Aaron Rodgers celebrates his rushing touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears.

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Packers look to light up Washington’s NFL-worst defense

After scoring the clinching touchdown in a Week 6 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasted little time telling the arch-rivals’ fans that he owns their team.

What went overshadowed by that epic trolling was that Green Bay won its fifth straight game despite dealing with a steady string of injuries, maintaining a two-game lead in the NFC North over Chicago and Minnesota.

The Packers aim to make it six straight on Sunday when they welcome another injury-riddled outfit, the struggling Washington Football Team, to Lambeau Field.

Green Bay’s defense, which was poor the first three weeks, has made some real improvements in the last three games. It has allowed less than 18 points per game in that stretch, including a season low last week.

Granted, the Bears’ offense isn’t reminding anyone of Air Coryell, but that’s still a good sign for a Packers’ team that with Rodgers still near his peak, doesn’t need the defense to imitate the Steel Curtain.

“Holding a team to 14 points in the NFL, that’s hard to do, especially away,” said running back Aaron Jones. “They have the next-man-up mentality and they’re flying around. They have leaders over there.”

And Green Bay’s defense is getting reinforcements. The club added veteran pass-rusher Whitney Mercilus on Wednesday after he was released by the rebuilding Houston Texans. The 10-year pro has notched 57 career sacks, including three this season, and should help the Packers mount more consistent pressure on quarterbacks.

There’s not much Green Bay fans should worry about offensively. Since a 38-3 loss to New Orleans in Week 1, the Packers have averaged 28.2 ppg as the familiar trio of Rodgers, Jones and Davante Adams has played to form.

Meanwhile, Washington (2-4) finds itself at a crossroads. Its 31-13 loss last week to Kansas City dropped it three games behind Dallas in the NFC East. What’s more, its highly touted defense has been terrible and its offense has been hampered by injuries and inconsistency.

No defense is allowing more points than Washington’s 31.0 points per game or faring worse on third down — opponents are converting 57.8 percent — or allowing more passing touchdowns (16). In addition, Washington is the only team in the league that’s permitted opponents to score on more than half of their possessions.

Coach Ron Rivera hinted at changes and also said the team needs to be more disciplined. For now, the only move was cutting veteran kicker Dustin Hopkins on Wednesday and signing Chris Blewitt, who hasn’t kicked in a meaningful game since his senior year at Pittsburgh in 2016.

“What I’ll do is continue to evaluate and see how things go,” Rivera said. “We have good players and we have guys that have the ability.”

Offensively, Washington has shown flashes of explosiveness with Taylor Heinecke at quarterback in place of the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Heinecke and the offense laid an egg against the Chiefs with a season-low point total and just 276 total yards.

“I feel like I’ve just been trying to be perfect and trying to make the perfect read every play,” Heinecke said. “It doesn’t really allow me to be who I am or allowed me to be my best.”

Worse yet, Washington didn’t have running back Antonio Gibson (shin) or top receiver Terry McLaurin (hamstring) at Wednesday’s practice. The absence of either one might limit its offense even further.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles with the ball as Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (59) defends during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Packers, pass rusher Whitney Mercilus agree to deal

Pass rusher Whitney Mercilus agreed to a deal with the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday, according to reports.

Mercilus was released Tuesday by the Houston Texans. Mercilus has 57 sacks in 134 career games (102 starts) since being selected by the Texans with the 26th overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The NFC North-leading Packers have 14 sacks in six games and have made other attempts to address their pass rush.

Mercilus, 31, said upon his release he wanted to latch on with a team likely to play in the postseason.

“As far as it goes, (I’d like) to be with a team that has a chance to make it to the playoffs, to make it to the Super Bowl,” he said. “To be with a contender honestly is the direction that I want to go.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Chicago, IL, USA;  Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert (24) scores a touchdown during the first quarter of their game against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Mike De Sisti-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers again leads Packers by Bears

Aaron Rodgers passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, Aaron Jones had 110 yards of total offense and the defense allowed its fewest points this season as the visiting Green Bay Packers downed the Chicago Bears 24-14 on Sunday afternoon.

The Packers (5-1) stretched their winning streak to five games, overcoming three Bears sacks to outgain Chicago 323-277.

Rodgers improved to 21-5 against the NFC North-rival Bears in his career behind an efficient performance. He was 17-for-23 through the air for 195 yards while rushing for 19 yards. Rodgers ran 6 yards for his third total touchdown with 4:30 remaining, as Green Bay quickly answered a Chicago touchdown that snapped a run of 17 consecutive Packers points.

Moments earlier, the Bears drew to within 17-14 on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Justin Fields to Darnell Mooney, Chicago’s first points since with 6:45 left in the first quarter.

Chicago (3-3) visited the end zone on its opening drive, capitalizing on a Green Bay punt with an eight-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard scoring run from Khalil Herbert, the first touchdown of the rookie’s career.

A 26-yard defensive pass interference penalty against the Packers helped bring the Bears to the 1-yard line, and was preceded by a 20-yard pass from Fields to Allen Robinson on third-and-three.

Green Bay navigated a solid Bears pass rush without center Josh Myers for the majority of the afternoon. Myers, who returned the lineup Sunday following a hand injury, suffered a leg injury on the opening drive and did not return.

The Packers took a 10-7 lead into halftime, then went up 17-7 on their first possession of the third quarter on a 12-yard scoring pass from Rogers to Jones. Jones rushed for 76 yards on 13 carries and had four receptions for 34 yards.

Davante Adams had four receptions for 89 yards for Green Bay.

Fields was 16-for-27 passing for 174 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while adding 43 yards on the ground. Herbert rushed for 97 yards on 19 carries.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Bears-Packers rivalry renewed with fresh QB confrontation

Justin Fields versus Aaron Rodgers will be a go on Sunday when the Chicago Bears host the longtime rival Green Bay Packers.

Bears coach Matt Nagy said Fields will be under center for Chicago after the rookie hyperextended his left knee during a Week 5 road victory against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Fields returned to the game after being examined to guide Chicago (3-2) to a win. The Bears are aiming to take control of the NFC North from the Packers (4-1).

Fields knows the tales of Rodgers’ dominance of the Bears and is excited for his opportunity to shift the narrative.

“I’m excited,” Fields said. “Of course Aaron Rodgers is a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s a great quarterback. He’s been playing since as long as I can remember. I know it’s gonna be a good matchup between him and our defense. Our defense has been playing well. I’m excited to see him play.”

While the Bears long have staked their team identity behind defense, Rodgers often has looked the other way.

The three-time NFL MVP is 20-5 against Chicago in his career with 55 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 107.2 passer rating.

Rodgers was 27-for-39 for 344 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in last week’s 25-22 overtime victory at Cincinnati. He vaulted into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time touchdown passes list while continuing his connection with Davante Adams, who had 11 receptions for a career-best 206 yards.

Will Adams carry any extra motivation into the Chicago game?

“I hate everybody I play against,” he said. “So like I said last week, when I go out there, I try to murder you. They’ll get the same treatment this week.”

For Green Bay and Rodgers, another cast change for Chicago is not a surprise.

Fields is set to become the 20th different Bears quarterback to start against the Packers since 1992.

Green Bay boasts a 44-15 edge against Chicago since 1992 while starting just three quarterbacks in that time — Brett Favre, Brett Hundley and Rodgers.

The Bears have won two straight following an abysmal offensive output in a Week 3 loss at Cleveland.

At Las Vegas, running backs Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams, filling in for the injured David Montgomery, combined to rush for 139 yards, while Cairo Santos connected on two 46-yard field goals in the fourth quarter.

Couple that with a steady D and increasing confidence from Fields, and the Bears feel optimistic about their season trajectory.

“We’re paying complementary football right now,” Bears safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. said. “Offense is doing what they need to do. Defense is playing phenomenal right now. Special teams is coming up big for us right now.”

Green Bay welcomed offensive linemen Elgton Jenkins (ankle) and Josh Myers (finger) back to practice this week.

“We’re going to need them,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “This (Chicago) is a really sound and physically gifted defense. It’s going to be a physical game.”

LaFleur added the Bears are “the best defense we’ll have played” in 2021, lauding the combination of the team’s scheme and personnel.

Green Bay posted 19- and 16-point wins over the Bears last season. The Packers have a 19-4 advantage over Chicago since 2010.

The Packers are 101-95-6 against the Bears — the biggest edge they’ve held against their rival all-time.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass as Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (65) pressures him in the first half of the NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Green Bay Packers At Cincinnati Bengals 40

Mason Crosby atones for misses as Packers edge Bengals in OT

Mason Crosby kicked a 49-yard field goal with 1:55 left in overtime to give the Green Bay Packers a 25-22 overtime win over the host Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Crosby atoned for missing three field goals in the final 2:12 of regulation and overtime, including a 51-yarder at the end of regulation and a 40-yarder that would have won the game with 8:08 left in overtime.

After that miss, Cincinnati drove the field and had a chance to win the game, but Evan McPherson missed a 49-yard field goal with 4:14 left in overtime.

Green Bay then drove the ball to the Bengals’ 31-yard line to set up Crosby’s game-winner.

Aaron Rodgers went 27-of-39 passing for 344 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Packers (4-1), while Joe Burrow went 26-of-38 passing for 281 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in defeat for the Bengals (3-2).

Davante Adams had a career-best 206 receiving yards while catching 11 passes and scoring one touchdown for Green Bay.

The Packers took a 16-7 with 1:07 left before halftime on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Adams.

But Cincinnati struck with a big play before intermission, cutting Green Bay’s lead to 16-14 with 36 seconds remaining on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase (six catches, career-best 159 yards).

With 5:45 left in the third quarter, Crosby hit a 44-yard field goal to make it 19-14 in favor of Green Bay.

Crosby then hit another field goal, this time from 22 yards out with 11:20 remaining to put the Packers ahead 22-14.

The Bengals answered, tying the game with 3:27 remaining on an 8-yard touchdown run by Joe Mixon and a 2-point conversion pass from Burrow to Tee Higgins.

Green Bay then drove down the field, but with 2:12 remaining, Crosby hooked a 36-yard field goal wide left and the game stayed tied.

With 26 seconds remaining, the Bengals tried to win the game with a long field goal, but a 57-yard attempt by McPherson hit the right upright and fell no good.

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) celebrates after breaking up a pass during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Packers place CB Jaire Alexander (shoulder) on IR

The Green Bay Packers placed top cornerback Jaire Alexander on injured reserve Saturday with an ailing shoulder.

The move comes one day after coach Matt LaFleur said the Packers are hopeful that Alexander’s AC joint injury will heal on its own over the next few weeks. Alexander is required to sit out the next three games as a result of being placed on injured reserve.

Alexander, 24, suffered the injury during the third quarter of Green Bay’s 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.

A first-round pick in 2018 and a Pro Bowl selection last season, Alexander has 188 tackles and five interceptions in 48 career games (46 starts). He has 13 tackles and one pick this season.

Cornerback Kevin King (concussion) had been removed from the injury report and is set to start in Alexander’s place when the Packers (3-1) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) on Sunday. King has missed the past two games.

Also on Saturday, the Packers activated defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster from the reserve/COVID-19 list and elevated guard Ben Braden and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown from the practice squad to the active roster.

Lancaster, 26, has recorded five tackles in three games this season. He has 84 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 46 career games (18 starts) with Green Bay.

Braden, 27, has played in seven career games with the New York Jets and Packers.

St. Brown, 25, has one catch for zero yards in two games this season. He has 29 receptions for 445 yards and one touchdown in 26 career games with the Packers.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) is driven from the field after being injured during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Packers CB Jaire Alexander avoids shoulder surgery for now

Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander will avoid shoulder surgery for now but will not be available Sunday at Cincinnati.

Head coach Matt LaFleur said Friday the team is hopeful that Alexander’s AC joint injury will heal on its own over the next few weeks.

“I think we’ve got better clarity with that,” LaFleur said. “Certainly it’s just one of those things we’re going to let heal and see where it’s at down the line before making that determination, but we’re hopeful that it will heal the right way and he’ll be back with us in a matter of weeks.”

Alexander, 24, suffered the injury during the third quarter of Green Bay’s 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.

A first-round pick in 2018 and a Pro Bowl selection last season, Alexander has 188 tackles and five interceptions in 48 career games (46 starts). He has 13 tackles and one pick this season.

Cornerback Kevin King (concussion) has been removed from the injury report and is set to start in Alexander’s place when the Packers (3-1) visit the Bengals (3-1). King has missed the past two games.

Three offensive linemen were listed on Friday’s report. Center Josh Myers (finger) has been ruled out for Sunday, while tackles Elgton Jenkins (ankle) and Dennis Kelly (illness) are both questionable.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah (87) after his team defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Uzomah: Bengals will put ‘league on notice’ with win vs. Packers

The Cincinnati Bengals are off to a fast start, however their three wins this season have come at the expense of struggling clubs.

Tight end C.J. Uzomah said the Bengals (3-1) can make a statement on Sunday when they host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (3-1).

“It’s the message that we’re here,” Uzomah said on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Friday. “This is another huge opportunity for us. … They’re coming to the jungle. They’re coming to our house, and we expect a big crowd to kind of rattle (Rodgers) a little bit as much as we can rattle him. Everything helps in our favor playing at home.

“We get this win, and we put the league on notice that we’re here. This isn’t a 3-1 that just happens to be 3-1. At this point, it’s a 4-1 that just beat the Packers, who are on a hot streak, who are on a run and have one of the hottest quarterbacks to play the game. That’s what we’re after, that’s our goal, and that’s our mentality.”

Cincinnati split its first two games before posting a 24-10 win in Pittsburgh on Sept. 26 and a 24-21 victory over Jacksonville four days later. Uzomah reeled in two touchdown receptions in the win over the Jaguars.

The Bengals are bidding for their first 4-1 record since the 2018 season. The promise of a strong season quickly faded that year as they lost nine of their remaining 11 games.

Cincinnati went 4-11-1 last season.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers linebacker Chauncey Rivers (47) leaps over New York Jets quarterback Mike White (5) after White was tackled by Green Bay Packers' Jack Heflin (90)  in the second half during their preseason football game on Saturday, August 21, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

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Report: Packers’ Chauncey Rivers (knee) likely headed to IR

The Green Bay Packers are expected to place Chauncey Rivers on injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury in practice Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Rivers, a backup edge rusher, has played 98 snaps and has two tackles in four games this season.

The 24-year-old, who was claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in August, was added to the injury report on Wednesday.

If Rivers is sidelined, he’ll join Pro Bowl linebacker Za’Darius Smith on injured reserve. Smith injured his back in Week 1 and recently underwent surgery to repair the injury.

While the losses leave the Packers thin at linebacker, Green Bay agreed to terms on a one-year deal with former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith on Thursday morning.

–Field Level Media

Jun 3, 2021; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Jaylon Smith (9) goes through drills during voluntary Organized Team Activities at the Star Training Facility in Frisco, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Agent: Packers, LB Jaylon Smith agree to terms

The Green Bay Packers and Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith agreed to terms on a one-year contract Thursday morning.

Smith’s agent confirmed the deal to multiple outlets with the prompt agreement on the heels of his surprise release Wednesday by the Dallas Cowboys.

Smith, 26, signed a five-year, $64 million extension with the Cowboys before the start of the 2019 season that put him under contract in Dallas through 2024.

The Cowboys will still have to pay Smith the $7.2 million he is owed for this season, but will save against the cap in future seasons.

Smith started two of the 3-1 Cowboys’ four games this season and totaled 18 tackles. With Dallas opting for Keanu Neal and rookie Micah Parsons at linebacker in the season opener, Smith’s streak of 50 consecutive starts (including playoff games) ended.

Smith was the Cowboys’ second-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft and quickly worked his way into a starting role. He has 516 tackles, nine sacks, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions in 68 career games (56 starts).

–Field Level Media