(AP) — To open its celebration of its 100th season, the NFL got a throwback to, well, the 1920s.
You know, one of those knock-down, dragged-out defensive confrontations that ends up 10-3.
That’s the score the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears by on Thursday night. And while it was ugly on offense, likely in great part due to the lack of action so many regulars on that side of the ball got in the preseason, it was a thing of beauty for the defenders in green, gold and white. On this night, the Packers were the Monsters of the Midway.
“I think we woke a lot of people up,” defensive end Montravius Adams said. “A lot of people didn’t believe in us. They had us ranked low, but we don’t care about that outside noise.”
There was plenty of noise heading into Soldier Field about Chicago’s D, which was dominant in 2018 as the Bears won the NFC North. And it played quite well against Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, sacking Rodgers five times and yielding only 213 yards.
But the Packers were stingier.
“Yeah, it was fun to watch,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a performance like that. Obviously, a lot of credit to Mike Pettine and his staff, but to those players, just incredible.
“We didn’t do them a whole lot of favors with our performance on offense. I mean every time we needed something, a stop, they came up with some really big plays.”
Including five sacks of their own on a clearly befuddled Mitchell Trubisky. Plus the only turnover of the game, a fourth-quarter pick in the end zone by former Bears safety Adrian Amos.
“It’s just sweet. It really is,” Rodgers added. “I hold myself to a high standard and I didn’t play great tonight, but to watch a defense like that, man, that gives you a lot of confidence about where this team can go.”
Green Bay went into the end zone on an 8-yard jump ball reception by tight end Jimmy Graham — a former college basketball player who boxed out to perfection on the play. That was the difference, thanks to the stingy Packers D.
“Before we started, we came together as a team, I told everybody, ‘Let’s shock the world on three,’” said linebacker Za’Darius Smith, a free agency addition. “And I felt like we did that tonight.”
The game also was marked by sloppy offense and penalties. But the Packers made the fewest mistakes and now lead the league’s longest series 98-95-6. Green Bay has won 16 of the last 19 regular-season meetings, and Rodgers is 17-5.