Last night, The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears kicked off the NFL’s regular season in a matchup on Thursday Night Football in America. Green Bay ushered in a new era with a ferocious effort on defense during first-year Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s debut.
The Packers defeated their opponents, the Bears, by a score of 10-3 in the NFC North Division matchup played on Soldier Field in Chicago. Known primarily for their offense and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay made a statement to the rest of the National Football League by displaying tenacity and toughness, even eclipsing the impressive efforts of the daunting Bears defense.
Both defenses stole the show, as each team’s defensive unit finished the game with 5 sacks apiece and piled up over 80 tackles for losses combined. Packers’ linebacker Blake Martinez led his team in tackles with seven, while adding one sack and 5 TFL’s. Preston Smith, the Packer’s new free-agent-acquisition at linebacker from Washington made his debut as well, making five tackles while adding 1.5 sacks. Former Bears, and new Green Bay safety Adrian Amos added one interception in the effort.
Chicago’s Leonard Floyd (LB) made four tackles, while contributing two sacks and four TFL’s to pace his team, while defensive leader and stalwart linebacker Khalil Mack also added five tackes.
Installing a new offense, Rodgers and LaFleur struggled to put the Packers in a position to put points on the board. The QB went 18 for 30 passing, throwing for 203 yards and one TD. Packers’ tight-end Jimmy Graham caught the touchdown pass from Rodgers during the second quarter.
After the game, Rodgers squashed talk of a rift with his new coach by holding onto and presenting the game ball to LaFleur. The quarterback also sought out second-year Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine to congratulate him on the unit’s performance.
It seems the Packers have all the makings of a top-ten defense, which is something they haven’t seen since the unit ranked fifth during their Super Bowl victory in 2010. General Manager Brian Gutekunst spent a sizeable amount of money on the defensive side of the ball during the offseason, and thus far the additions seem to be worth the investment. The Packers defense will continue to pin their ears back and give opposing offenses fits, while Rodgers and company work out the kinks and round things into shape on offense.
The Packers (1-0) return to action on Sunday, September 15, when they host the Minnesota Vikings at 1:00pm. Next up for Chicago are the Broncos. The Bears (0-1) will travel out west to Denver, and play an afternoon game the same day.
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Header Photo Credit: Deadline