On Sunday night the Chicago Bears had a seemingly tough choice. Leading 20-17 with 2:39 remaining, the Bears faced a 4th and 2 at the 14 yard line of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers were out of timeouts, meaning a conversion would allow the Bears to run out the clock and secure a victory. A field goal would extend the lead to 23-17 and force the Packers to score a touchdown to win the game. Tough choice? Not really.
Any decision that guarantees Aaron Rogers getting the ball with a chance to lead a game-winning drive is unwise. Kicking the field goal guaranteed that chance and we all saw what happened next. What also makes the decision to kick the field goal so perplexing is Rodgers’ history against the Bears. There is no professional athlete who torments a team as much as Aaron Rodgers torments the Bears.
Let’s take a look back at some of Rodgers’ greatest hits against the Bears and ponder the question “would you want to give this guy a chance to win the game?”
5) Sunday Night Football has been kind to Rodgers and the Packers when they play Chicago. Their first SNF matchup occurred on September 14, 2009; a game that also doubled as Jay Cutler’s debut for Chicago. Trailing 15-13 with 1:18 left in the game, Rodgers hit Jennings on a 49-yard bomb to seal the victory. This was a sign of things to come.
4) Rodgers does not always snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the Bears. While last-minute victories are thrilling, there is nothing wrong with a wire-to-wire shellacking. This was the outcome when the Packers hosted their Windy City rivals on a November 9th, 2014 SNF clash. Among other things, this game is notable because Rodgers threw 6 first half touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, the Packers won by a large margin (55-14). It was as thorough as a dismantling as you will ever see.
3) The most important game of the rivalry occurred on January 23, 2011 when a trip to Super Bowl XLV was stake. Aaron Rodgers actually did not play all that well in this game, going 17/30 for 244 yards and 2 interceptions. Even so, this game featured my favorite drive in Packers history. The Packers received the opening kickoff and went on a 7-play, 84 yard drive that resulted in a Rodgers touchdown run, silencing the Soldier Field crowd. The drive was a perfect dissection that propelled the Packers to a 14-0 lead they would never relinquish.
2) Fun fact: Sunday night’s 17-point comeback was the largest 4th quarter comeback in Packers history. However, it was not the only 17-point 4th quarter comeback in the recent history of this rivalry. On December 18, 2016 the Bears clawed back from a 27-10 deficit to tie the game with 1:19 remaining. The Bears were eliminated from playoff contention at this point in the season, but they had a prime opportunity to spoil the Packers’ season. It looked like this would happen until Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on a 60-yard flick of the wrist to set up Mason Crosby’s 32-yard game winning field goal as time expired. In a career filled with amazing throws, this was one of Rodgers’ best.
1)The Bears had a chance to avenge the 2010 NFC Title game in the 2013 season finale, a high-stakes winner-take-all affair. After missing half of the season with a broken collarbone suffered against the Bears, Rodgers made his triumphant return in this game. As we’ve seen so many times before, the Bears had the Packers on the brink of defeat. All they needed to do was stop a 4th and 8 conversion with 46 seconds remaining. Instead, Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for a 48-yard touchdown to once again drive a dagger through the Bears.
This list is both remarkable and incomplete. Odds are we will never again experience a phenomenon like Aaron Rodgers versus the Chicago Bears. Then again, we also though the same thing after Brett Favre retired.