By HCR Staff | September 6, 2019
One of the greatest rivalries in American sports kicked off the 100th NFL season. The Chicago Bears hosted their arch rival, the Green Bay Packers, in a highly anticipated showdown in the NFC North. The spotlight was on Matt Nagy’s offense in year two, and how the new partnership between rookie head coach Matt LaFleur and MVP-caliber quarterback Aaron Rodgers would fair against one of the top defenses in the NFL. The results were underwhelming as the teams perhaps took the centennial celebration too seriously by giving us a flashback of what a Bears/Packers game looked like in 1975.
We were especially disappointed in Matt Nagy’s offense. Last year, the Bears offense showed flashes of brilliant creativity when they executed Nagy’s scripted plays. Our biggest concern for Nagy as a playcaller was what happened after those plays. Tonight, however, the offense looked like it didn’t even have the scripted plays prepared — which is especially egregious given the extra time to game plan.
The offense was continually late breaking the huddle, and this perhaps indicates the plays were slow to come in, and resulted in crucial delay-of-game penalties.
Right now, of the Bears lack identity on offense. We feel they will have to prove they can run the ball effectively enough to help quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who seems to be hitting a ceiling with his talent, or it will be a long season.
The Packers offense, outside of a brief stretch during the second quarter, wasn’t much better. Much has been made this off season about the Packers giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers more control at the line of scrimmage. However, like the Bears, the Packers were pretty slow getting out of the huddle and their tempo wasn’t very good either.
We questioned some of Matt LaFleur’s decisions as they could have easily given momentum away. He squandered numerous opportunities to seize control of the game by going up 10 or more points. He could have cost his team a crucial time out in a chance to steal a divisional road game when he challenged a potential pass interference call in the fourth quarter. The challenge alleging pass interference on the play by Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel did not look egregious enough to warrant risking a timeout.
We also didn’t like LaFleur deciding to throw the ball on 2nd and 5 when the Packers were in position to force the Bears to use all of their timeouts. Of course, quarterback Aaron Rodgers could have changed the play at the line of scrimmage. But in the end, LaFleur has given Rodgers that prerogative.
On the other hand, the defensive performances by both teams were strong. We particularly liked the work of Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. He incorporated six new starters and the secondary showed great promise. Communication looked terrific and the Bears offensive line looked physically outmatched at times, which was surprising, but a credit to Pettine’s preparation and game plan.
For that, Mike Pettine is the co-MVP of the game along with Packers DB Jaire Alexander.