Packers use running game and defense to get back on track with win over Bears


Despite an opening-week loss there was no real reason to worry about the Green Bay Packers, especially considering the Chicago Bears were coming to town. They just needed to settle into what they do best.

This season, the Packers’ preferred method is probably not Aaron Rodgers throwing it all around the place. It’s Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon running the ball, and a talented defense flying around and hitting hard. And the back-to-back NFL MVP will make plays when he has to.

The Packers started slow but once Jones and Dillon started picking up yards in chunks, the Bears were in trouble. The Packers didn’t do much in the second half but still held on to a decisive 27-10 win.

The Packers lost 23-7 in Week 1 to the Minnesota Vikings. Maybe that was just a tough assignment for the Packers in the opener, or we’ll find out the Vikings are much better than anticipated. But we saw Sunday night that the Packers aren’t going anywhere.

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates after catching an 8-yard touchdown pass against the Bears. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The Packers dominate the first half

The Bears, however, started fast, driving downfield after a Packers field goal. Justin Fields ran in for a touchdown. The Bears led 7-3 and the NBC booth was trying hard to convince everyone the Bears had a shot to pull off the upset.

The Packers took over the rest of the half. Their last four drives of the first half resulted in three touchdowns and a punt. It wasn’t just that the Packers beat an inferior Bears team. It was a look at how the Packers want to win this season.

Jones went over 100 yards early in the third quarter and finished with 132. He scored twice. Dillon had 61 yards on 18 runs. Not many teams would want balance if they had a quarterback like Rodgers, but this is how Green Bay built its roster.

Rodgers is still fantastic, even with a set of young receivers that seem to frustrate him. He threw a touchdown to Allen Lazard to give the Packers a 24-7 lead just before halftime. Rodgers was efficient, with 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The offense slowed down after halftime. There were some sloppy mistakes. It seemed like a case of the Packers letting up after taking a huge halftime lead, with the Bears not being much of a threat to upset them.

Green Bay defense holds on to the win

The Packers’ defense didn’t have a good day last week against the Vikings. Justin Jefferson ran free in their secondary too often, and cornerback Jaire Alexander wondered aloud why he wasn’t shadowing Jefferson.

There’s too much talent on Green Bay’s defense for the Packers to look bad very often this season. Once the Packers took back the lead, the defense started playing fast. Their pass rushers got good pressure on Fields. Bears receivers were hit as soon as they caught the ball. Chicago scored on its first drive, and had 10 yards total on its next five drives.

The second half was a bit more sloppy. A fumbled handoff to Dillon deep in Bears territory helped keep the game from getting entirely out of hand. No lead in the NFL was safe Sunday, and the Bears made it briefly interesting in the fourth quarter. They trailed 24-10 and drove to the Packers’ 1-yard line, but inexplicably called a quarterback run from the shotgun formation instead of having Fields line up under center and sneak it. Fields predictably was stopped short and the game was all but over.

The Packers get a better test next week when they play at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They won’t be able to take the second half off and beat the Buccaneers, but we know their preferred formula to win that game.

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