Published by Jerz on 9/25/2014
As a fan of the BEARS, for as long as I can remember, there has always been something about playing the Green Bay Packers that charges me up like nothing else. I’m going to share 4 names with you just to let you know how REAL this rivalry is to me. I’ll also discuss the 1st 2014 matchup between these two this Sunday in Soldier Field and why this is a prime opportunity to kick some dirt on their longtime foes while they’re down. The first name I’ll share is Mark Lee. Some may have NO idea who Lee is and others will know that name well. Lee just so happens to be a former Packer cornerback that rode Walter Payton over the bench on the Bears side of the field in old Milwaukee County Stadium (I want to say in ’85). This was one of the dirtiest plays my young eyes had ever seen (until the next guy I mention). I was absolutely LIVID that Lee even made it off the sideline in one piece and that Bears players didn’t tear him apart! With Walter Payton being my favorite NFL player EVER, this event developed a hatred in me for Green Bay that exists to this day! The next name is Charles Martin. This name may ring a bell to Bears fans and it should. Martin was the infamous defensive lineman that had his “hit list” written out on his towel and is responsible for one of the “latest” hits on a player I’ve ever seen. Bears quarterback Jim McMahon (already nursing an injured shoulder, at the time) had just thrown a pass that was intercepted down field. Martin grabbed McMahon (after what seemed like 10 seconds AFTER the ball was thrown) and side slammed him WWE style right on his injured shoulder. These 2 instances alone are why I hate the Packers to this very day. The last 2 names (Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers) only add fuel to a fire that has raged for this team since the late ’80s. Favre, at times, looked like he just toyed with the Bears and enjoyed one of the more dominant runs a quarterback has had against one time in his career. Favre’s predecessor Rodgers has only picked up where he left off and is on an impressive run of his own. Just like all good things come to an end, at some point, so do bad things.
The two things most Packers fans refuse to admit is 1.) This current Packer team is NOT the same team that won it all 4 years ago and 2.) This Bears team is better put together than any prior team they’ve faced during the “Rodgers era”. It’s funny how they accuse Bear fans of “holding on to the past” but do the SAME thing when it’s to their benefit? Funny how that works, isn’t it? Even in last year’s 33-28 end of the season loss to the Packers there were positives to be pulled from that contest. The biggest one, to me, was the play of Jay Cutler. This is the first time (that I can remember) that he didn’t go absolute “blow torch” against this team and played a pretty respectable game. He only attempted 24 passes but completed 15 of them for 226 yards with 2 touchdowns and “only” 1 interception. When you think about his prior struggles against this Packers defensive scheme, this is somewhat of a breakthrough for the beleaguered signal caller. The other (and probably just as important) positive was the game Matt Forte produced in the losing effort. Forte gained 110 yards rushing on 22 carries with a couple of touchdowns and caught 4 passes for 47 yards and another touchdown. The Bears will no doubt need BIG time performances from these 2 to reverse the fortunes of this rivalry. It was the first time I can remember that the offense didn’t sputter repeatedly and waste a valiant effort from the defense in containing a very explosive Packer offense. Ironically, the roles in this loss were reversed.
Now that you have a good understanding of why I can’t stand the Packers (though I must respect the dominance they’ve enjoyed within the division the last 4-5 years) let’s talk about the upcoming contest and what the Bears have a chance to do. The first thing is take advantage of an opponent that comes into the contest (1-2) and can be dealt a 2nd straight loss within the division. Next is the Bears want to get the bad taste of last year’s season ending loss to this very group out of their mouth (not to mention losing their home opener to Buffalo). The defense comes into this matchup playing with a chip on their shoulder, despite injuries at various positions. I see THIS as the “statement” game for Jay Cutler and the “signature” win (not the win against San Fran) that critics are searching for. The bottom line is Cutler has connected on 66% of his passes through the first 3 games with 8 touchdowns to only 2 picks (hasn’t thrown a pick in 2 straight games), averaging 250 yards a game through the air and sports a 98.2 passer rating. Skeptics can ignore the obvious growth in Cutler’s development all they like. In reality he’s been playing with 2 backups along the offensive line and his 2 top targets have been less than 100% since week 1. It is imperative that they get Matt Forte going this week to not only take some pressure off of Jay but to take advantage of an obvious weakness of the Packer defense. I have to tip my hat to the Bears coaching staff for attacking the weakness of their opposition week to week and I don’t expect it to stop here.
I’m excited about this game and even more excited about the Bears chances of pulling out the win. I know the Packers come into the contest “licking their wounds” and somewhat embarrassed with how they performed against Detroit last Sunday on the road. Just like Detroit turned in a stellar performance against a team that previously had their number, I expect the Bears to pull off a similar feat. I don’t care how badly the Packers feel they need this win (and they do) the Bears are just playing better football and have their own chip on their shoulder. I think the Bears will continue their recent “trend” of making it tough for teams to run against them and expect Cutler and Forte to loom huge in a 27-17 Bears victory!