Apparently everyone worried about the wrong quarterback all week.
Mitchell Trubisky's return to the Chicago Bears lineup against the Green Bay Packers didn't go really well, but it made little difference. He became a subplot quickly as it was all about Aaron Rodgers and how he decimated the Bears defense, 41-25.
"I just felt like they got after us the entire game, from the first quarter to the very end," Bears coach Matt Nagy said.
The fifth straight loss by the Bears (5-6) is their longest losing streak since John Fox's final season in 2017 and came on a day when they could have made up ground in the wild-card chase as the Cardinals (6-5), Rams (7-4) and Buccaneers (7-4) all lost.
The Bears defense played without defensive end Akiem Hicks and looked like they left several others at home because the Packers picked them apart at their strongest points, then gave the a physical beating with 182 rushing yards.
The league's leading red-zone and third-down defense could do neither of those against Rodgers, who threw for four touchdowns and completed 21 of 29 for 211 yards.
The Packers (8-3) converted five of their first six third downs, scored on three trips into the red zone and led at halftime 27-10.
The Bears knew it would be difficult without Hicks, but probably not this difficult.
"I just felt like today, you really could feel the middle of our defense (struggle)—which is gonna affect some of the linebacker play, right, because they're going to get up to the second level and so, they hit a couple of big plays on us," Nagy said. "Overall though, when you're going up against Aaron Rodgers, you gotta be able to certainly stop the run and then not give him big plays."
Rodgers directed two drives of 75 yards and one of 80 yards and blended in the running game to take apart the Bears defense. Rodgers threw TDs of 12 yards to Davante Adams, 5 yards to Marcedes Lewis and 2 yards to Allen Lazard.
The other Packers TD in the first half came on Trubisky's lost fumble while being sacked. He was obviously face-masked by two players on the play and fumbled, then Preston Smith took it back 14 yards for the TD and a 27-3 lead. No penalty was called, which Trubisky said he found surprising.
"As far as calls go I never comment on that, everyone's human, just like us (players)," Trubisky said. "My job is to hold onto the football.
"It would have been nice to get a call and have that taken off the board and not be in such a big hole as we were but we've just got to do better."
The Packers added on in the second half, and the Bears managed TD passes of 1 and 6 yards from Trubisky to Allen Robinson, 6 yards to David Montgomery and a Cairo Santos 27-yard field goal following Montgomery's longest career run of 57 yards.
Trubisky went 26 of 46 for 232 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, both to Darnell Savage in tight coverage.
"It was kind of hard to assess because overall we were just playing from behind all the time, not ideal," Trubisky said. "You're just not going to win games when you turn the ball over, or be in games, and that's on me."
Montgomery had a season-high 103 yards rushing, but the Packers owned the ground game with 182 yards on 39 carries.
Still, on this night it wasn't Trubisky's problems reading defenses that stood out as much as Rodgers' ability to read what the Bears defense was doing and then act on it.
Rodgers got Eddie Jackson to bite on a bootleg fake and threw a 39-yard TD to Robert Tonyan in the third quarter. The Packers mopped up with a 13-yard Jamaal Williams bull-like run up the middle for a 41-10 lead in the third quarter.
Rodgers was throwing bombs with eight minutes left and a 24-point lead, and was throwing passes with three minutes left while they owned a 41-25 lead.
The Bears return to Chicago all but out of the division race and play Detroit (4-7) Sunday, a team which just fired its head coach, and a win becomes more than a necessity.
"We've got five games left, guaranteed, and we know what's in front of us," Robinson said. "That's all the motivation we need."
Nagy said his chief concern right now is not worrying about his job security.
"We understand where we're at and that when you have games like this you've got to figure out, you've got to soul search, and you've got to stop the bleeding," Nagy said. "There's a couple of directions you can go but my job as a leader is to make sure that they unerstand that.