Lincicome: Did the Bears see the last of Rodgers in Green Bay? It probably doesn't matter
Well, that's that. No more Aaron Rodgers to nettle the Bears, or so the gossip goes. Rodgers may leave Green Bay after the season, possibly with another one of those championship belts he likes to mime, off to who knows where. Somewhere that owns him.
Rodgers' departure from Green Bay has been assumed since he allowed the Packers to have another season of his company. Happiness is getting your own way, and kicking the Bears around twice a year must be getting tiresome.
As this season surrenders to crumbs for the Bears, what happens to old Nemesis No. 1 up north is of little concern, except, of course, unless Rodgers should want to join the Bears on his selfish search for meaning and money.
Then, yes, by all means, Chicago could put up with the opera -- grand or soap -- the scruffy diva would bring. In fact, Chicago would provide the music and the lyrics.
If not, then his staying or going with Green Bay will matter not much at all to the Bears who were losing to the Packers before Rodgers and will continue to lose to the Packers after him.
And if Sunday was the last of Rodgers, the Bears do have a shard of happy memory to keep. For one quarter of football the Bears were every bit as good as the Packers, matching touchdown for touchdown, taking a halftime lead that left besieged coach Matt Nagy giddy.
Bears fans laughed and clapped also, most likely, because they have so seldom seen the Bears match the Packers at anything since Mike Ditka -- as player and then coach -- took the games very personally, something later Bears coaches and players seem less inclined to do.
So, one fragment of superior football in dozens of years may not seem worth mentioning, but whether rival, obstacle or speed bump, the Packers will always be in the way.
"You see in those first two quarters what we can be," said Nagy. "No consolation. We didn't win. We lost. Wish it had come out different."
Wishing is not for coaches to do. Not even for fans. Fans demand more before coaches do. At least this crop of current Bears coaches. Forgiving comes before demanding, tolerance before reproof, excuses before answers.
Nagy lists over and over how hard these Bears work, how much they care, how losing is painful, how failing is frustrating, until it all runs together like sludge down the sewer. If the world stops listening, the players must have stopped a long time ago.
What the Bears, any football team, needs is less understanding and more demanding. Do the Bears care if Nagy is disappointed in them? No. Because he is not.
"I pour my heart and soul for these guys," Nagy said. When Nagy leaves the Bears it will be because his nose was too soft or his head was too hard.
Listen, nobody giggles at halftime with a six-point lead.
"We keep fighting. That's our culture," said quarterback Justin Fields.
Yes, Fields. What about the young dynasty seed? When does he run out of apologists?
"Coming off two weeks off, against that defense, he (Fields) did pretty good," said Nagy.
Two touchdowns. That's minimum. Rodgers had four. Two interceptions. That's routine. A quarterback rating of 70.8. That's the kind of number that got Mitchell Trubisky run out of town.
"You keep learning from mistakes," said Fields, "and you make sure they don't happen again."
But they do. They do.
Fields said earlier in the week that he likes to be doubted, that he likes to be the underdog. Well, he's getting his wish.
"I'm not trying to prove anything," he said. "I'm just trying to win. I don't know what I have to prove to anybody."
Fields has to prove that he is an NFL quarterback. He has to prove that he can win. He has to prove that he cares about what he has to prove.
Because of his rookie immunity, Fields is certain to be around longer than his coach is, longer than Rodgers will be. Bad quarterbacks seem to hang on and on. And most of them, one time or other, play for the Bears.