Josh McCown Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Da Bears, enjoy The Asterisk* – the Packers are gearing up for Week 17


The Chicago Bears should be proud with their asterisk. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears should be proud with their asterisk. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears are never going to be friends. It’s always going to be a brutal, ugly rivalry.

Which is why Packers fans everywhere are feeling like a little salt has been thrown on the wounds from Monday night.

Bears fans and players flocked to Twitter and other forms of social media to discuss their feelings of elation after getting a win at Lambeau field and essentially their first win against a Green Bay Packers team that has literally owned them since 2010.

But, Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico had a message for the Chicago Bears on Monday night: This win comes with an asterisk.

Boy, does it.

So, da Bears — enjoy the asterisk.

Many will argue that it was a fair battle of the backup QB’s.

Was it?

 

Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Josh McCown has been Jay Cutler‘s backup since 2011, following Cutler’s injury in the 2010 NFC Championship game. The Bears felt they needed more security at the position and have been developing McCown ever since. That is two and a half seasons of work with the receivers, the running backs, the playbook and the staff. Since Cutler’s groin injury three weeks ago, McCown has had valuable game time against Washington, a bye week and two full weeks of work with the first team unit.

Seneca Wallace has been with the Green Bay Packers for … two and half minutes. He was on another roster for the whole offseason, training camp and preseason games. He was signed to the Packers before week one of the regular season. Coming into Monday night’s matchup, he had taken a total of four first team snaps in practice. The staff didn’t have the benefit of game planning for his skill set, and he was thrown into the fire on the second series of the game with little knowledge of the playbook, little rapport with the players and no confidence in his situation.

Enjoy the asterisk.

Many will argue that the loss of Jay Cutler was as devastating as the loss of Aaron Rodgers.

Is it?

Aaron Rodgers is like a $100 bill. When it goes missing from your wallet, YOU KNOW ABOUT IT. On the other hand, Cutler is like a $5 bill. When it goes missing, all the other dollars do a pretty good job of hiding it.

Since coming to Chicago, Cutler has been sporadic at best. In 100 overall games (dating back to 2006), Cutler has a completion rate of 61 percent, just under 23,000-yards passing, 148 touchdowns against 107 interceptions. He has taken 209 sacks, fumbled the ball 62 times and posts an overall QB rating of 84.6, becoming a full-time starter in 2007.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side of the coin, Aaron Rodgers in 93 overall games (dating back to 2005, but becoming the starter in 2008), has a completion rate of 66 percent, just under 24,000-yards passing, 186 touchdowns against only 50 interceptions. He has taken a good amount of sacks (220), fumbled the ball only 36 times and has a total QB rating of 105.2 over that time span.

See what I’m trying to say? Aaron Rodgers is THE MAN in Green Bay. Jay Cutler is Mr. Right Now in Chicago.

Enjoy the asterisk.

Many will argue that both units suffer from injuries, not just the Packers.

Really?

Yes, the Bears were missing the centerpiece of their defense, Lance Briggs. And yes, their defensive line was without Henry Melton. Yes, Jay Cutler was inactive. I sympathize.

But … remember … Clay Matthews? The centerpiece of OUR defense. Remember Nick Perry? Our other premiere pass rusher? Remember Aaron Rodgers? Our ALL-PRO quarterback? Yeah, I guess we’re even then. Oh wait … wait, no … cause there is also, Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, James Jones playing with a sprained PCL. Casey Hayward back from a 10-week hiatus with a hamstring injury. We were featuring a backup lineman in Marshall Newhouse who couldn’t keep the pace.

Congratulations. Your defense halted a Seneca Wallace-led passing attack featuring names like Myles White, Andrew Quarless and Jarrett Boykin … who before this season, were complete unknowns. Couldn’t do much against Eddie Lacy and James Starks though.

The Bears offense enjoys headliners like Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey and Martellus Bennett. Matt Forte is always a force. McCown was told to hand it off and chuck it up.

The Packers defense (post-injury) features names like Andy Mulumba, Nate Palmer and Datone Jones. You’ll have to look them up under R for Rookie or U for Undrafted Free Agents.

Enjoy the asterisk.

Seneca Wallace chased by Julius Peppers and Shea McClellin. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Seneca Wallace chased by Julius Peppers and Shea McClellin. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

And to all of those fans who were genuinely happy to see Rodgers go down, who said that Shea McClellin in now your favorite player, who laughed and said how much enjoyment you got out of watching that game with Wallace under center, I have a question for you.

How much of that enjoyment stemmed from the fact that the Packers played the entire game with a forgettable backup, a host of second- and third-stringers on offense and defense … and yet … the score was 27-20 at the end?

Like I said, for now … enjoy the asterisk. Cause Rodgers, Matthews and the slew of Packers walking wounded are resting up for week 17.

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Chicago Bears Clay Matthews Green Bay Packers

  • Mike

    Cry much? Boo hoo, we only lost because we had injuries. Please clown, injuries are part of the game. I certainly didn’t see any asterisks being handed out for any of the games the Packers won when their opponent was less than 100%. In fact, the whole damn NFL season can be just one giant asterisk while we are at it. Packers lost, get over it. And the rematch in Chicago? I’d worry less about revenge and more about still being relevant to the playoff race at that point.

    • Peter Maiz

      We may not go to the playoffs, but one thing is for sure; we do play you again, I’ll have a grin from there on to next season.

      • Mike

        No matter what happens on week 17, Packers fans will still not be able to wash the taste out of their mouths of having the lowly, beat up Bears come into their house and walk out as victors. In addition, it was these same Bears that took an almost guaranteed walk into the playoffs for the Packers, pissed all over it and tossed it out the window. I bet that’s really hard to swallow as well. Anyway, enjoy your grin if you get to, none of it matters if the Packers are still watching the playoffs from home. I do have one question though; would it be fair of the Bears writers and fans to be calling “asterisk” for their next meeting? They will still be missing 50% of their defense at that time.

        • Peter Maiz

          Hopefully we’ll be much healthier during the Bears game and hope you guys are too so we can we all can be objective, both healthy and ready to go. No asterisks will be needed.

  • A Bear Fan

    It’s funny that you start it with a reference to “salt in
    the wounds” because that tone oozes throughout your entire post.

    As a 27-year-old Bears fan, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life watching the Bears in the Packers’ shadow. I remember when Favre was FINALLY coming to the end of his career (with the Packers, at least), and I thought to myself, Hey, maybe we got a chance! And then some guy named Aaron Rodgers came around and shattered those dreams. Meanwhile we’ve gone through God knows how may QB’s (25 or so if you’re counting). So, yes, it must be shocking that after 20 years, you actually have to rely on a backup quarterback to do more than hand the ball off in garbage time. I get it. But also understand that in most recent history, the Packers have dominated this rivalry. Six straight. Three seasons. And 8 of the last 9, if you want to count your Super Bowl year. Yeah, I remember that one too. So certainly you can understand the jubilation of Bears fans when they finally win,IN LAMBEAU, after that agonizing, disgraceful drought.

    I’ll enjoy the WIN.

    But let’s not discount what happened in this game. At this point in the season, this was arguably the most important game on the schedule. Packers win, and you’re up two games on us and we’re left wondering what the hell is going to happen next year. You lose, and well, here we are, in a three-way tie with the Lions. THE LIONS. Look, I’m sorry for what happened to Aaron Rodgers. I truly am. I don’t wish that on any player, on any team. But, you finally get a taste of what we’ve been dealing with throughout Cutler’s career with the Bears. I’m as surprised as anyone that Josh McCown was actually good. Yes, he’s been with
    the Bears since 2011, but Jason Campbell was our backup in 2012, leaving Josh to clipboard duty. In 2011, he again was the third-string QB, behind the great Caleb Hanie experiment. Yeah, that Caleb Hanie. Josh only started two games at the end of a wasted season (did I mention he was a high school coach prior to that?) So yeah, maybe he’s been around the Bears for the last couple of years, but we’ve had three different offensive coordinators in the past three years, and we’re in a completely revamped offense with mostly new personnel this year under first-year head coach Marc Trestman. I don’t argue that Josh was more prepared for this game in particular, but he’s doing the job that he’s paid to do. No one was expecting him to do exactly what Cutler does on a weekly basis, just as no one is expecting Seneca Wallace to be like Aaron Rodgers. I think that Josh’s performance Monday night, as well as in the Redskins game, can be attributed more to the coaching staff and front office preparing him for it by providing a great offensive plan and the weapons around him. You can blame your own front office for not having depth at the Most Important Position in Football. (Hey, maybe Matt Flynn will throw for the Packers record again – That’s still crazy to me). And you can blame your coaching staff for not providing more snaps in practice. Welcome to the rest of the NFL, where we can’t rely on the Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Mannings, and Tom Bradys of the world.

    Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy the WIN.

    And you can hate on Cutler. I don’t blame you. He doesn’t have the personality that Rodgers has. I don’t care. He’s not paid for his personality. He’s paid to be our QB. He’s the best QB Chicago has seen since, um, well, uhh..Sid Luckman, for God’s sake. So yes, TO US, Cutler is as important as Rodgers is to your team and his loss, especially this year, is equally as devastating. (That feeling you’re having, in the pit of your stomach, we had that three weeks ago.) You can throw out your fancy numbers and comparisons about how much greater Aaron Rodgers is statistically. Yes, on paper, Aaron Rodgers has been better. But you can’t blame that entirely on Cutler. (Need I remind you about our offensive coordinator situation?) The o-line has been terrible forever. Name one big time receiver in the past 5 years not named Brandon Marshall. It hasn’t been until this year in Cutler’s Chicago Bear career that he’s had all the offensive pieces around him, including the coaches and front office. This is the year that the offense has finally looked dangerous. This is the year that we as Bears fans have been waiting for. And when he went down, it was devastating.

    Another reason why I will enjoy this WIN.

    Ah yes, the injuries. You make it sound like we only have three guys out on our whole
    team. I mean, when you only give us three, and then go down the list of everyone out on your entire team, well yeah it seems like an unfair advantage. But you left out the part how we lost Melton’s backup in Nate Collins for the season or how our other DT Stephen Paea was out for part of the season. You forgot that we were starting two rookies at LB, after losing Briggs in week 7 and D.J. Williams earlier in the season (out for the season like Melton and Collins).
    Tillman’s been beat up all season, battling a bad knee and just generally being old. Yeah, it sucks that Clay Matthews is out, but since you brought it up, I’ll bring up that we don’t have #54 lurking around on the field this year. He was the centerpiece of our defense for the past 13 years. Of course he wouldn’t be playing at the level he was in his glory days, but you
    can’t deny the effect he would have on our defense. And on top of all the injuries, this defense is not the defense of Lovie Smith. What’s left is old and worn out. We can force a turnover or two, but for the most part we’ve been swiss cheese. (You and I both know Seneca should’ve kept feeding Lacy and Starks all night). On the offensive side, I can’t argue the disadvantage. Our roster has been relatively healthy this year (knock on wood). But Rodgers was destroying the Vikings last week with the same roster. You can argue that Seneca should have been told to hand it off and chuck it up. By the way, we have 6 rookies or undrafted free agents on our defense alone (and I haven’t even brought up our two rookies on our o-line), and we just signed Jay Ratliff, whose coming off of surgery.

    Let’s just say, I’m gonna enjoy this WIN.

    Oh, but you couldn’t stop there. Again, I don’t want to see any player go down. As much as I don’t like Aaron Rodgers when he’s beating the crap outta the Bears, he sure is fun to watch. Shea McClellin, for the most part, has been a waste of a first-round pick and the disdain of Bears fans. He doubled his career total in sacks in ONE GAME. I can’t say he’s my favorite player but I’m happy that the kid’s finally showing something after being in the league for a year and a half. And the enjoyment of seeing Wallace under center stems from the fact that the Packers have finally come back down to earth and are just like every other team in the
    NFL that’s struggling through injuries and facing adversity. And to answer your question, it was only 27-20 because the Bears ran 9 minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter, converting on a key 3rd (AND 4th) down conversions, effectively wiping away any hope of a comeback. (Can’t blame that one on Rodgers.) So while you sit on your cheese-dipped high horse, making excuses and believing that what happened on Monday night was a complete aberration –

    I, and every Bear fan around the world, will enjoy this WIN.

    By the way, you shouldn’t ever listen to Gruden or Tirico. Oh yeah, don’t sleep on the Lions, because they might run away with this division, simply because they’vegot what we both don’t – a healthy team.

    • Another bears fan

      You sir just made my day

      • Peter Maiz

        I almost read your novel in it’s totality. You seem fair and very knowledgeable, so that’s cool. I’ve been one to say that the Bears and the Packers to both play health, and the best man win. By week 17, though the Packers may not be in the playoffs, we’ll just have to have a better perspective and may the best man win! It’s more exciting if we have both quarterbacks healthy, and yes, Green Bay management truly screwed up by not prepping Seneca. What a mistake, in football, we call this a fumble.

  • Hugo S LaVia

    Kiss my asterisk.

  • alphaneko

    I normally don’t respond to troll posts – but this deserves one just for the perspective, or lack thereof.

    First, Injuries are part of the sport. Bears fans have been saying “If only Jay Cutler stayed healthy” for the better part of a few years now, but I don’t remember you or anyone posting any asterisks on Packer wins over the Bears during that time frame.

    Next, let’s hypothetically say that this injury ended Aaron Rodgers football career, or he’s never able to throw the football quite as well again. Will you be stamping an asterisk on every Packers game from now until the end of time? Do you see why this train of logic is so broken – and why this is the slippery slope argument that no football player ever resorts to?

    Finally, an asterisk can mean many things – but I’m assuming you’re using it in the context that Major league baseball has towards tainted records. While it is arguable that Rodgers is more important to the Packers than just about any other player to their team, it is not the Bears fault nor anyone else except the Packers that their backup is so terrible. In other words, the gist of your ‘article’ translating Rodgers+Lambeau field = Packer Win doesn’t preclude the possibility that Backup QB+Lambeau field can still = Packer Win
    Wasn’t it not too long ago that Packer fans were saying what a great job their front office was doing to handle all the injuries to their roster the last few years? Weren’t those the same front office guys that hired Seneca Wallace as their backup qb?

    You can’t have it both ways – you can’t win with a injured plagued roster and say “Great job, next man up!” and then lose and yell Asterisk! to anyone willing to listen. Well, you can, but then you’d be juvenile.
    You also can’t go from Brett Favre, to Aaron Rodgers, to Seneca Wallace and blame the Bears for, what, exactly – Winning because the Packers got caught with their pants down by not having a real backup QB?

    • Peter Maiz

      As a Packers fan, your point is well taken. Our front office did fumble on this one. But if logic be logic, let us use history, logic and statistics to formulate an idea of the results of week 17. By doing so, we may infer we will beat you, surely. So let us all play healthy to enjoy a better spectacle, what do you say. Fair is fair.

  • Peter Maiz

    Jamie is completely right. Come week 17, the Bears don’t have a chance against a “packed” Packers. Rogers should trounce them by about 2 touchdowns. The only issue is the Packs secondary that has to improve to keep the opponents points relatively low. By week 17, the Bears will know their rightful place: below the Packers.