Bears linebacker Nick Morrow has faced Aaron Rodgers only once his NFL career, but he got the full Rodgers experience when his Raiders lost to the Packers 42-24 at Lambeau Field in 2019: A little bravado, a lot of touchdown passes and a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
“He said on the sideline, ‘I’m gonna score five, and he did it,” Morrow said. “That was a tough game for us. Aaron got one on me — Aaron Jones ran a seven route of the backfield and [Rodgers] threw a great ball back shoulder. It was hard to defend.”
Rodgers was statistically at his best that day — completing 25-of-31 passes for 429 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions for the only perfect passer rating of his career.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Morrow said. “He knew what we were in. He called all our blitzes, and for whatever reason we tried to play man against him and blitz him.
“I think we underestimated him. Davante Adams was down [with turf toe]. We were keying on Jimmy [Graham] and the running backs and I think we underestimated Aaron because he came out and threw it around the yard and got us.”
The Bears of course have been feeling that pain for years — Rodgers is 22-5 with a 109.2 passer rating in 27 carer regular-season starts against the Bears in his career. Linebacker Roquan Smith is 1-6 against Rodgers. Safety Eddie Jackson is 1-9 against him. The only time he beat him, he intercepted Rodgers in the end zone to clinch a 24-17 victory in 2018 at Soldier Field — but sprained his ankle on the return and missed the Bears’ playoff loss to the Eagles.
Defensive end Robert Quinn is 0-4 against Rodgers with the Bears, but 0-9 against Rodgers in his career. This is an age-old story for him. Asked which is worse — playing Rodgers or being asked about playing Rodgers, he emphatically and quickly said, “Both!”
Quinn has 6.5 sacks in those nine games against Rodgers. He sacked Rodgers twice in the first half for losses of 11 and nine yards as the Bears took a 24-10 lead at Lambeau Field. The Bears lost 45-30.
That’s kind of how it goes for the Bears against Rodgers. Leonard Floyd sacked Rodgers twice in 2016 at Lambeau — including a strip-sack he recovered for a touchdown to give the Bears a 10-6 lead — and the Bears lost 26-10. It’s been a frustrating experience for any Bear.
“His hard count. Him and all the guys being on the same page when he somehow causes the d-line or whoever to jump offsides — everyone on the same page,” Quinn said. “He has all the tricks of the trade to the game.”
The Bears are taking another shot at changing their fortune against Rodgers with a new defense under coach Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams that includes several new players. Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad is 1-0 against Rodgers — winning 34-31 in overtime at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2020.
With the kind of luck the Bears have had against Rodgers, that Colts victory might be a smidgen of hope. Though Rodgers finished with typical numbers — 27-of-38 for 311 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 110.07 passer rating — the Packers were held to three points in the second half against Eberflus’ defense.
Making adjustments is a key for any defense and it could be a strength under Eberflus. Last week the Bears held the 49ers to three points in the second half in a 19-10 upset in the season opener.
But that was against Trey Lance. This is Aaron Rodgers. It’ll be a true test — to some Bears fans, the ultimate test — of just how much of a difference Eberflus is making.