Bears lose big second half lead as Aaron Rodgers helps Packers to a one-point victory

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 09: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws during the first quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — When Bears fans closed their eyes and imagined the perfect opening to the Matt Nagy era, they might have imagined a few things.

A dynamic, creative offense. A stout defense that relies on pass rush and experience. Over the past week, those hopes have been updated with visions of No. 52 causing nightmares for No. 12. Surely this kind of scenario couldn’t play out for the Bears against a traditionally stout Packers team on their home field?

Well the dream was just that for a few hours Sunday night, then it turned into a nightmare.

After leaving in the first half with an injury, Aaron Rodgers returned in the second half to throw three touchdowns and help the Packers rally from a 20-0 deficit to beat the Bears 24-23 on Sunday night. It marks the fifth-straight time the Bears have lost to the Packers and the fifth-straight opening game loss for the team.

It ruins what was a stellar start for the Bears who were buoyed by a strong effort from newly acquired linebacker Khalil Mack, who had a sack, forced fumble and recovery along with an interception touchdown in his debut.

The new offense led by Mitchell Trubisky started things off the right way as they debuted a number of different formations over a ten-play, 86 yard drive. Trubisky called his own number on an option and scored the first touchdown of the Nagy era on a two-yard run to make it 7-0. On the next drive, the quarterback churned up 60 yards in nine plays as Cody Parkey finished the drive with a field goal to make it 10-0.

After that, it was Mack and the defense that took center stage. He had heavy pressure on Rodgers early in the second quarter which resulted in a sack by Roy Robertson-Harris. He along with Mack landed awkwardly on Rodgers’ left knee, which knocked him out for the rest of the first half.

That was only the start for Mack who then stopped a long Packers’ drive after Rodgers left with a strip sack of backup DeShone Kizer at the Bears’ nine-yard line. On the following drive, Mack got on the board for the first time as a Bear as he intercepted Kizer, who was under heavy pressure from Robertson-Harris, and returned it 27 yards for the touchdown to make it 17-0.

Trubisky continued the momentum after halftime, leading the Bears on a 60-yard drive that led to a 33-yard Parkey field goal that made it 20-0. Then Rodgers trotted back on the field.

He started quietly, getting 42 yards on his first drive back to set up Mason Crosby’s 42-yard field goal to get the Packers on the board. On the following drive, Rodgers delivered a strike to receiver Geronimo Allison, who beat Kyle Fuller to make a 39-yard touchdown catch to cut the lead to ten.

Davante Adams then found a connection with Rodgers, taking a pass and going 51 yards downfield to set up his later touchdown reception from 12 yards out to make it 20-17.

With the Lambeau Field crowd back in the game, Trubisky and the Bears were able to convert three third downs and got down to the Packers’ 14-yard line before having to settle for another Parkey field goal to make it 23-17.. Then Rodgers completed the comeback as he found a wide open Cobb over the middle, who raced downfield for a 75-yard touchdown to give Green Bay the one-point lead.

With over two minutes left on the clock, Trubisky and the offense got the ball back. The initially turned it over on downs but were saved when Clay Matthews was called for a late hit on the quarterback to extend the drive. But the offense was stalled again on fourth down as a sack-fumble put an end to a nightmare game that started like a dream.