You are looking at your NFC top seed for the 2020 playoffs – the Green Bay Packers. Winners of 13 games on the season, their 35-16 victory over the Chicago Bears marked their 19th win out of their past 22 games in the series, showcasing their absolute domination of their southern rivals.
On the back of Aaron Rodgers and his four passing touchdowns, Green Bay was able to ride a somewhat alright first half into a stronger second half for their win, locking up their first round bye along with the number one overall seed for the conference, forcing the playoffs to come through Lambeau for as long as they are in it.
After a strange opening kickoff that saw Cordarelle Patterson try and force the ball to go out of bounds and get GB to unsuccessfully challenge it, the Bears took their opening drive down the field on 14 plays for a score, resulting in a short TD punch-in for RB David Montgomery.
The Bears started out their love for fourth-down conversions on this drive, as they converted a 4th-and-3 to continue their trek into the end zone.
To counter, the Packers took their first drive of the game down the field and scored, as Rodgers found tight end Robert Tonyan from three yards out to tie the game at seven apiece for Tonyan’s 11th score of the year.
After forcing the Bears into a five-play drive that resulted in a punt, Packers returner Tavon Austin was stripped on the ensuing return, setting the Bears up with fantastic field position deep in GB territory. But the defense stood up to the task, helping keep Chicago out of the end zone and held them to a field goal, a common theme for the night.
GB held onto the ball on their next drive, and only needed three plays to score another TD, as Rodgers connected with Marques Valdez-Scantling on a 72-yard drop in the bucket on a third-down conversion. MVS was matched up with a slow Bears LB and he took the top off from the right slot, and Rodgers hit him in stride, pushing GB into the lead they would never relinquish.
The Packers returned the turnover favor to Chicago, as two plays into the next offensive possession for the Bears resulted in a forced fumble by Jaire Alexander, recovered by Rashan Gary at the CHI 22, setting GB up deep in Bears territory. Six plays later, Rodgers connected with Dominique Dafney for this third passing TD of the first half, and it was Dafney’s first career NFL score after he recorded his first career NFL touch last week.
Having kept the Bears from scoring a TD on their next drive, Chicago settled for three points after putting together a 13-play drive that took up just under four minutes of clock, putting the score at 21-13 in favor of GReen Bay.
The opening drive of the second half for Green Bay could have forced this game to have very different ramifications early on, as Rodgers tried to connect with MVS yet again on a deep ball. But, as is common with MVS, he dropped a sure-fire TD on a perfectly-placed throw from Rodgers, eventually turning the drive into a punt.
The Bears drove down the field for almost a seven-minute drive, but again were held from scoring a TD, stopped short on 3rd down at the GB 2. On the ensuing drive, Green Bay was forced into a very quick three-and-out drive that ever so slightly started to shift some momentum towards the Bears.
But, the Bears were kept quiet on their next drive, as their 15-play drive that spanned the end of the third quarter and into the fourth was stopped short on a failed fourth-down conversion. Earlier on the drive, Mitchell Trubisky helped keep the drive alive by converting two fourth-down conversions, one through the air to rookie Darnell Mooney (who set career highs with catches and yardage) and one on through his legs on a QB sneak.
In the first full drive of the fourth quarter, the Packers took up a ton of time and put up seven points on the board, the perfect result for what they needed to happen to help put the game away. A 12-play, 76-yard drive that resulted in an Aaron Jones’ rushing score took up 7:35 of the fourth quarter, essentially putting the game away.
In a last-ditch attempt to get back into the game, Trubisky tried to take a deep shot to another rookie, tight end Cole Kmet, but former Bears safety Adrian Amos jumped the route and intercepted Trubisky, taking the ball back to the CHI 26.
Deep in CHI territory, Rodgers helped slam the door, as he found Davante Adams from six yards out on a little slant route for the score, putting the game out of reach at its final score, 35-16.
The Bears put together a solid final drive, but their 11-play drive resulted in the clock running out with no points being put up, ending any dreams of making the game look respectable.
Next up for the Packers is the coveted first-round bye, giving them a crucial week off before heading into the divisional round of the postseason. Byes have not always worked out the best for GB, but let’s hope that the 2021 version of this team proves that history wrong.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23