CHICAGO − Move over, Chicago Bears. The Green Bay Packers now have the most wins in NFL history.
In a game that resembled almost nothing else in significance, the league’s oldest rivalry relied on history. The Packers’ 28-19 win against the Bears in Chicago was their 787th win all time, one more than the Bears. It’s the first time since 1921 a franchise other than the Bears has led the NFL in wins.
The victory was sealed with rookie Christian Watson’s 46-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep with 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, playing through injured ribs and a broken throwing thumb, completed the 2-point conversion to tight end Marcedes Lewis, giving the Packers a two-possession lead.
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After the conversion, Rodgers pointed at his sideline, ran to join Lewis’ celebration in the end zone, then stood and saluted at Bears fans in the stands. Yes, the four-time MVP quarterback still owns Chicago.
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So do the Packers, knocking the Bears to No. 2 on the all-time wins list.
Christian Watson touchdown machine
Christian Watson might be a superstar. It’s possible the Packers rookie receiver is just on the streak of his life, but given his size, speed and undeniable production to match, Watson is putting himself in that conversation – even before his game-sealing score. Watson had no catches on three targets when the Packers lined up for a fourth-and-4 from the 14-yard line with 23 seconds left in Sunday’s first half. Rodgers found Watson, who was tightly covered in the end zone by Bears cornerback Elijah Hicks, for a touchdown to pull within 16-10 before reaching halftime. It was Watson’s seventh touchdown in the past four games, a stunning streak considering he had zero touchdown catches in the first nine. He now is tied for fourth in the NFL. Only Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs, Las Vegas’ Davante Adams and Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown have more touchdown catches than Watson. Those are All-Pro caliber receivers. Given that, it’s hard to understand why Watson wasn’t a bigger part of the Packers game plan. He had just six targets Sunday, the same as Allen Lazard and only one more than Aaron Jones. It took until midseason for the Packers to realize they needed to force the football to Jones, their best player. The next step is building more plays in their game plan for Watson, their best receiver.
Jaire Alexander burned twice, picked once
In what has not been Jaire Alexander’s greatest season, the cornerback had perhaps his roughest day. He was burned twice Sunday, allowing a 56-yard catch to Equanimeous St. Brown in the first half and a 49-yard catch to N’Keal Harry in the second. It was stunning seeing a cornerback who signed the richest contract in NFL history at his position this season (four year, $84 million) struggle against pedestrian receivers. Those plays led to a touchdown and a field-goal attempt blocked by Dean Lowry, but Alexander made perhaps the game’s biggest play late in the fourth quarter. With the Bears driving at the Packers’ 43-yard line, Alexander stepped in front of a Fields pass to St. Brown and picked it, his fourth interception this season.
AJ Dillon back on track
After a midseason slump, AJ Dillon appears to be back on track. Dillon had 64 yards on only eight carries last week in Philadelphia, one of them a 20-yard touchdown run. With the Bears defense clamping down on Aaron Jones, Dillon led the Packers with 93 yards on 18 carries in Chicago. That’s how this two-pronged rushing attack was supposed to work this season. If Jones had an off week, which happens to everybody, the Packers were blessed with a top No. 2 running back in Dillon. Before Philadelphia, Dillon was held under 60 rushing yards in six of his previous seven games – the lone exception coming in an overtime win against Dallas, when he had 65. The Packers fed Jones throughout Sunday’s game. He had 26 yards on nine carries and added five catches on five targets for 24 yards. Dillon’s emergence, including a 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, helped keep the Packers run game going.
Justin Fields can’t outrun mistakes
A week after allowing 100 rushing yards to Jalen Hurts in the first quarter, the only thing that appeared to prevent the Packers defense from doing the same for Justin Fields was the Bears quarterback’s injured shoulder. Chicago offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, the former Packers quarterbacks coach, called almost no designed runs for Fields after missing last week’s game with a separated shoulder. On one of the few, Fields took a read-option for a 56-yard touchdown run through the Packers defense in the first quarter. Fields finished with 71 rushing yards on six carries, increasing his season total to 905 (along with eight touchdown runs). Both Hurts and Fields are two of the top running quarterbacks in the NFL, so playing them consecutive weeks isn’t easy. It was downright impossible for this Packers defense, which was expected to be elite when the season started. Ultimately, Fields couldn’t overcome his mistakes. A pair of interceptions, the second to Keisean Nixon with the Bears driving late, swung the game to the Packers.
Story Credit: usatoday.com