As if the Bears didnt already have enough to worry about with just Aaron Rodgers
Turning an opponent one-dimensional is the stated goal of the Bears defense no matter who that opponent is, including Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. That target appears to have just become exponentially harder at just the wrong time.
Because something happened last Sunday night in Green Bay as the Packers were spotting the Detroit a 14-0 lead and then methodically taking the Lions apart.
It should concern the Bears very much. The Bears havent been able to beat the Packers much since Rodgers succeeded Brett Favre and that was when Rodgers didnt have a solid run game alongside.
The Packers scored both of their offensive touchdowns rushing. One was a 27-yard scramble by Rodgers; not a true rushing touchdown and they all count.
But the other was a 59-yard domination that consisted of seven straight running plays. Three different running backs ripped of runs of 10 yards or longer and it was the first time since 2002 that the Packers had scored on a drive of seven or more plays where every play was a run.
Quantity and quality
Even with one the NFLs truly elite passers and trailing, the Packers basically rammed the football down the throats of Ndamukong Suh and the Lions.
Not with huge numbers. The Packers had the ball less than 23 minutes in the game and ran just 52 plays. But they rushed for 140 yards, averaged 5.6 yards per carry and made it 100 or more yards in four of their last five games.
The Aaron Rodgers Packers are averaging 139 rushing yards per game over the last five. Since week nine they are averaging 31 rushes per game and have won four of their last five. (The Bears have lost four of their last five averaging 28 runs and 113 yards per.)
Theyve made more of a commitment to the run over the last couple of games and theyve found some success, said linebacker Lance Briggs. But its been beneficial to them, for one, not as many defensive linemen are getting up to Aaron Rodgers if theyre running the ball more.
Interestingly, Rodgers has a 104 passer rating for the season but in only one of those last five games did he reach a passer rating about 98.
What that says is the Packers are becoming good enough to win even when Rodgers is not a far-and-away dominating passer.
The running backs are the proverbial Who are those guys? (For the record, they are Alex Green, James Starks and DuJuan Harris. Only Harris averages more than 3.6 yards per carry.)
And theyre running behind an offensive line with as many health issues as the Bears.
The Sack Struggle
It has been seven games since the Bears have had more than two sacks in a game after posting three or more in five of their first six games.
Rodgers is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL over recent seasons and it does not automatically follow that sacking Rodgers is beating the Packers.
But the more of the field that Rodgers has available to him, the more lethal he becomes. The Bears were undone against the Seattle Seahawks in part by the read-option scheme but ultimately by failing to contain rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
The Bears rank 11th in sacks per pass play but may be without defensive tackle Henry Melton after his chest injury at Minnesota. Melton has six sacks and the key to inside pressure. If the pivotal three-technique player in the Bears scheme is down, the Bears would be without core inside players at tackle and linebacker (Brian Urlacher).
That increases the burden on multiple players, including fill-in linebackers Nick Roach in the middle and Geno Hayes outside.
Both those guys are real good in space, good, athletic guys, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. So were very confident in our people and what theyre doing. Were excited about the challenge.