The Green Bay Packers have had a largely successful 2018 season. But, they still managed to lose their first game of the year against Minnesota Vikings in Week 17. The loss was especially tough because it came on home soil and with only one week left in the regular season
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Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have everything they need to win a Super Bowl. They’ve got an MVP in Aaron Rodgers, an elite defense, and a top-notch offense. But despite all of this, they’re still not winning anything. This is because their special teams are just terrible. They can’t stop anyone on returns, and they don’t even have one reliable kicker.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers can begin preparing for the playoffs and another run at the Super Bowl now that they are 10-3 and one game away from capturing the NFC North. This is the last game of the regular season.
The NFC North is almost decided. The NFC’s No. 1 overall seed is still up for grabs, so there’s still work to be done. Despite this, the Packers showed on Sunday Night Football that they have what it takes to win a Super Bowl with a 45-30 victory against the Chicago Bears.
Apart from a strong special teams unit, that is. This is going to be a problem.
The Green Bay Packers dominated the Chicago Bears in the second half.
During the third quarter of an NFL game at Lambeau Field, Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with Davante Adams #17 after scoring a three-yard running touchdown against the Chicago Bears | Stacy Revere/Getty Images
The Bears deserve credit for giving the Packers their best effort. Chicago really held a 24-14 advantage in the last minutes of the first half. Jakeem Grant took a punt from Green Bay and returned it 97 yards to the house. The Bears now had a 10-point lead, and it seemed as if they had stolen all of the energy and enthusiasm from the Packers.
However, they didn’t have it for long.
With 44 seconds left in the half, Rodgers grabbed the ball back and led an incredible 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a stunning touchdown throw to Davante Adams. Despite the Bears’ fast field-goal drive before halftime, the Packers had effectively stolen Chicago’s best shot, and they retaliated with a haymaker of their own.
They weren’t going to allow the inferior team leave Lambeau with a victory.
Green Bay took the ball back after orange slices and Gatorade and drove 75 yards to the end zone to open the second half. Aaron Jones sprinted through a hole on the left side of the line for a three-yard score.
The Packers grabbed the lead at 28-27, and Chicago couldn’t go any closer for the remainder of the game. The Bears scored three points in the second half, the last of which came with 1:22 remaining.
After halftime, Green Bay had scored 24 points.
Aaron Rodgers has a high-powered offense and a top-notch defense.
Green Bay Packers #12 Aaron Rodgers runs onto the field at Lambeau Field before the NFL game against the Chicago Bears | Quinn Harris/Getty Images
On Sunday night, the Packers demonstrated that they have great potential on both sides of the ball.
The offense racked up a whopping 439 total yards. The defense keeps taking the ball away at an astonishing rate.
Rodgers was MVP-like yet again, completing 29 of 37 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns while throwing no interceptions. Davante Adams was a big part of it. Adams is often considered as the finest overall wideout in football, and he backed up that claim against the Bears. He had a total of 121 yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions. Despite the Bears’ best attempts to contain him early on, he utterly destroyed Chicago with his outstanding route-running skills and quickness.
Right now, no one compares to Adams. He’s in a class by himself. On Mars, he’s performing.
In the backfield, A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones continued to be a strong one-two punch for the Packers. Dillon led the way with 15 carries for 71 yards and a 4.7-yard-per-carry average. Jones was as dynamic as ever, scoring a touchdown both on the ground and in the air. He only had five carries for 35 yards, but he averaged seven yards per carry. As a receiver, he also caught three receptions for 30 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.
Green Bay’s defense entered the game as a top-five team, and after a strong showing against the Bears, they might rise even higher in the rankings. Sure, Justin Fields is a rookie (at least on the surface), and Matt Nagy will almost certainly be fired at the end of the season. And, certainly, Fields threw two massive touchdown passes in the first half to give the Bears some life. One of them was a 46-yard strike to Grant, who had a fantastic individual night. The other was Damiere Byrd’s 54-yard catch-and-run, which showcased his amazing speed.
Green Bay’s defense, on the other hand, was as opportunistic as ever. The Packers forced three Bears turnovers, including a pick-six by cornerback Rasul Douglas and a strip-sack by Preston Smith that was recovered by Rashan Gary. Green Bay’s Chandon Sullivan also stepped in front of a Fields’ jump-pass to seal the victory.
Three turnovers, a defensive score, and two sacks were all caused by the Packers. Even without Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith, that’s not a terrible day at the office for what has evolved into an elite team.
If and when those two great players return, one shudders to contemplate how good Green Bay’s defense may be.
The Packers’ special teams might very well cost them in the playoffs.
Green Bay’s special teams were horrible on Sunday night, despite the offense and defense playing well. Special teams might have lost the Packers a significant win against a stronger team, which has to be very worrying for head coach Matt LaFleur. He has a fantastic offense and defense, but special teams may quickly eliminate him and his Hall of Fame quarterback from Super Bowl contention.
This season, Mason Crosby has been the major offender, missing many field goals and even a few extra points. He’s having the worst year of his otherwise stellar career, and he’s reached the point where Green Bay’s collective breath is held in anticipation of his arrival to the plate. But that’s the terrifying aspect about Sunday night’s contest at Lambeau Field. Crosby went 6-of-6 on extra points and made his sole field goal attempt.
Even though Crosby was excellent, the Packers’ special teams were abysmal.
First, there was Grant’s punt return. In the NFL, this occurs from time to time since the other team is also paid to participate. Despite this, the Packers were negligent in punt coverage, allowing Grant to fully turn the field on them. That’s not a nice impression to make. This is not acceptable.
Amari Rodgers, the rookie wideout who has failed to return punts all season, muffed yet another one on Sunday night. With 13:31 left in the fourth quarter with the Pack down by only 11 points, he punted right into his facemask and muffed it. The Bears would have recovered the ball in a perfect position to score and tie the game, but they were penalized because one of their players went out of bounds on the kick. The Bears had to punt again, and this time Rodgers received it, but the Packers were on the verge of getting back into a tight game.
That won’t count since a Bears player was out of bounds. It shouldn’t make a difference.
Amari Rodgers’ punt-returning experience has to be extinguished altogether.
December 13, 2021 — Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood)
The latest special teams error may go overlooked since it occurred towards the conclusion of a blowout, but genuine Packers fans understand the importance of properly retrieving an onside kick.
With 1:22 remaining in the game, the Bears tried and recovered an onside kick, effectively giving them one more opportunity to score garbage time points. In a tight game, the ball rebounding off Marquez Valdes-fingertips Scantling’s and into the hands of Chicago’s kick crew may be the difference between winning and losing. That’s not even taking into account the negative sentiments Packers supporters have over the hands team’s failure to perform on an onsides kick. Click this link at your own peril if you’re a Green Bay Packers fan.
In the NFL, special teams may be the difference between winning and losing tight games if the offense wins games and the defense wins titles.
The Packers are led by an MVP quarterback and boast a top-notch defense. They must, though, resolve their special teams woes before what should be a routine play costs them another Super Bowl. They were fortunate that none of their special teams gaffes cost them against Chicago, but the playoffs are a different beast.
In a playoff game against a solid team, errors like the ones Green Bay made on Sunday night, as well as Crosby’s off-year in general, might be the difference between hoisting the Lombardi Trophy again and golfing.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have everything they need to win a Super Bowl…except for a competent special teams. The Bears defense is looking like an absolute wreck, and if they don’t get their act together soon, it may be too late. Reference: how much of the bears does aaron rodgers own.
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