New year, same ol' refrain: The Bears still suck – this time to the tune of a 35-16 smackdown at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the locked-in top seed of the NFC. Like all Green Bay games this season, it was closer than preferred at points – it seems all but certain that, if the Packers season ends in a loss, it'll likely come at their own hands by failing to concentrate for a whole four quarters – but the Packers were clearly the better team. And now, standing at 13-3, they are the best team in the NFC, with the playoff bye week to prove it. (The Bears, meanwhile, stumbled their way into the final postseason spot and a first-round spat against the Saints.)
Who will the Packers play next? And will the bye week be more of a blessing or a curse for Green Bay? These are questions for another time. For now, let's take one final look back with glee at the latest Bears ineptitude parade.
1. Over before it began
In case the bears didn't feel doomed enough before the game knowing that Aaron Jones' lucky sombrero was making an apperance, Jones topped off his complete Packers look with a Green Bay serape this week. Hard to say, but I think Aaron Jones likes playing in the green and gold. (Jones' contract is up at the end of the season.)
2. A rough start
Death, taxes and the Packers special teams playing like anything but special: The numbers may change, but these facts of life stay the same as Green Bay opened up the game with a strange out-of-bounds kick (how many games do you see open with a challenge?) that gave the Bears a short field. And because giving Chicago ball at the 40 still seemed too difficult for Mitch Trubisky and company, after a defensive stop, Tavon Austin fumbled away the following punt and gave the Bears the ball at the Green Bay 20. Luckily, the Bears only came away with a field goal on the second drive – but as we say every week, the Packers won't be able to risk being this consistently sloppy on this side of the ball against good teams in the playoffs.
3. Can't drop this
Pro tip: Don't put a linebacker on Marquez Valdes-Scantling. He will be able to outrun him, he will get wide open and even he won't drop a pass that wide open. It was the second touchdown strike in a 21-point second quarter onslaught that the Bears, despite occasionally the Packers' best efforts, could never recover from.
Speaking of recoveries, while he still stands as one of the most polarizing players on the team, MVS has put together his best season as a Packer, racking up career highs in yards (690) and touchdowns (six). Maybe, much like Davante Adams in his early years, his dropsy ways are behind him ...
4. Welp, I take that back
Or ... maybe not. Hard to believe, but the above image ends with a Packers punt, not a touchdown, thanks to a dropped bomb. At this point, it has to be a troll, right? Like, he's trolling Packers fans?
MVS still finished with the team lead in yards on the game with 87, but this drop was almost killer, taking a guaranteed touchdown off the board, swinging a momentum changer in the opposite direction and keeping the door open for the Bears in the third quarter. But thankfully Chicago could never capitalize and could only cut down the lead to five.
In the meantime, the ying and yang that is MVS will continue to be a part of the classic sports joke: What do MVS and Billy Graham have in common? They both can make thousands of people stand up and yell, "Jesus Christ!"
5. The best
Fun fact: The above almost-touchdown was Aaron Rodgers' first incompletion of the day, en route to a 240-yard, four-score performance that surgically and precisely earned the Packers the final win and tops spot in the NFC. At this point, there's no argument: Rodgers is your 2020-21 MVP. He leads the league in touchdowns by eight, as well as in completion percentage, while throwing only five interceptions, the least of any other quarterback in the top ten. Plus, he's the undoubted leader of the best team in an entire conference.
Add in the fact the Mahomes sat the final week while Rodgers got one final highlight reel to show off, the fact that Derrick Henry lost to A-A-Ron's team just last week – and poorly – and the fact that Josh Allen plays in overlooked Buffalo and it looks like it's going to be another MV-threepeat at quarterback in Green Bay.
6. Meet Dominique Dafney
.@AaronRodgers12 is 10-for-10 with three passing touchdowns in the first half ð¥ @DDafney24 #GoPackGo
ðº: #GBvsCHI on FOX
ð±: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/fohj8JnptQ pic.twitter.com/LD7EjmHqKC — NFL (@NFL) January 3, 2021
Key players for the Packers on Sunday: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams ... Dominique Dafney? Indeed, the back-up to the back-up tight end/makeshift fullback made quite the impact on Sunday against the Bears – just ask the poor Chicago kick returner who learned the hard way that he does not take plays off, even immediately after his first career touchdown. The man catches touchdowns, makes hard tackles AND creates the rare Packers highlight on special teams? Forget Rodgers; here's your MVP.
7. A not-quite-royal performance
We're not going to complain too much about a beatdown of the Bears ... but allow one more complaint about the beatdown of the Bears: Kevin King's still got work to do.
With star recceiver Allen Robinson blanketed by Jaire Alexander, the Bears' strategy all day was to attack King instead with their rookie receiver Darnell Mooney – and King was not up to the task, giving up 11 catches for almost 100 yards and forgetting how to tackle in multiple clutch instances. And if that wasn't enough, he dropped a between-the-numbers pick in the endzone at the end of the first half that would've kept the Bears off the board and maintained a two-possession lead into the break.
With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, don't be surprised if the Packers look for a new face in his spot next year, either in free agency or the draft. (It's not like they're gonna look for a receiver, after all.)
8. Green and gold and more gold
The stats weren't sexy – 42 yards and a touchdown on the ground, four catches for 43 yards in the air – but Aaron Jones helped ice the game for the Packers with some key late runs and plays, including this nail-in-the-coffin touchdown complete with one final show of Green Bay pride: a Packers necklace. Again, seems like he likes playing here!
9. A beautiful pass
Sure, this pick was. Your. Dagger. But isn't starting Mitch Trubisky basically a dagger from the start?
10. Smooth moves
Behold Kevin King's best play of the evening: sliding effortlessly into the bottom of the frame of the defense's second D-train celebration of the day. That alone makes up for the dropped pick. Also, an underrated part of this clip: Rashan Gary's goofy little march into the shot at the very end.
11. Crown him
So here's something to think about: If Davante Adams played all 16 games, would he be in the MVP conversation? Would he be Rodgers' biggest competition for the title? Sure, he's third in catches and fifth in receiving yards – but again, he missed two whole games. In the meantime, he tied the Packers' franchise record for most touchdowns in a season with 18, which is also tops in the league this season. It's also tied for the third most touchdown catches in a single season, behind Randy Moss in 2007 (23) and Jerry Rice in 1987 (22).
Anyways, that's just something to think about during the Packers' well-earned off-week.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.