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