The Chicago Bears win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday was so enthralling for so many reasons. It was the first truly meaningful game they’d won over their longtime rivals in over two decades. For the longest time, the Bears could never beat Green Bay when it mattered most. This time, with the division on the line, they got it done.
It wasn’t easy either. This wasn’t one of those games where the Bears just cruised from start to finish. They got out to a big 14-3 lead, only to see it vanish in the space of 11 minutes in the third quarter with Green Bay tying it up 14-14. In previous years this team would’ve fallen apart. Not this time.
The offense scored 10-straight points and the defense held down the stretch to preserve a 24-17 victory. Chicago is division champions for the first time since 2010, which is coincidentally also the last time the Bears beat the Packers at Soldier Field. On a day of great team achievement, there were also some amazing individual ones.
Khalil Mack is the first Bear to surpass 12 sacks in 25 years
It’s hard to put into words how special Mack is as a football player. Everybody knew he was good when the Bears traded for him back in September. Even so, it’s doubtful anybody expected him to be this special. Don’t forget that he arrived with no training camp or preseason preparation. He also missed two games and played two others with an injured ankle.
Keep that in mind when learning that his 2.5 sacks on Sunday put him at 12.5 for the year. That’s the most a Bears pass rusher has achieved since Richard Dent back in 1993. That’s not a typo. It took 25 years for somebody on the Bears defense to surpass that 12-sack mark. A span that included Julius Peppers, remember.
Leonard Floyd became first Bears rusher to sack Rodgers twice in 2 games
Turns out it wasn’t just a landmark moment for Mack. Floyd got in on the action too. The second half of his season has been one of the more remarkable turnarounds in recent memory. He broke his hand during the preseason and had a meager four total pressures on opposing quarterbacks through the first eight games of 2018.
Most people felt he’d become an outright bust. Then things changed. His hand healed and the Bears decided to move him primarily back to his original spot at the left outside linebacker position. He now has four sacks in the past six games. This included his two-sack performance against Green Bay, marking the first time a Bears defender has ever dropped Aaron Rodgers twice in a game more than once.
For those who forget, Floyd also had two back in 2016 during his first game at Lambeau Field which included a strip-sack and touchdown.
Mitch Trubisky is first Bears QB ever to have 4 games of 120+ passer rating
Everybody knows Chicago has not been the go-to franchise when it comes to standout quarterback play. It’s been one of the primary reasons they have just one Super Bowl title in the past 52 years. Going into yesterday, plenty of people were questioning where Trubisky would be an answer to that. Especially after his rough night against the Rams.
How did he respond? With not only one of his best games as a Bear, but also one that broke a team record. Trubisky finished 20-of-28 for 235 yards and two touchdowns. That was good for a 120.4 passer rating. Not only was it the highest rating a Bears QB has had against the Packers in 18 years, but it also was the fourth time this season Trubisky topped the 120 mark.
Roquan Smith is second rookie linebacker ever to have 100 tackles
It’s been mentioned many times already but cannot be overstated. Smith missed all of training camp and the preseason due to his contract holdout. Then he only played eight snaps on opening night in Green Bay. Nobody would’ve been surprised if the #8 overall pick had a somewhat quiet season as he tried catching up to the rest of the defense.
That didn’t seem to sit well with Smith himself. Since entering the starting lineup, his ascent has been steady and accelerating. Not only does he have four sacks on the season, he also reached a landmark accomplishment. In collecting 10 tackles against the Packers, he pushed his season total to 108.
This makes him the second rookie linebacker in Bears history to ever reach the 100-mark, joining the great Brian Urlacher for the honor.
Eddie Jackson ended Aaron Rodgers’ record streak without an interception
There was no bigger play on Sunday than when safety Eddie Jackson picked off Rodgers in the end zone to end the Packers scoring threat that could’ve narrowed the game to uncomfortable levels. The play by itself was gigantic as it cost Green Bay so much time once they eventually got the ball back. However, there was a deeper meaning.
Up to that point, Rodgers had gone a ridiculous 402-straight passes without being intercepted. He’d only been picked off once all year. It was the longest streak in NFL history. For Jackson to put an end to it in such a big moment, with the division on the line and Green Bay battling for their playoff lives? Incredible.