In this topsy-turvy NFL season where nothing has gone as expected, it’s nice to know you can count on something: the Green Bay Packers beating the Chicago Bears.
Sure, big picture, the Packers should probably throw in the towel, accumulate losses, and creep up the draft board. They should also throw Jordan Love out there to either hasten his development as Aaron Rodgers’ successor and/or showcase him for any interested teams this offseason.
But you throw all that out when it’s Bears week. In a season as disappointing as any in recent memory, on this December Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field, the Packers gave us one big reason to smile. They won their eighth straight game over the hated Bears, and for the first time ever, passed them to claim the top spot as the NFL’s winningest team, with win No. 787.
It wasn’t particularly pretty. There were plenty of ‘turn your head away’ moments, like Jaire Alexander getting torched not once but twice against average (at best) receivers. (However, I take issue with him referring to former teammate Equanimeous St. Brown as a scrub. Not a classy move.) There was Justin Fields’ 55-yard touchdown run and the run defense overall, which continues to put up little resistance and allowed more than six yards per carry.
But let’s look at the positive developments. AJ Dillon was forced into a bigger workload, with Aaron Jones banged up, and he finally looked like the battering ram we expected to see all season. Zach Tom stepped in for David Bakhtiari and looked every bit the part of a starting left tackle. And then there’s Christian Watson.
What the rookie has done these past four weeks has now entered historic territory. His eight touchdowns over the past four weeks tie a rookie record held by Randy Moss and old-timer Bill Groman. Think about how far this kid has come since that drop on the first play of the season. The light bulb has gone on — the only two receivers in the league with more touchdowns are Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs. Think about that. Where are all those fans who were screaming that the Pack didn’t grab a WR in the first round? His combination of speed and size is rare and something this roster has sorely lacked for years.
There’s not a lot to look forward to over the last quarter of a lost season. However, Watson’s continued rise and finally seeing him on the field with Romeo Doubs will be fun to watch as we begin to envision what the ’23 Packers might look like.
For now, we finally get the Packers’ bye week — December bye weeks are ridiculous, by the way. It will give the team a chance to rest and heal, allow enough time for Joe Barry to put his home on the market, and give us all some time to do our Holiday shopping.
Another sweep of the Bears is always a favorite stocking stuffer.