The Bears worst enemy has been Aaron Rodgers since the Cal product took over as the Packers starting quarterback in 2008. On Sunday night things won’t get any easier with their backs against the wall.
Jay Cutler is 1-9 in his career against his buddy Rodgers with the lone victory coming back in Week 3 of the 2010 season.
Fast forward four seasons and Cutler and the Bears are still struggling against their biggest rival. The Packers took down the Bears 38-17 in the first meeting this season in Week 4 at Soldier Field.
One positive in that game for the Bears was the job done up front to open up holes for Matt Forte and the ground game. The Bears in total gashed the Packers defense for 235 rushing yards with an average of 5.7 yards per carry.
Forte led the charge with 122 rushing yards as well as 49 receiving yards. With the dominant day on the ground, the Bears ended up winning the time of possession battle by over 13 minutes.
But it wasn’t enough as the Bears failed to score in the second half and Cutler tossed two interceptions giving Green Bay the upper hand down the stretch.
The Packers defense currently ranks last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (153.5). Opposing runners are averaging 4.8 yards per carry and over 32 carries in total per game. However, Forte doesn’t think all those numbers matter in this matchup.
“I don’t normally look at where someone is ranked in the league because it’s still the NFL,” replied Forte regarding the Packers run defense in Wednesday’s conference call with the Wisconsin media. “Their still good guys on their team just because their ranked that low doesn’t mean their defense can’t stop the run or that their not good.”
Backup running back Ka’Deem Carey broke out for 72 yards on 14 carries in the previous matchup against the Packers, while the Bears rushed for a first down 16 times.
Sunday night’s primetime clash with the Packers is a must win for the Bears (3-5), who are sitting in last place in the NFC North one game back of Minnesota. Forte says the Bears need to have the “same mindset here on out.”
“We have to win every game. This is an important game and a divisional game as well,” Forte said on Tuesday. “When it comes to game time not to shoot ourselves in the foot like we did in the first half of the season with penalties, turnovers and missed opportunities or executing the play wrong.”
Forte currently leads the Bears in receptions (58) and the NFL with yards after the catch (485). When asked about what it means to get looks in the passing game, he said “its another to way get out in space.”
The Bears’ defense couldn’t slow down Rodgers earlier this season as he tossed four touchdowns and over 300 passing yards. This time around the Bears’ defense will have two key veterans back on their side in Jared Allen and Jeremiah Ratliff who were out back in Week 4.
Forte said simply that the Bears “haven’t done enough to win in the games that we’ve lost.”
“In the games we’ve lost we’ve either given up a big play at the end of a game or in the red zone not scoring touchdowns and kicking field goals,” he said. “They have a really high-powered offense and you put someone like Aaron Rodgers in a position like that and you basically leave it up to him. We can’t do that. We have to keep him off the field and control the clock.”
Forte summed it up perfectly right there. The Bears tried to outscore the Packers the first time around this season and control the clock with the ground game, but Rodgers still gashed them. In 30 dropbacks Rodgers wasn’t sacked a single time minus the Ego Ferguson push out which was recorded as a sack.
The defense has to play more physical at the line of scrimmage and in the passing game. But this game starts and ends with the Bears’ offense, specifically with Forte.
The Bears have had plenty of time off to study film as to why their offense isn’t succeeding at a high level. Getting Forte involved early and often could solve a lot of issues.
Head coach Marc Trestman surely needs to be more open to changing things up early in games rather than simply sticking to his gameplan which has failed him much too often.
“We should be putting up a lot more points because of the talent we have on this team,” Forte said during Wednesday’s press conference with the Chicago media.
Thoughts on the key matchup? Make sure to comment below.
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