Chicago Bears lose more than the game to a lesser Packers team
If the Chicago Bears can't win a home game against the injury-depleted Packers team they faced Sunday at Soldier Field, when will they ever defeat their NFC North rivals?
Losing to the Packers at Soldier Field is nothing new for the Bears. Their rivals to the north have now won seven straight meetings in Chicago.
But in Sunday's 23-16 defeat, the Bears lost to a Packers team that was without perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and by halftime had lost its top two running backs, Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery.
It didn't matter, as the Packers improved to 5-4 with their first win in more than a month. The Bears sank to 3-6, virtually assuring a seventh straight season without a playoff game.
Even worse, the Bears were well rested, coming off a bye week, while the Packers were going on short rest, having played six days earlier on Monday night.
The Bears are 12-29 under head coach John Fox, who was asked if he was worried about his job security after such a disheartening loss.
"I've been doing this too long," Fox said. "I've never worried about my job security, and I won't start going forward."
But that's a legitimate concern after Green Bay's inexperienced backup quarterback Brett Hundley shredded a formerly stout Bears defense that had allowed just 1 touchdown in the previous 13 quarters.
"You're looking for him, you're trying to get him, and you're doing your best to impose your will on the offense," said Akiem Hicks, who led Bears linemen with 6 solo tackles. "We came up short in some of those areas today."
Most areas, actually. The 160 rushing yards the Bears allowed were the most they've permitted all season.
The Packers' third-string rookie running back, Jamaal Williams, ran well enough to allow the Packers to control the ball and the clock for all but eight minutes, 55 seconds of the second half.
Williams came into the game with 34 career rushing yards. But he added 67 more on 20 carries against a Bears defense that knew the Packers would run to protect their lead but still couldn't stop Williams.
Asked if the rookie impressed him, Hicks said: "There wasn't one person in a Packers uniform that impressed me, I'll say that. That's not going to happen."
Since Hundley took over for Aaron Rodgers early in the Packers' sixth game, they had lost three straight as the 2015 fifth-round pick compiled a 58.0 passer rating throwing 4 interceptions and 1 touchdown while completing 58.3 percent of his passes.
But against the Bears, Hundley had a 110.8 passer rating and completed 18 of his 25 passes (72 percent) for 212 yards with 1 TD and no interceptions.
The short-handed Packers picked up 342 total yards. It was only the second time the Bears have allowed more than 300 yards in the past seven games but the second time in a row.
The mostly toothless Bears offense finally got a slumbering crowd involved when rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky found Josh Bellamy for a 46-yard touchdown that drew the Bears within 16-13 with 10:39 left in the game.
But the Packers quickly answered with Hundley's 19-yard TD pass to Davante Adams to restore the 10-point edge, 23-13. Connor Barth's 49-yard field goal with 3:19 remaining capped the scoring.
The Bears got one final shot from their 25-yard line with 1:03 left and no timeouts after Green Bay's Mason Crosby was wide right on a 35-yard field-goal attempt. But after 1 first down, the Bears turned the ball over on downs.
That made a second-quarter replay reversal that gave Green Bay the ball on a touchback rather than the Bears a first-and-goal at the Packers' 2-yard line critical.
Benny Cunningham tried to reach the pylon with the ball held precariously but originally was ruled out of bounds at the 2.
The Bears challenged that Cunningham had reached the pylon before going out of bounds, which would have been a TD. But review determined that Cunningham did not go out of bounds and did not have possession of the ball when it hit the pylon, making it a touchback and giving the Packers the ball.