his fourth touchdown pass of the night on the next drive — after Glennon was intercepted by safety Kentrell Brice – to make it 35-7.