Unable to play the same complementary football that fueled last weekend's win over the Raiders, the Bears lost to the rival Packers 24-14 Sunday at Soldier Field.
A stingy Bears defense allowed only 10 points in the first half, but the offense sputtered following an opening-drive touchdown. And when the offense awakened in the second half to cut the deficit to 17-14 with a second TD, the defense immediately permitted a touchdown that gave the Packers a two-score cushion.
Sunday's setback dropped the Bears to 3-3 and snapped their two-game winning streak. They have now lost five straight to the Packers and 20 of 23 since 2010. And while the contest was much more competitive than Green Bay's 16- and 19-point wins over the Bears last season, that was of no consolation to coach Matt Nagy.
"This hurts," Nagy said. "It stings. It's not fun. Our guys understand that. Whether it's a big loss or a close loss, to us there is a loss."
Longtime Bears nemesis Aaron Rodgers completed 17 of 23 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns and a 128.0 passer rating. He also rushed for a 6-yard TD.
Rodgers has now won 20 of his last 22 starts against the Bears—not counting a 2013 game he exited on Green Bay's first possession with a broken collarbone. In his last 14 contests against the Bears, he has thrown for 36 touchdowns and two interceptions.
"It's pretty frustrating," said tight end Cole Kmet. "He's just really good. He's a really good player. And just the way that they're able to handle themselves on that side of the ball, they showed a lot of discipline out there. They don't really make a lot of mistakes, and if you're going to beat a team like that, you're going to have to be perfect. He's obviously the leader of all that and he's obviously a Hall of Fame player."
Nagy acknowledged that the Bears have a "really small" margin for error against Rodgers.
"He's won a lot of games," Nagy said. "He's done a lot of good things. He dictates how things go at the line of scrimmage. He puts his guys in good situations. We know that. We've obviously faced him a lot. We see where he's at. You have to give him credit for that. He's a hell of a quarterback and he's been doing this a long time. When you do have opportunities, you've got to make the most of them."
Making his fourth straight start, Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields completed 16 of 27 passes for 174 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 75.2 passer rating. The first-round pick also rushed for 43 yards on six carries.
"I think I should have played better," Fields said. "I didn't play as well as I wanted to. I think [offensive coordinator] Bill [Lazor] was calling a great game … I'll take the blame. Unfortunately, I just didn't play how I needed to play for us to get the win."
Here's what transpired in the game:
The Packers reached the Bears' 36 on the game's opening possession before Khalil Mack sacked Rodgers on third-and-10, forcing a Green Bay punt.
The Bears followed by taking a 7-0 lead on Khalil Herbert's 1-yard touchdown run with 6:45 left in the first quarter, capping an 8-play, 80-yard drive. The key play on the drive was Fields' pinpoint 20-yard completion to Allen Robinson II between two defenders on third-and-3. Marquise Goodwin then drew a 26-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Isaac Yiadom at the 1.
On the Bears' second possession, it appeared that Fields thought he had a free play when a Packers lineman seemingly jumped offside on third-and-7 from the Green Bay 47. The rookie quarterback lofted a deep pass intended for Robinson that was intercepted by safety Darnell Savage in the end zone. But no flag was thrown.
"I saw him jump," Fields said. "After he jumped, I saw [center] Sam [Mustipher] snap the ball and I threw the ball downfield. I was confused on why there weren't any flags on the ground. I don't know if the refs just missed that or he didn't jump offsides or what."
The Packers tied the score 7-7 on Rodgers' 1-yard touchdown pass to receiver Allen Lazard on a third-and-goal shovel pass with 9:59 remaining in the second quarter.
Green Bay extended its lead to 10-7 on Mason Crosby's 39-yard field goal with 4:09 to play in the first half. The kick was set up by running back A.J. Dillon's 36-yard run. The Packers settled for the kick after receiver Equanimeous St. Brown caught an apparent 15-yard TD pass but was flagged for offensive pass interference, erasing the play.
In the first half, Fields completed 7 of 12 passes for 69 yards with one interception, while Rodgers connected on 8 of 11 passes for 73 yards with one TD.
The Packers scored on their third straight possession—not counting a kneel-down at the end of the first half—as Rodgers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to running back Aaron Jones, widening the margin to 17-7 with 6:00 left in the third quarter. Rodgers dumped the ball off behind the line of scrimmage to Jones, who broke a Tashaun Gipson Sr. tackle.
The Bears cut the deficit to 17-14 on Fields' 5-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney with 8:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, capping a 10-play, 80-yard drive.
"It was just designed up perfectly," Mooney said, "the perfect play call for the defense we thought we were going to get, and we got it. It was the first read on there, and it happened to work out."
The TD came after Herbert's apparent 16-yard touchdown run was nullified by a holding penalty on Sam Mustipher. On the drive, Fields completed 5 of 5 passes for 64 yards and had a 14-yard scramble.
"We were giving plays a chance," Mustipher said about the TD drive. "Guys were executing across the board. Any time you're rolling like that as an offense and you're able to march down the field, that's what we're called to do as an offense. It was a successful drive from that standpoint."
The Packers answered immediately with a 7-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Rodgers' 6-yard TD run, increasing Green Bay's lead to 24-14 with 4:30 to play.
The Bears reached the Packers' 32, but Fields was sacked on back-to-back plays for losses of 11 and 12 yards. On fourth-and-26 from the Green Bay 48, Fields threw a desperation pass into the end zone that fell incomplete with 2:14 remaining. Right tackle Elijah Wilkinson was called for holding, so any positive play would have been nullified.
The Packers (5-1) then ran out the clock, increasing their winning streak to five straight this season and five in a row versus the Bears.