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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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The Packers own the Bears in a game of inches

I’m guessing that every now and then, you Bears fans wonder why your higher power hasn’t visited upon Green Bay what it has visited upon Chicago. The humiliation. The pain and desolation. You wonder why the football desert in which the Bears have lived in for so long hasn’t moved north to where the Packers reside.

What would life feel like with a consistent winning football organization in Chicago? What would life feel like if the Packers fell into 30 years of despair?

The hell if you know.

The Packers beat the Bears 27-10 Sunday night in Green Bay, giving them 47 victories in the past 62 meetings between the two teams. Their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is 24-5 against the Bears. Come now. Really?

Yes, really. And here’s why: It’s a game of inches, and the Packers own the measuring stick, too. On fourth and a sliver at the goal line, with the Bears trailing 24-10 late in the game, the Bears ran quarterback Justin Fields out of the shotgun. Why they did that is almost beyond understanding. They had been hammering the ball down the Packers’ throats the entire drive. Why not line up the QB under center, and let him or rugged David Montgomery plow ahead? Perhaps former head coach Matt Nagy, constantly criticized for his play-calling during his stay in Chicago, interrupted the communication between new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and Fields. The result was the Packers stuffing Fields short of the goal line — even if replay showed he might have crossed it.

“It was the best play we had there at the time,’’ Bears coach Matt Eberflus said.

“We’ll never know if I got in or not,’’ Fields said.

The bigger result was the usual result — another Packers victory over the Bears.

You thought what? That Sunday was going to be different? No, you didn’t.

The Packers’ dominance over the Bears is one of those things that just is, like air. It’s not that you don’t want more out of life. It’s that for many of you this is the only life you’ve known. It’s simple math. One and one equals two. The square root of four is two. And Rodgers owns the Bears. The Packers quarterback roared that sentiment to Bears fans at Soldier Field last season, and no one in Chicago could come up with a response other than the schoolyard retort of, “Do not!’’

So everyone — team, fans and media — went into Sunday’s game looking for a flicker of something, anything that might suggest the beginning of a three-decade fire the other way. These Bears might be in rebuilding mold, but it doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom. And the flicker was there in the first half Sunday, if you did an extremely quick squint. The defense held the Packers to a field goal on a 13-play drive to open the game. The Bears’ offense answered with a 71-yard touchdown drive, led by Fields, who had a 30-yard completion and a 3-yard scoring run.

So, yes, an actual Bears lead over Green Bay.

And then — oh, no — three second-quarter touchdowns by the Pack, a 24-7 halftime lead and a dark reminder of the natural order of things. Green Bay ran all over the Bears’ defense. The Bears’ offense appeared to be first down-averse.

Then that chance in the fourth quarter and another reminder, the usual one: The Packers do indeed own the Bears. The hard running of Montgomery had Green Bay on its heels. The smart thing, the only thing, really, was to let him bash it into the end zone on fourth-and-inches. The Bears could cut the lead to 24-17, and after that, who knows?

But, no. Death by shotgun.

So the Bears figured out a new way to lose to the Packers. Who knew there was such a variety of choices?

Bears-Packers is a lot of things, but a competitive rivalry isn’t one of them.

If you were looking for progress from Fields the passer on Sunday night, you were disappointed. He threw the ball just 11 times and ended up with an interception and a passer rating of 43.8.

Replacing one franchise quarterback, Brett Favre, with another, Rodgers, as the Packers have done, is a matter of shrewdness and acuity. For the Bears, the main culprit is ineptness on the part of ownership. But still … this much losing to one team? It’s either a curse or it’s entirely possible that the McCaskeys are allergic to excellence. The great hope in Chicago is that Fields is the antidote. But that’s all it is now. A hope.

The Bears came into Sunday’s game on a real high after upsetting the 49ers in Week 1. The question in Week 2 was whether they would come down to earth. They hit the metaphorical frozen tundra.

Will things ever change for the Bears? Ask that of your higher power – if it exists. The lack of success against the Packers raises serious theological doubts.

Halas Intrigue Bears Report

Expert analysis and reporting before and after every Bears game, from the journalists who cover the Monsters of the Midway best.

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