It’s been a couple of days and we’ve had a chance to digest what happened in the first game on Sunday Night Football this season. If you missed the game, you missed an instant classic.
The Sunday night game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers offered everything we love about the game. A great performance from a player proving he should have never been traded, a competitive game that went down to the wire and a comeback that you’d have a hard time scripting.
The old saying a “tale of two halves” has never been more appropriate.
The Packers came out flat despite being at home against a divisional rival. Though we knew Khalil Mack was good, did anybody know he was that good?
Mack single-handedly destroyed the Packers in the first half, harassing Rodgers on nearly every play before the star quarterback was knocked out of the game with what appeared to be a serious injury.
Mack then feasted on the backup quarterback, DeShone Kizer, taking the ball right out of his hands for a fumble on one play and then catching a rushed throw and turning it into a pick six moments later.
At the half, the Bears led the game 17-0 and you could literally see the jaws of Packers’ fans having to be picked up off of the ground.
But let’s back track just a bit, back to the injury that knocked Rodgers out of the game. Now, we can debate about how “hurt” he actually was, but it didn’t look good. The cart was brought out and No. 12 had the same dejected look as that was evident on his face last season when he was knocked out by Anthony Barr with a broken collarbone.
The season was going up in smoke and the Bears, complete with a quiet yet confident new head coach, we’re planning a changing of the guard in the NFC North.
But then the second half started and a sideline report from Michele Tafoya indicated that Rodgers was going to try and come back out in the second half. What?!
Rodgers came back into the game after the Bears kicked another field goal and extended their lead to 20-0. He’s back in, but how effective can he be? He’s clearly not the same player, hobbling around and dragging his plant foot on every drop back.
But true competitors are able to find a way and Rodgers is a true competitor. You enjoy sports, right? Well the only way you didn’t enjoy watching this is if you’re a Bears fan or one of those folks who doesn’t like to hear that Rodgers may be just as good as Tom Brady.
This was terrific. As a matter of fact, it was better than that. This was magical.
Rodgers proceeded to gut it out and make precise, timely throws as he led scoring drives on the Packers’ next four possessions. What had happened to the Bears’ defense? Where did Mack go?
It didn’t seem to matter as Rodgers did what only a select few (the really, really good ones) are capable of doing. He threw three second-half touchdown passes and willed his team to the win. The legendary Lambeau Field was full of fans who knew they were witnessing something special.
His long touchdown pass to Geronimo Allison was sheer perfection and the play he made to get the ball to Randall Cobb for what turned into the game-winning touchdown wasn’t too shabby either.
Sports fans know where they were when Dwight Clark made “The Catch” or when the 1980 U.S. hockey team won the gold medal. If that’s before your time, what about when Barry Bonds hit home run No. 756 or when LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals?
Not to say that Rodgers’ accomplishment meant as much, but let’s not diminish what he did. This was an all-time great performance, given the circumstances.
Sports fans want to be able to witness moments that they can some day tell their grandchildren about. There’s a good chance you’ll some day tell your grandchildren about what Rodgers did on Sunday.