Packers defeat Bears behind Aaron Jones, strong running game

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers finally revealed their new makeup for the 2022 season. It just took a week longer than expected.

A week after losing a flat opener, the Packers established their identity in a 27-10 win against the Chicago Bears. The Packers were more physical than their NFC North rival on both sides of the ball.

It took a slow start to get rolling. The Bears marched 71 yards on an opening touchdown drive, taking a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. After that, the Packers rattled off 21 straight first-half points, giving them a comfortable lead.

The Packers needed to win Sunday night, putting last week’s stinker of an opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings behind them before a tough Week 3 trip to the 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They might have learned some things about themselves along the way.

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The Aaron Jones Show

This is not your Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings or Donald Driver offense. It’s been a long time since the Packers’ best playmaker was a running back, not a receiver. Save for 2015, when Nelson tore his ACL and Eddie Lacy was still in his young prime, it hasn’t happened since Aaron Rodgers became the starting quarterback in 2008. The biggest difference Sunday night was simple: Matt LaFleur made much more of an effort to give the football to his best playmaker. Jones had just eight touches last week, and they were productive with 76 yards (9.5 average). He had more than eight touches in the first half alone Sunday, finishing with 15 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown. Jones added three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown. The Packers will need to be judicious with Jones in the first half of the season – AJ Dillon also had 15 carries for 50 yards – and not wear him out before December. As many times as possible, they need Jones leading the way like he did Sunday night.

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates with fans after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter during their football game Sunday, September 18, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.  Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Rookie receivers still up and down

Romeo Doubs caught only one pass Sunday night, but it showed why the fourth-round rookie needs to get targets even early in his first season. Doubs took a screen 20 yards on second-and-28, setting up a manageable third down. On that next play, Rodgers completed a 9-yard pass to Randall Cobb in the middle of the field, moving the chains. The drive ended with an 8-yard touchdown run from Jones, opening a 17-7 lead. Christian Watson also flashed some potential, using his speed to take a jet pass 9 yards. It wasn’t a flawless night for the rookies. Watson mistimed his jet motion in the second half, knocking a Josh Myers snap as he crossed the formation to force a fumble the Packers recovered. Through the expected growing pains, both rookies appear to have enough talent to justify the requisite patience during their development.

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