The NFC North divisional match up kicked off the new NFL season last night, with the Bears hosting the Packers. The talk surrounding the season opener was how Aaron Rodgers would handle his new offense against Chuck Pagano’s Bears defense. However, it was the Packers defense which came out on top against a misfiring Mitchell Trubisky and his offense.
Packers defensive masterclass
In a low scoring contest, it was the Packers who came away from Soldier Field with a 10-3 victory. Aaron Rodgers threw the first touchdown of the NFL season, finding tight end Jimmy Graham open in the end zone. In a game dominated by the defense, Graham’s touchdown in the second quarter was the only one of the night. The Bears took the lead with a 38 yard field goal by new starting kicker Eddy Pineiro, before Graham’s touchdown in the second quarter, and a Mason Crosby field goal in the fourth.
Packers defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, will be excited with his team’s defensive display. Pettine will be especially impressed by how the new faces in the Packers defensive line faired against the Bears offense. Former Redskins outside linebacker, Preston Smith, recorded 1.5 sacks against Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Fellow outside linebacker, Za’Darius Smith. was also able to sack Trubisky on a night dominated by the defense. This was confirmed late on when Packers safety, and former Chicago Bear, Adrian Amos intercepted a Trubisky pass.
Bears struggle on offense
Chicago fans know their strengths lie in their defensive line but will walk away from Soldier Field with questions about their offense. The Bears defense showed why it is one of the most feared in the league. They sacked Aaron Rodgers five times in total, including two by outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. The Bears offense struggled in the run game only rushing for a total of 46 yards. The Packers dominance was further illustrated with the Bears having to punt the ball five times in the first half. The Bears were also called for 10 penalties in total, including three holding penalties in the first half.
However, the Bears will look to take the positives out of the game. The linkup between Trubisky and wider receiver Allen Robinson was evident. The WR caught seven passes for 102 yards. Despite only rushing for 18 yards from six carries, rookie David Montgomery showed glimpses of his overall ability. The running back out of Iowa State caught a 27-yard pass from Trubisky in the third quarter to show his versatility.
Aaron Rodgers and his new offense
Although the Packers offense was not at its best, head coach Matt Lafleur will be happy with what he saw. Like the Bears run game, the Packers running backs also struggled, with Aaron Jones only rushing for 39 yards from 13 carries. Aaron Rodgers link up with his two wide receivers will give Packers fans optimism for the rest of the season. Rodgers found Davante Adams 4 times for 36 yards, and will be excited to see what Marquez Valdes-Scantling can produce throughout the season. The second-year wide receiver caught 4 passes for 52 yards, including a 47-yard catch from Rodgers. Jimmy Graham also showed fans what he can produce. The former Saints and Seahawks TE caught 3 passes for 30 yards, including the only touchdown of the game.
The Bears travel to Denver to face the Broncos at Sports Authority Field in week two. The Packers face a second divisional rival in two weeks, when they host the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.
This NFC North guest article was written by Jamie Farrin. He’s a New Orleans Saints fan and you can find him on twitter at @jamiefarrin.
Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports