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Defense dominates the Packers – Bears 2019 NFL season opening game

ESPN Radio
September 06, 2019 - 3:01 pm

By Charlie O @Charlieo1320

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The game on Thursday night between the Packers and Bears kicked off the 100th season of the National Football League, and it turned into a 1920’s throwback night with Green Bay winning 10-6. The NFL and NBC were probably hoping for game where both teams scored in the 20’s and there were some aerial fireworks. That did not happen.

The Green Bay defense dominates

Packers new head coach Matt LaFleur summed up his team’s defense in one word, “Smothering”. “It seemed like they were all over the place.”

After the game, everyone – including QB Aaron Rodgers – had big praise for Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The Packers did not allow the Bears to score a touchdown, recorded five sacks and made the game’s only turnover.

That turnover was an interception made by former Bears safety Adrian Amos of a Mitchell Trubisky pass in the end that could have potentially allowed Chicago to tie the game with two minutes remaining in regulation time. Instead, the sellout crowd started heading for the parking lot.

The Packers held the Bears to 254 total yards on offense with just 46 yards rushing. That is not Bears football. They also held the Bears twice on third and one attempts which did not please Chicago head coach Matt Nagy one bit.

This was the lowest scoring Week 1 NFL game since 1995 when the Houston Oilers (if you’re under 20, ask your dad) and the Jacksonville Jaguars combined for just 13 points.

Packers offense

Matt LaFleur became the first Green Bay head coach to win his debut game since Phil Bengston (who took over for Vince Lombardi) in 1968. LaFleur’s offense did not dominate, but they did just enough to win.

The Pack did not start the game off looking like a team that was going to win a game. They went negative -12 yards on their first 3 drives.

The Packers turned it around on their fourth drive. Rodgers threw a 47-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling during the drive. Green Bay capped the four-play, 74-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to TE Jimmy Graham.

The Packers only other score came on a 39-yard Mason Crosby field goal with 5:15 to go in the game. That score capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive that ate up six minutes and 30 seconds.

“It’s just sweet,” Rodgers said when asked if the Packers’ 213 yards, 17 percent third-down efficiency and lack of scoring left a bittersweet feeling. “It really is. Obviously, I hold myself to a high standard, and I didn't play great tonight. But to watch a defense like that, man, that gives you a lot of confidence for where this team can go.”

It was a “grizzly” night for the Bears

Bears head coach Matt Nagy opened his postgame press conference by saying, “Obviously unacceptable,” and went on to add that it “starts with me.” That is the very definition of a “standup” coach.

“I just told the guys in there, this is not who we are,” Nagy said. “I was proud of defense. I thought they played their ass off tonight. Offensively, not good enough – and we’re going to fix it. Our guys know that.”

The Bears defense did its job

The Chicago defense held the Packers to just 213 total yards on offense:

  • Rushing 22 carries for 47 yards (2.1 yards per carry)
  • Passing Rodgers completed 18-of-30 attempts for 203 gross passing yards, but he was sacked five times for 37 lost yards. The defense put their team in a position to win the game.
  • Special Teams allowed zero return yards on both punts and kickoffs.

Da Monsters come out at night. #GBvsCHI

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Chicago with the ball

  • Third-down situations:  they converted just 3-of-15 opportunities (20-percent).
  • Third and one plays: 0-for-2 as Cordarrelle Patterson lost two yards trying to go up the middle and Trubisky was sacked for no gain.
  • Penalties: they were flagged 10 times for 107 yards.
  • Passing: Trubisky completed 25-of-45 passes for 228 yards and had one pass (a potential game-tying TD) intercepted. He finished with passer rating of 62.1. In three previous games versus Green Bay, his passer rating was 96.6.

“I definitely feel like I let a lot of my teammates down and the fans down with the way I played,” Trubisky said. “I definitely felt like I could have done better.” Judging from the “boos” coming from the stands, the Chicago fans agreed.

Up next on the schedule

Green Bay will play their home opener next Sunday when they will host division rival Minnesota. The Vikings play the Falcons in the Twin Cities this Sunday in their season opener.

Chicago will travel to Denver to face the Broncos next Sunday. The Broncos open their season in Oakland on Monday night versus the Raiders.

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