Rodgers, Packers air it out against Bears

With a chance to bury the Packers 2 games back in the NFC North, the Bears instead handed their most bitter rival a helping hand out of the cellar.

In just the second game in NFL history without a punt, Green Bay won for the fifth straight time at Soldier Field, turning what was a competitive shootout at halftime into a 38-17 rout.

Both teams are 2-2 and trail the 3-1 Detroit Lions by 1 game. The Bears are 0-2 at home and 2-0 on the road heading into Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.

The Packers needed just 47 offensive plays to manufacture 38 points against a Bears defense that offered only token resistance. The only possession on which the porous Bears defense prevented the Packers from scoring was when defensive end Willie Young blocked a field goal with 4:47 left in the game.

Every other Packers possession resulted in points. Green Bay's first 6 possessions went touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown.

“Those guys came down here and beat us in our home,” said Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, who caught 9 passes for 134 yards. “That's not what we want to have. That's not the type of tradition we have with this team and the guys before us.”

Actually, it is. In addition to the Packers' 5 straight wins at Soldier Field, they have won 11 of the last 14 meetings overall.

Not that the Packers needed it, but the Bears' offense provided them short fields on their only two second-half TD drives, which swelled Green Bay's 21-17 halftime lead into a 21-point Bears deficit in 15 minutes, eight seconds.

After Mason Crosby padded the lead with a 53-yard field goal, the next two Bears possessions ended with interceptions. The Packers returned those picks to the Bears' 35- and 11-yard lines. Both resulted in touchdown passes, the second of which capped the scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Cutler's first interception since the season opener was a bullet that bounced off the hands of Packers cornerback Tramon Williams, who jumped Josh Morgan's inside route. The deflection flew about 15 yards in the air and into the hands of Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who went 40 yards with the return.

Cutler's second pick was the result of miscommunication between him and Brandon Marshall.

“Brandon was supposed to run a hook route at 18 yards,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “He turned it into a go route.”

The ball instead went to Packers cornerback Sam Shields, who returned it 62 yards as Marshall slowly walked off the field rather than give pursuit.

The only time Rodgers was sacked was when defensive tackle Ego Ferguson chased him out of bounds at the line of scrimmage. The Packers' offensive line kept their quarterback so clean that his uniform didn't need laundering after the game.

On his 28 other dropbacks, Rodgers completed 22 passes for 302 yards and a passer rating of 151.2, the second highest of his brilliant career. There was nothing surprising about Rodgers' performance considering the embarrassing amount of time he had to scan the field for wide-open receivers.

The lack of a pass rush is even more discouraging considering only two teams had allowed more sacks than the Packers through the first three weeks.

“We didn't get the kind of pass rush we needed today when Aaron was in the pocket,” Trestman said. “He was able to really have the time to get done what he needed to get done. We lost containment (and) he was able to extend plays.

“When he does that, with that kind of athleticism and accuracy, he's a very, very difficult guy to contend with. It was very obvious that they came out and were going to throw the ball and get their passing game going.”

Despite the transparency of the Packers' offensive game plan, the Bears' pass rush wasn't even a nuisance.

The Bears played without defensive end Jared Allen, whose 128½ sacks are the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2004. But that's not much of an excuse considering Allen has zero sacks this season.

“That had nothing to do with it,” said Willie Young, who started in Allen's place and failed to add to his team-high total of 4 sacks. “That's not an excuse. Everybody's held accountable. We're a team.”

According to FOX Sports, Allen has pneumonia and lost 18 pounds last week. Although Trestman didn't confirm that report, he said Allen “was getting better.”

The loss tainted an offensive effort that produced 496 total yards, including 235 on the ground, 122 of those on 23 Matt Forte carries (5.3-yard average). Rookie Ka'Deem Carey added 72 yards on 14 carries ((5.1-yard average).

“We didn't win, so it doesn't make a difference,” offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “It was good for Matt to get yards, good for Ka'Deem to get in there, and he was running hard. But I don't feel good because we lost.”

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  Nick Addison of Palatine, left, uses a cheese grater hat to grate his friend Collin Weyen of Wawatosa, Wisconsin as they tailgate on the Waldron Deck prior to the Bears Packers game Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Steve Lundy/
  Peter Gonzalez of Hanover Park sports a cheese grater hat prior to the Bears Packers game Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Steve Lundy/
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