The pass-happy Chicago Bears still can’t hang with the Green Bay Packers.
Dispatched a year ago in the NFC Championship game by the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Bears looked even worse on Sunday — again at home — in a 27-17 loss.
A week after getting heavily criticized for running the ball only 11 times vs. 52 pass attempts, Jay Cutler and the Bears again launched with impunity, attempting 37 passes to just 12 rushes (for a measly 13 yards).
That wasn’t going to get it done against Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley and the Pack.
Rodgers, who many consider the best of the NFL’s current ridiculous lot of uber-talented quarterbacks — hit Finley for three touchdowns and threw for 297 yards.
Defence had been a concern for Green Bay coming in because the team had surrendered 57 points over its first two games and big-time yardage in the air — though both were wins, nonetheless — but the Pack had no problem with the Bears.
Chicago’s offensive line has been a disaster so far though the three sacks of Cutler allowed against Green Bay were an improvement over the league-worst 11 conceded over the previous two contests.
The running game — the worst in the league at this point —was non-existent again and though Cutler didn’t leave this game with an injury the way he did in the playoffs, it remains clear that the Bears simply aren’t in Rodgers’ or the Packers’ league.
By the time Finley had caught his second touchdown pass to up the margin to 14-0, Green Bay had 11 first downs to Chicago’s one.
Though the Bears closed within seven at the half, the game never appeared close.
The Bears, 1-2, have had a brutal schedule to start the season — the past two Super Bowl winners and the strong Atlanta Falcons — but that doesn’t excuse the team’s poor play so far.
The best that can be said about the Bears at this point is the defence remains a major plus. Holding Rodgers under 300 yards in the air and the Ryan Grant/James Starks combo to 100 yards on just 3.4 yards per carry is an achievement.
But it’s not going to matter if Cutler continues to get pressured with little support from his running backs. Cutler did throw for 302 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a pair of interceptions and completed just 21-of-32 passes.
That Cutler also led his team in rushing (11 yards vs. Matt Forte’s 2!) says a lot about the state of Mike Martz’s offence.
Instead of building off a big win over Atlanta, Chicago has dropped a pair in humbling fashion.
The only saving grace for the team is the fact the Carolina Panthers are up next, though that team has Cam Newton and looks significantly improved from the group that was the worst in the NFL in 2010.
Meanwhile, life for the Packers is grand. A big win in a tough place to play.
A better — though still not tremendous — defensive effort and another Rodgers clinic against a very solid defence, proved once again that the champs remain a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Braylon Edwards was unable to play for San Francisco, but his Cincinnati counterpart, Jerome Simpson, did play, even though he is facing criminal charges for marijuana possession … Tom Brady’s 1,326 passing yards are the most through three games in NFL history, surpassing the 1,221 Kurt Warner put up in 2000 and the 1,166 by fellow Patriot Drew Bledsoe in 1994 … Dolphins guard Vernon Carey hurt his shoulder in the first quarter against Cleveland and did not return … Torrey Smith was only in position to catch three touchdown passes for Baltimore because Lee Evans was out with an injury … LaDanian Tomlinson became the third player in NFL history with 160 career touchdowns, joining Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith … New York’s Antonio Cromartie left the loss to Oakland with a rib injury. He had a day to forget, committing four penalties, along with a fumble ... Rodgers has thrown 61 touchdowns over his career while in the red zone vs. only two interceptions.