Rodgers, Packers lean on Jones, take care of Bears 27-10
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Jones made sure the Green Bay Packers’ promise to get him the ball more often paid off.
Jones rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown and caught a scoring pass from Aaron Rodgers, who continued his domination of the Chicago Bears by leading Green Bay to a 27-10 victory on Sunday night.
Jones had five carries for 49 yards and three catches for 27 yards in a season-opening 23-7 loss at Minnesota, and the Packers (1-1) vowed he’d have a bigger role.
“That just naturally put a smile on my face,” Jones said. “I knew I had to show up when my number was called. That just pushes me that much harder.”
Jones came through, gaining 8.8 yards per rush and leading the Packers’ 203-yard ground attack. He had 15 carries as well as three catches for 38 yards.
Green Bay beat the Bears (1-1) for a seventh straight time, matching its second-longest win streak in the 205-game history of the NFL’s oldest rivalry. The Packers won 10 straight over the Bears from 1994-98. They have two other seven-game win streaks in this series, from 1928-30 and 2000-03.
The Packers built a 24-7 halftime lead by dominating the second period, then made a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter to thwart a Bears comeback attempt.
“Coming out with a disappointing loss like this, it hurts,” Bears quarterback Justin Fields said. “We’ve just got to respond.”
A week after he struggled to connect with his new crop of receivers, Rodgers was characteristically efficient, going 19 of 25 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers are 24-5 against the Bears in games Rodgers has started.
“Tonight was really about 28 (A.J. Dillon) and 33 (Jones), getting them the football,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t play great. I feel like the stats look a little better than the game. … I missed some throws that I should never miss. There were some opportunities for more points out there.”
Chicago’s David Montgomery rushed for 122 yards on 15 carries. Fields had a touchdown run and was 7 of 11 for 70 yards with an interception.
The Packers outscored the Bears 21-0 in the second quarter. Jones scored twice, both times catching pitches from Rodgers in the backfield and reaching the end zone.
The first was a backward pass that got ruled as a 15-yard carry. On the second touchdown, Jones went in motion, caught a flip pass in the backfield and scored from 8 yards out. Jones benefited from the return of right tackle Elgton Jenkins, playing for the first time since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament last Nov. 12.
“If he’s not in the lineup, we don’t win that game,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Jenkins. “It transcends his level of play, what he’s able to bring to us. For his first night out, I thought he did a great job.”
Even though the Packers had talked all week about getting the ball to Jones more often, the Bears couldn’t slow him down.
“It says a lot about our offense,” Jones said. “You know what’s coming, but you have to stop it. That’s not easy to do. I just say kudos to our whole offensive unit and our whole team for responding and bouncing back from last week.”
Jones’ second score was Rodgers’ 450th career touchdown pass. The only other players to reach that mark are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Rodgers added No. 451 in the final minute of the first half with a 5-yard completion to Allen Lazard, who sat out the Vikings game with an ankle injury.
Rodgers completed passes to eight receivers. None had more than three receptions, but Sammy Watkins turned his trio of catches into 93 yards.
The Bears made the game competitive in the second half by capitalizing on Green Bay’s mistakes.
Cairo Santos’ 44-yard field goal cut Green Bay’s lead to 24-10 after a fumbled exchange between Rodgers and Dillon gave the Bears the ball at their own 31.
The Packers’ next series got foiled when a snap from Josh Myers hit receiver Christian Watson, who was in motion, and got past Rodgers. Dillon recovered the fumble, but it put the Packers in a third-and-22 situation and led to a punt.
Chicago drove toward Green Bay’s end zone and had an apparent 6-yard touchdown run by Fields overturned when replays determined he was down before stretching his arm across the goal line. On the next play, Fields ran again on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1, and officials ruled that Preston Smith and Jarran Reed stopped him just short of the end zone with a little over eight minutes left in the game.
“Who knows? If they get a touchdown there, the game could completely flip,” Packers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell said. “So I think we did a good job of winning situational football.”
Bears DB Dane Cruikshank hurt his hamstring in the first half.
Bears: Host Houston on Sunday.
Packers: At Tampa Bay on Sunday.
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