Week 17 Recap: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bearsby MJ Hurley January 4, 2021 0 comments
“The road to Tampa goes through Lambeau”
In the final game to make his case for NFL Most Valuable Player, Aaron Rodgers made more history. In case Rodgers had not already convinced the league of his greatness, his 2020 season encapsulated the ability Rodgers has to lead the best offense in the NFL and defeat their NFC North rival 35-16 in Week 17. Green Bay clinches the top seed in the NFC. The NFC playoffs will run through Lambeau Field for the first time since 2011.
“It’s great, especially in a place like Green Bay. Us being able to be home, the weather up here, and it’s a reward for the work we did in the regular season,” said Adrian Amos.
Aaron Rodgers’ 2020 season was officially the 2nd best passer rating season of all-time. The only rating better than Rodgers’ 121.5 in 2020 was his mark of 122.5 in 2011. Nearly ten years later, Rodgers has proven his ability to make smart decisions and be more efficient than anyone in history.
His running mate, Davante Adams, also cemented his 2020 campaign as one of the greatest receiving seasons of all-time. Adams surpassed the Packers mark for receptions in a single season, 113 which was previously held by Sterling Sharpe in 1993. Adams also became only the fifth receiver in NFL history with 18 touchdown catches, with Chris Carter and Randy Moss being the only receivers ever with more than 18. He finished the season with 18 touchdowns, 115 receptions, and 1,374 receiving yards in 14 games.
“I said to Davante in the locker room after the game, 13 and a half games, and you just had the greatest season for a receiver in Packers history. I have a ton of respect for him and his success,” said Rodgers.
A few places where Aaron Rodgers led the NFL this season included: Passing touchdowns (48), completion percentage(70.7%), interceptions(5), and passer rating (121.5). Rodgers also led the highest scoring offense in the NFL, and the most efficient offense in the NFL. Any question about the Packers needing “more weapons” has been absolutely smashed by Rodgers and Coach of the Year candidate, Matt LaFleur.
Although he was not selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team, Robert Tonyan also became the first Packers tight end in franchise history to catch 11 touchdowns in a single season.
With history taken care of, Chicago needed either a win or a loss by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 to advance to the playoffs. With the Los Angeles Rams defeating Arizona 18-7, the Bears finished 8-8 and still clinched the 7th seed in the NFC. Chicago was within 5 points with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Bears trailed 21-16 with 5:30 left in the third quarter, and neither team was able to score for over 15 minutes.
After converting four opportunities on 4th down in the first three quarters of the game, Bears head coach Matt Nagy decided to go for the fifth conversion with 11:22 left in the 4th quarter, on the Green Bay 25. An incomplete pass from Mitchell Trubisky to Allen Robinson would be the last chance Chicago had to be within reach of Green Bay.
“It came down to putting six on the board, and it’s tough to do when you play against a front-seven like that. For us to go and get Aaron Jones in there at the end of this game, those are the type of games we will have to win moving forward,” said Adams.
Rodgers and the Packers responded with a 12 play, 7-minute drive that ended in a touchdown run from Jones. Immediately on the next possession, Trubisky was intercepted by Amos, and the ensuing touchdown reception by Adams was the ultimate dagger for Chicago.
In a must-win game, Trubisky did not step up to the plate to match the incredible performance of Aaron Rodgers. Trubisky’s 33 completions averaged only 6 yards per completion, and the Bears only touchdown came on the first drive score by David Montgomery. Few teams have been able to beat the Packers in a shootout. Producing only 69 yards on the ground for Montgomery is not the recipe for success moving forward.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 3, 2021
Rodgers hit tight end Dominique Dafney for the touchdown, which made it the first game in NFL history where two players from Indiana State scored a touchdown in the same game. (Tonyan and Dafney.)
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 3, 2021
Darnell Mooney with an incredible catch late in the game.
🚨 BIG PLAY ALERT 🚨
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 3, 2021
A 72-yard deep bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling opened up the game.
Through quarterback controversy and an extended losing streak in the middle of the season, the Bears clinched the new 7th seed in the NFC and will travel to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the Saints. Although it didn’t affect the Saints this weekend, the status of the New Orleans’ running back room will be paramount to the outcome of that wild card matchup.
“It’s a clean slate tomorrow. Anything can happen once you get in the playoffs,” said Matt Nagy.
Green Bay overcame multiple special teams’ gaffes and another bad third quarter to clinch the top seed in the NFC. Green Bay will take some much-needed rest. They will await the lowest remaining seed in the NFC on the third weekend in January. With a week off, what is Rodgers’ message to the Packers?
“Don’t get COVID.”