Shea McClellin ended Aaron Rodgers’ night on the first series of Bears-Packers on Monday Night Football.
Yes, that Shea McClellin. Yes, with a sack of that Aaron Rodgers.
Slamming down the Packers quarterback in the red zone, the Bears so-called left defensive end injured Rodgers’ shoulder. Rodgers would not return. Suddenly, the NFC North looked wide open. Even for Josh McCown’s Bears.
Or maybe especially for Josh McCown’s Bears.
Just like that, with Jay Cutler already out injured, it was backup vs. backup. McCown vs. Seneca Wallace. When was the last time the Bears had a quarterback advantage against the Packers?
Then, wait, after McCown magically eluded a sack and threw a remarkable 23-yard TD pass to Brandon Marshall, right defensive end Julius Peppers intercepted Wallace on the next series, deflecting the pass, then grabbing it and returning it 14 yards.
I’m not lying here. The deservedly maligned Bears defensive ends made big plays on consecutive series. If that could happen ...
... Then McCown could happen.
Marc Trestman was whispering better than anyone might’ve believed and McCown looked poised and clutch in throwing for 272 yards. McCown directed TD drives of 71 and 60 yards in the first and second quarters, closing the first half with a 93-yard field goal drive that started at the Bears 1.
The Bears led the Packers at halftime in Lambeau Field. Read that again. True fact.
But the Bears still couldn’t tackle. This is a game of blocking and tackling, but even with five sacks, the Bears still couldn’t tackle, what, nine weeks into the season.
When Eddie Lacy wasn’t slamming his way to 57 yards in the first quarter, James Starks was blasting up the middle virtually untouched for a 32-yard TD. This will be an issue going forward, no matter who isn’t quarterbacking.
But wait. There was more. After the Bears stuffed Lacy in the second quarter, they seemed to put the game in Wallace’s inept hands. But Lacy started the third quarter by blasting through a pathetic Bears eight-man front for a 56-yard run and then one more yard on the next play for the tying score.
I repeat: against an eight-man front.
McClellin couldn’t shed a block on the play, Major Wright was who knows where, and Chris Conte was miserable as usual. Bad angle. Horrible form. Road kill.
Why the Packers bothered to throw, especially on first down, the Bears could only say, "Hallelujah."
Why the Bears continue to play Conte and Wright, opponents can only say the same thing.
Same goes for the middle of the Bears' defensive line.
Meanwhile, the Bears' special teams were getting pantsed. First, they had a punt blocked, then they got stung on an onside kick, plays leading to 10 points.
Lucky thing McCown, Matt Forte, Michael Bush and a stud offensive line showed up. The Bears' defense and special teams never looked better than when McCown, Forte and Bush were eating up 80 yards and almost the last 10 minutes of the game on a staggering 18-play drive. That’s life with the new Bears.
Rodgers’ injury changed the look of the NFC North. The Bears’ awful tackling might change it right back.