Rodgers, Packers knew Bears' defensive signals in blowout loss


Rodgers, Packers knew Bears' defensive signals in blowout loss

At different points of their 55-14 crushing of the Bears on Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense sure seemed to have the Bears defense figured out, almost to the degree of knowing what the Bears were going to do.

In fact, they did. They could hear what the Bears were planning to do.

In the second quarter of Sunday night's 55-14 win at Lambeau Field, Rodgers exploited a blown coverage in the Bears defense and wound up hitting a wide-open Jordy Nelson for a 73-yard touchdown.

"It was a blown coverage. We could see that," Nelson said. "I might be wrong, but based off what we could hear them doing, Aaron checked to a different route and in that process, it sounded like they were checking to Cover-2.

"The way [Bears cornerback Tim Jennings] played it, he played Cover-2 and the safety still stayed 1-high."

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So did the Packers — or at least Rodgers — know the Bears' defensive signals?

That would sure explain the 10 touchdown passes and zero interceptions from Rodgers against the Bears this season in just over three halves of football.

"I don't want to say they played poorly," Nelson said. "I don't know what their schemes completely are. I'd like to just give us credit for executing the plays."

It's an ominous echo of the season-ending mistakes from the Bears defense coming against Rodgers and Co. The Bears' 2013 season came to a definitive end when Chris Conte did not get a defensive signal changing coverage and Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for a touchdown on fourth down in the final minute of the final game. Green Bay went on to capture the NFC North and the Bears went to their couches.

Rodgers has torn the Bears apart in both games this season, tossing four TD passes in Week 4 at Soldier Field and throwing for six scores in the first half Sunday night in Green Bay.

On the other side, the Green Bay defense still seems to have Jay Cutler and the Bears offense figured out, as well. Cutler turned the ball over three times as he lost to the Packers for the 10th time in 11 tries in a Bears uniform.

So...same old Jay?

"You can say that; I can't," Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said with a laugh. "...I get those questions a lot, I just don't know what to say about them. I guess we match up well against those guys. Time after time, we play well against them.

"Typically, it's usually a closer game, but this one was a total blowout. Even though we usually play well against them, you look up at the scoreboard and the game's still close.

"It was the total opposite today. It was fun to play this game and it was one we needed."

[MORE: Bears facing crisis “What now?” questions after humiliation in Green Bay]

While Williams is right, the Packers have played the Bears well in the Cutler Era; Green Bay has turned a corner this year and has absolutely dominated the NFL's oldest rivalry. Rodgers and Co. have outscored the Bears 93-31 in two games this season.

"The first game [Sept. 28] was actually tighter than [the scoreboard showed]. Those guys moved the ball well. They did some good things," Williams said. "But this time around, we adjusted to some of those things.

"They got a lot of good players over there. You gotta give them respect where respect is due. We just made some adjustments that we felt we needed to make. And we executed in all three phases of the game. Any time you get a team doing that, it's going to be tough to beat."

While the Bears are still searching for their identity in the midst of what is quickly becoming a lost season, the Packers feel like they're coming into their own.

"I think it's just our consistency and knowing what we have, knowing the guys in this locker room and the mentality," Cobb said. "We know who we are and we believe in each other and I think we've created our identity over the last few weeks."

"You can't go into a game thinking you'd get up six touchdowns in the first half," Nelson said. "We had a feeling that we'd be able to be successful if we did what we were supposed to do. And that's what happened."

Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's trust and would you rather be the Bears or Rams?


Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's trust and would you rather be the Bears or Rams?

JJ Stankevitz, Cam Ellis and John "Moon" Mullin convene at Halas Hall to discuss how to balance Mitch Trubisky's special moments against the rest of his play, including a comparison to Jay Cutler (2:35).

Then the trio breaks down Trubisky's trust - or lack thereof - in his receivers (7:50) and debates whether you'd rather be the Bears or the Rams moving forward (19:20).

They finish up by wondering how much a win on Sunday would mean to this team (25:35).

Listen to the episode here here or via the embedded player below:

Under Center Podcast


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NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

USA Today

NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

According to a report by Mark Maske of The Washington Post, the NFL and NFLPA “have made meaningful progress towards a new labor agreement.” 

There is plenty to unpack as negotiations progress, but the most significant tidbit from this news is that there is reportedly a real possibility the eventual agreement will expand the NFL’s regular season schedule to 17 games (while eliminating games from the preseason).

Such an agreement would represent a compromise between the league and the NFLPA. According to Maske, owners had been pushing for an 18-game regular season, but the players union has remained reluctant to budge off the current 16-game schedule. Maske flagged the league’s rookie compensation scale and current marijuana policy as areas in which the owners could give ground in order to persuade the players to agree to an expanded schedule.

The report also lists a 14-team playoff field as a potential inclusion in the agreement.

The current NFL CBA — which was agreed to in 2011 — is valid through the end of the 2020 season, but Maske reports that there is “optimism” a new agreement might be reached by the end of the 2019-20 postseason.