Bears seek scoring spark vs. Packers
For most of the last 30 years, the Green Bay Packers have had two starting quarterbacks — Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
When they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday night at Lambeau Field, there’s a chance that Chicago will unveil Mitchell Trubisky as its starter for the second time this year, replacing an injured and ineffective Nick Foles.
Late in a 19-13 loss to Minnesota on Nov. 16, Foles suffered a hip pointer and left the game for big-armed Tyler Bray. The Bears didn’t have to worry about making a decision last week because they were on a well-timed bye.
But late Wednesday afternoon, it was reported that Trubisky, who has not played since injuring his shoulder during a Nov. 1 overtime loss to New Orleans, would return to the lineup. Coach Matt Nagy’s comments after practice suggested no decision had been made.
“It’s day-to-day right now with Nick,” Nagy said. “So with him not practicing, Mitch got all the reps today, and I thought he did a good job. It was good to see him out there, and he looked good, and the tempo and rhythm was good. But for Nick, that’s going to be strictly a day-to-day thing for him right now. That’s where that’s at.”
Regardless of who has guided the Chicago offense, it has run with all the power of a beat-up Chevette. The Bears are last in rushing (78.2 yards), next-to-last in scoring (19.1 ppg) and 31th in total yards per game at 300.9. The Bears’ 5-5 record is testament to how good their defense was during a 5-1 start.
Chicago has managed 30 points just once this year, hitting the number in a come-from-behind 30-26 win at Atlanta on Sept. 27. During its four-game losing streak, the Bears are scoring just 15.8 ppg.
Even Nagy’s bold move of appointing Bill Lazor as play-caller has failed to create a spark. Chicago’s lone touchdown against Minnesota was the product of Cordarrelle Patterson’s 104-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
The Bears managed only 149 yards and 10 first downs against a Vikings’ defense which hasn’t exactly reminded one of the Purple People Eaters from the 1970s.
“You just keep coming out here every week,” said injured running back David Montgomery, who hopes to return at Green Bay, “and focus on what you can control.”
The same could be said of Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who in the last three weeks has emerged as a reliable No. 2 target for Rodgers by catching nine passes for 257 yards. Valdes-Scantling is taking advantage of defenses’ intense focus on Davante Adams.
But Valdes-Scantling’s overtime fumble last week in Indianapolis set up the Colts on a short field that they converted into Rodrigo Blankenship’s field goal that sealed a 34-31 win. Some Green Bay fans, unhappy with the big mistake, responded by sending death threats via social media.
“Social media gives cowards the right to say whatever they want with no consequences,” he said.
Despite the loss, the Packers are still in great shape in the NFC North. At 7-3, they lead Chicago by two games, and own three-game leads on Detroit and Minnesota. They could conceivably clinch the division title and a playoff spot as soon as Week 13.
This is the first of two matchups between the rivals over the last six weeks. Green Bay has won 15 of the last 18 meetings since 2011.
–Field Level Media