GREEN BAY—Next man up has suddenly taken on a new meaning. The next man has to replace “The Man.”
The Packers lost Aaron Rodgers on Monday night, and then lost the game to their age-old archrival, the Chicago Bears, 27-20.
“Tough loss. You never want to lose at home; division game,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said in a subdued voice, as he assessed his team’s performance. The media begged for an assessment of Aaron Rodgers’ left shoulder. At best, a diagnosis might be forthcoming on Tuesday, McCarthy said.
“They want to run more tests. They don’t have an exact diagnosis,” McCarthy said. “No timeline, no exact diagnosis; that’s where we’re at.”
The Packers lost Rodgers for the game on the Packers’ first series of the game, which ended with Bears linebacker Shea McClellin sacking Rodgers and driving the quarterback’s left shoulder into the ground.
Passing yards came grudgingly for the Packers in the remainder of the game. Rodgers’ replacement, Seneca Wallace, threw for only 114 yards and a 53.4 passer rating. He was intercepted once.
“I thought we ran the ball very well. We weren’t very productive in the passing game, especially on third down,” McCarthy said.
The Packers were a dismal one of nine in third-down conversion attempts. The stats favored the Bears in nearly every way. They converted six of 14 third-down attempts, gained 442 net yards, passed for a whopping 271 yards and dominated time of possession by more than six minutes.
“Defensively, we didn’t do a very good job of stopping the run. It looked like a lot of missed tackles, and the passing game,” McCarthy said, his voice trailing off.
The Packers defense was at its worst following a touchdown by Eddie Lacy and a field goal by Mason Crosby that gave the Packers a 20-17 lead in the third quarter, after trailing 17-10 at halftime. Lacy had taken over the game with a dominant performance early in the third quarter, but the defense quickly surrendered the lead on a touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Alshon Jeffery.
McCarthy made special mention of his defense’s failing in the fourth quarter. The Bears took possession at their 11-yard line with 9:48 to play in the game. The Packers needed a stop, but 18 plays later the Bears kicked a field goal with but 50 ticks of the clock remaining in the game.
The loss leaves the Packers in a three-way tie with the Bears and the Lions for the NFC North lead at the exact midpoint in the season. The Bears hope to get injured quarterback Jay Cutler back this Sunday. Packers fans are left to chew their fingernails as they await news on Rodgers.
“We’re on a short week. We have the Eagles coming in here. New staff; uncommon opponent,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t play well enough. They (Bears) beat us.”
Wallace was left to confess what didn’t need to be confessed. He played poorly in his first game as a member of the Packers.
“I tried my best. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I love to compete. I feel like I should’ve played better,” he said.
Will he be under center when the Packers host the Eagles this Sunday? That’ll be the burning question for the next few days, as Packers fans await a diagnosis on Rodgers and a decision on who the Packers’ quarterback will be going forward.
“I’ve been in this situation before. It’ll definitely get better,” Wallace promised. “I feel like my skill set is good. I was brought here for a reason. Like I said, it’s going to get better.” Complete game coverage