State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers' performance in their 24-23 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
The Bears pass rush overwhelmed the Packers, but it wasn't Khalil Mack that kept getting home, it was the guys in the middle. Aaron Rodgers was unstoppable after returning from a knee injury and saved the day for Green Bay. DeShone Kizer's two turnovers came in the red zone and deep in Packers territory. Those are mortal sins.
The defense was stubborn after the Bears' opening, 86-yard drive. The pass rush was pesky but it couldn't force Mitch Trubisky into any mistakes. The young cornerbacks gave up nothing deep after allowing two long passes in the first 12 plays. Roughing the passer? You've simply got to be smarter than that, Clay Matthews.
The Green Bay Packers kicked off the 2018 regular season with a stunning comeback victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
Special teams: C-minus
Tarik Cohen's 42-yard punt return flipped the field for the Bears. It's unforgivable to let a punt returner get to the outside. JK Scott punted quite well. He got far too much playing time, however. Pressed into emergency duty with Trevor Davis out, Randall Cobb showed some of his old moves on a 17-yard punt return.
Mike Pettine outsmarted himself, starting in a dime defense against the Bears' run personnel. The Packers were a step behind the Bears for the rest of their opening drive. It's second-and-19 on your 30 with a minute left in the half and your backup quarterback is in. Why take a timeout, Mike McCarthy? Let the half play out.
Aaron Rodgers has been the difference between the Packers and Bears for a decade. When he left with a knee injury in the second quarter, things looked hopeless. But when he returned, he put on a quarterbacking clinic to overcome a 20-0 deficit. The Bears were more ready to play than the Packers, but the Packers had Rodgers.