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Bernstein: Packers Blow Up Bears Storylines

By Dan Bernstein- senior columnist

(CBS) So much for all that about the Bears.

So much for the rejuvenated defense, powered by the burgeoning development of so many young players behind an invigorated pass rush. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shut that all up real quick, needing all of two minutes to burn through them for the first of his four touchdown passes in Green Bay's 38-17 win at Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Rodgers put to bed the murmurs about his own early season struggles, completing 22 of 28 passes for 302 yards with a rating of 151.2.

The Bears' opportunity to seize control of the NFC North turned into a reaffirmation of Packers' dominance over a flaccid secondary that couldn't match up with the obvious. It wasn't exactly a secret that Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb would be targeted, yet the two still combined for 17 catches for 221 yards and those four scores.

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So much for the latest, lazy iteration of the newest "new" Jay Cutler. After the killer interception in the opener against Buffalo, enough of his other picks were dropped by the 49ers and Jets that the usual suspects in the business of giving bad, wrong opinions pushed the idea that mature Jay is something other than what an eight-year, 107-game sample size has proved him to be. Clay Matthews corralled a deflection after Cutler tried to force a slant to Josh Morgan despite inside-leverage coverage, and then a miscommunication with buddy Brandon Marshall allowed Sam Shields a freebie.


So much for what a commitment to the run game would do to create some all-important offensive balance. The Bears rushed for 235 yards and 16 of their 33 first downs. They averaged 5.7 yards per attempt.

And they lost by three touchdowns.

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There were two aspects of this game, though, that did provide evidence of reliable, continuing trends, and they were as inexcusable as any Bears missteps: the still-horrendous officiating and the unsatisfactory playing surface at Soldier Field. The phantom occurrences and flat-out alternate realities that determine penalties have me questioning what the rules are as we have long known them. What is a hold? How is a defensive back allowed to hit a receiver? What makes a hit late or constitutes "piling on" in real time? I'm not lamenting the decline of toughness or violence, clinging to some romanticized projection of cartoon manhood – I'm just truly flummoxed over what's going on.

And the Chicago Park District seems incapable of embarrassment over the condition of the grass in that stadium. How many plays need to be affected by slips and falls until someone cares? It's Sept. 28, not late December. The weather has been beautiful for a week. Yet the Turf Monster lives, healthier than ever as it gleefully trips up ballcarriers and defenders with abandon. The Bears are a high-flying, precision offense apparently expected to compete while running on a Tres Leches cake.

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So much for general manager Phil Emery's recent draft classes asserting themselves, as Kyle Fuller and Jon Bostic both evinced more uncertainty than execution Sunday, and there was little help noticeable from Will Sutton or Ego Ferguson up front.

So much for coach Marc Trestman's sustained brilliance, as his creative play-calling and refreshing onside kick risk-taking were undermined by inexplicable clock management at the end of the first half that resulted in time expiring and no points, as Martellus Bennett's futile reach for the goal line was obscured enough by defenders to stand upon review.

There is ample time to restore all the good vibes humming in the air after three games, but this one just popped a bunch of hopeful balloons. This was what the matchup has looked like for too long.

Too much Aaron Rodgers, too much Jordy Nelson, too much of the Jay Cutler you can't ever learn to trust.

The Bears set to solidify their place in the division at the season's first-quarter mark at 3-1, delivering a blow to their rivals at home after two inspiring wins on the road? A chance to do real damage to the reeling Packers by knocking them down to 1-3?

Not so much.

Follow Dan on Twitter @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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