NFL

8 standouts from Packers’ 45-30 win over Bears

Despite an onslaught of special teams blunders, the Green Bay Packers still managed to hang a season-high 45 points on the board during their win over the sinking Chicago Bears. The Packers improved to 10-3 as Aaron Rodgers’ four-touchdown performance was yet another installment of brilliance in the NFL’s oldest rivalry.

Green Bay will have to make a decision on Maurice Drayton, whose special teams unit continues to disappoint in 2021. There was miscue after miscue on Sunday night, and come playoff time, multiple special teams’ mistakes could be fatal.

Chicago wide receiver Jakeem Grant recorded the first punt return touchdown of the season late in the second quarter. The Packers appeared to have Grant bottled up around the 5-yard line, but Grant reversed field and set a new franchise record with a 97-yard return for a touchdown.

However, not to be discouraged, the Packers outscored the Bears 17-0 in the third quarter after trailing at halftime. That proved to be enough as Green Bay captured their sixth double-digit win of the season.

Let’s take a look at some standouts who helped the Packers secure a four-game lead in the NFC North standings.

TE Josiah Deguara

Deguara did a nice job getting the offense going with a 25-yard catch and run on the team’s first scoring drive. Later in the same drive, Deguara made a crucial block to spring Aaron Jones free for an 11-yard run. Deguara’s versatility as a run blocker and pass catcher was on full display against Chicago. He finished with three catches totaling 44 yards, with all three receptions resulting in first downs. His role on offense has certainly picked up since Robert Tonyan’s season-ending ACL injury.

TE Marcedes Lewis

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Deguara wasn’t the only tight end to have a good night as Lewis tallied a season-high 51 receiving yards. He continues to be an afterthought for opposing defenses, and the Packers have no problem making them pay. Lewis was virtually wide open on all four of his receptions. Even at 37 years of age, Lewis is an asset for this Green Bay offense.

WR Allen Lazard

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Lazard continues to do the little things, but tonight he produced some big plays as well. He made an incredible leaping grab on 3rd and 18 for a 32-yard gain and was on the receiving end of Rodgers’ first touchdown after running a clean route to get separation inside the goal line. Lazard was alsothe one who set up the long touchdown to Davante Adams on a swift 18-yard catch with under a minute remaining in the first half. For the game, Lazard totaled six receptions for a season-high 75 yards and even topped it off with a 14-yard run from a jet sweep.

WR Davante Adams

After a slow start, Adams turned up the gas to finish with 10 catches, 121 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Adams has made life miserable for the Bears’ top corner Jaylon Johnson in both matchups this year. Johnson wasn’t in coverage on Adams’ 38-yard touchdown reception, but he was on Adams’ second score. On his second touchdown reception, Adams ran a well-executed release off the line of scrimmage that completely embarrassed Johnson.

RB Aaron Jones

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If Jones was anything, he was efficient against Chicago. Jones needed only eight touches to record two touchdowns, with one coming from the ground and another through the air. Jones hadn’t scored a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game since Week 2. He carried the ball five times for 35 rushing yards and also added three catches totaling 30 yards.

QB Aaron Rodgers

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The Bears were hoping to get revenge against Rodgers for his “I own you” comments, but the three-time MVP was never going to let that happen. Rodgers settled in after a slow start and completed 78% of his passes for 341 yards. His 141.1 passer rating was his third-highest of the season. Rodgers passed Brett Favre for most career touchdowns against Chicago with 61. After the game, Rodgers said his toe felt worse and must have suffered some sort of setback. Rodgers has played well in recent weeks despite a painful toe injury.

CB Rasul Douglas

The incredible run for Douglas continues. Douglas has now made pick-sixes in back-to-back weeks and has three interceptions in total since joining the Packers in Week 6. Douglas jumped a pass from Justin Fields during the second quarter and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. It gave the Packers their first lead of the game and a huge boost in momentum. Before the bye week, Douglas intercepted Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams and returned it 33-yards to the endzone. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Rams. Douglas had a second chance at a pick-six later in the game but couldn’t hang on after he jumped a pass to Allen Robinson.

Edge Preston Smith

Smith’s strong 2021 season got even stronger Sunday night. After rookie Teven Jenkins replaced future Hall of Famer Jason Peters, Smith went to work on the second-rounder. During the third quarter, Smith made a strong move off the edge and delivered a blindside hit to Fields. Fields subsequently fumbled the ball, which Rashan Gary recovered. The turnover turned into a game-altering play as the offense took over with a short field and punched in the touchdown to go up 35-27. Smith picked up his sixth sack of the season and his second forced fumble on the play. His resurgence following a somber 2020 has provided a nice lift to the defense.

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