Whenever the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears get together, you know it’s going to be an instant classic.
Only not really.
The Packers had their way with the Bears from the opening kickoff Sunday night, as Aaron Rodgers threw for six touchdowns – in the first half – to lead Green Bay to a 55-14 win.
The 42 first-half points allowed by the Bears were the most in any half in franchise history, while Green Bay’s 55 points tied a Packers record at Lambeau Field.
“You never anticipate a game to (unfold) like that and get out of control in the first half,” Packers guard T.J. Lang said on The MoJo Show, “but those are the fun ones to play in when you get to go against a division rival like that at home. It’s always nice to come out with a win, especially in the manner that we won.”
Green Bay has had that feeling at Chicago’s expense a lot in recent years. Come to think of it, is Bears/Packers really even much of a rivalry anymore?
“I was actually just thinking about that a couple days ago,” said Lang, 27. “I’ve been here six years now in Green Bay, and I’ve lost to the Bears twice in a possible 13 games, including playoffs. I think the fans make it a little bit more of a rivalry than what it is. With them, it’s just a hatred that is much higher than (what) it is at the players’ level. Those are guys that we respect. But you look at the last couple years, the way we’ve been able to win some dominant games against them – in my mind, it really hasn’t been close. But it’s always going to be big for the media, for the fans. So it kind of (makes it fun for us, too).”
Rodgers called it an early night in the third quarter, having thrown for 315 yards and six touchdowns. His top targets were Jordy Nelson (six catches, 152 yards, two touchdowns), Randall Cobb (four catches, 72 yards, one touchdown) and Eddie Lacy (three catches, 68 yards, one touchdown).
The Bears, meanwhile, committed three turnovers and didn’t score until it was 45-0. They were, in a word, dominated.
Clay Matthews stole the show defensively for Green Bay. Moving from outside linebacker to inside linebacker, he finished with a game-high 11 tackles.
“I think it definitely had to have thrown them off guard,” Lang said. “He’s a premier pass rusher in this league. When you get out there and make your declarations – whether it’s the run game or the pass game – he’s the guy that you’re going to have to be accountable for. You don’t want to put him one-on-one with your running back. I got to imagine that had to have been tough for them. I think it was definitely a little bit of a boost that we needed on defense.”
With the win, Green Bay (6-3) stayed within striking distance of Detroit (7-2). The Packers lost at Detroit 19-7 in Week 3, but they host the Lions in the regular-season finale – a game that will almost certainly have playoff implications.
“It definitely starts with (Ndamukong) Suh,” Lang said, when asked to list the toughest players in the league he has to face. “Really, going to Detroit is probably my least favorite game of the whole season – to play in that dome and play against a premier opponent like that. Suh and those guys are definitely at the top of their position.”