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Rodgers, Packers Still Own Bears

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers made an emphatic statement by beating the Chicago Bears 24-14 on Sunday.
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CHICAGO – “I still own you!”

Indeed he does.

Aaron Rodgers’ 6-yard touchdown run put the finishing touches on the Green Bay Packers’ latest victory over the Chicago Bears, 24-14, on Sunday at Soldier Field.

With Chicago having just pulled within 17-14, Rodgers drove the Packers right down the field. On the touchdown, he scrambled to his right, pump-faked linebacker Alec Ogletree into a statue, and ran 7 yards for the score.

Rodgers was knocked to the turf after crossing the goal line. From the ground, he dusted off his championship celebration. Then, mobbed by teammates, he yelled those memorable, triumphant four words.

“Sometimes you black out on the field – in a good way,” Rodgers said. “I looked up in the stands and in the front row all I saw was a woman giving me the double bird, so I’m not sure exactly what came out of my mouth next.”

In 26 career games against the Bears, Rodgers is a staggering 21-5. That record doesn’t include the 2010 NFC Championship Game and does include the 2013 game in which he suffered a broken collarbone on the opening series. He’s thrown 57 touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions during those regular-season games.

Rodgers has won 10 of his last 11 trips to Chicago, his latest victory cemented by two sacks by Kenny Clark.

“Well, we’ve won a few in a row now,” Rodgers said with a smile about his ownership of Chicago.

The Bears took the opening drive for a touchdown. Cornerback Isaac Yiadom got the start for injured Kevin King but was torched for a 20-yard completion and a 26-yard penalty for pass interference. The penalty gave the Bears a first-and-goal, and Khalil Herbert scored from there.

Yiadom was benched and replaced by Rasul Douglas, who was acquired off Arizona’s practice squad less than two weeks ago. With Douglas and fellow newcomer, linebacker Jaylon Smith, getting serious minutes, the Packers clamped down on Chicago’s limited offensive attack.

Green Bay tied it on some inspired red-zone play-calling. Running back Aaron Jones motioned from left to right to distract the defense. Meanwhile, Allen Lazard lined up just to the outside of right tackle Billy Turner, went left at the snap, caught a shovel pass and pushed his way into the end zone. That play was a creation of offensive line coach Adam Stenavich, Rodgers said.

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A 39-yard field goal by Mason Crosby after a red-zone failure gave Green Bay a 10-7 lead.

The Packers extended the lead to 17-7 midway through the third quarter on what seemed like a harmless checkdown. Rodgers had all day but nowhere to go with the ball before finally tossing it to Jones. It should have been a negative-yardage play. Instead, Jones stiff-armed safety Tashaun Gipson to the turf, then won a race to the pylon. It was a big drive for Jones, who had a 28-yard run and a 10-yard catch on a third-and-1.

Chicago made it 17-14 with 8:44 left in the fourth quarter on Fields’ 5-yard touchdown pass to receiver Darnell Mooney. That set the stage for Rodgers' memorable, clinching touchdown.

What it means: With a fifth consecutive win, Green Bay improved to 5-1 and took a two-game lead over Chicago and Minnesota in the NFC North.

"By no means do I believe we’re a finished product," coach Matt LaFleur said. "I think there’s a lot for all of us — myself more than anybody — to continue to work and improve upon. And I think there’s just a lot of growth left for this football team."

With so many key players injured, every victory now is a deposit in the bank.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” Rodgers said. “Like I’ve said before, felt like the first week was an anomaly. We’ve backed it the last five weeks. But the way that we’ve done it, with the guys that we’ve done it with, with the kind of injuries that we’ve had. You look at our roster now, there’s a lot of guys that weren’t with us at the start of the season that are playing big minutes. I’m just really proud of the guys. These are character wins. These are wins that are really, really important. We’ve got to get healthy.”

Key moment: Chicago had just driven straight down the field to make it a three-point game. But Rodgers always beats the Bears and that wouldn’t change on this day. A 41-yard completion to Davante Adams put the Packers in scoring position, and Rodgers got on his horse for the clinching score with 4:14 to play.

On the play to Adams, LaFleur said he called for a quick pass to Adams. Rodgers changed it to a double move.

“The thing that I will miss 20 years down the line is moments where you make a subtle adjustment, you look over at the guy and it’s a stud like 17 and he just went like this (head nod),” Rodgers said. “The whole body started tingling. I just knew it was going to be one of those special plays.”

Key stats: Late in the fourth quarter, Rodgers had a 128.0 passer rating while Fields’ mark was 78.0. That 50-point disparity will win 99 games out of 100. Rodgers finished 17-of-23 passing for 195 yards with two touchdown passes and one touchdown run. Also, after entering the game ranked 27th with a red-zone touchdown rate of 55.0 percent, Green Bay scored on three of its four treks inside the 20. The last of those, of course, was the run by Rodgers.

MVP: Who knows how well he played without rewatching the game, but Green Bay’s defense was torched on the opening possession, when Isaac Yiadom was the cornerback, then generally took control when Rasul Douglas replaced him in the lineup.

What’s next: The Packers are in the middle of a stretch with one home game in a span of five weeks. That home game is next week against Washington. It’s the lone noon home game of the season. Washington fell to 2-4 after losing to Kansas City. It started the week tied for 12th with Green Bay with 24.0 points per game but was a woeful 31st with 31.0 points allowed per game. When it won the NFC East last season, it ranked fourth with 20.6 points allowed per game.

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