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Durkin: Where's The Rush?

By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) In the wake of the Packers' sluggish 1-2 start in which the offense sputtered their way to a 28th overall ranking, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a one-word message to Packers fans.

"Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X," Rodgers said Tuesday on his radio show. "Relax. We're going to be OK."

Prescient advice from Rodgers, who sliced and diced the Bears defense Sunday, finishing 22-for-28 for 302 yards, four touchdowns and a near-perfect passer rating of 151.2 in a 38-17 win at Soldier Field. The Packers never punted, scoring on six of their seven offensive drives, with their only blemish coming on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter.

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Entering Sunday, the Packers' offensive line had surrendered nine sacks in three games. Yet, the Bears' lack of a pass rush made for a leisurely day at the office for Rodgers. Chicago was credited with a sack when Ego Ferguson ran Rodgers out of bounds on a scramble, but in the end, the Bears weren't credited with a single quarterback hit. Not one.

Considering the amount of money and resources the Bears invested in their defensive line this offseason, this lack of productivity is alarming.

Asking any secondary to cover wide receivers for three, four and five seconds with a quarterback as efficient as Rodgers throwing the ball is a losing proposition, as Sunday's game proved. Rodgers sat comfortably in the pocket and surveyed the mixture of zone and man coverages the Bears played, and he picked apart the secondary.


"The protection was great," Rodgers said. "I barely got touched most of the day, which will be nice with a short week coming up."

The Bears' secondary was credited with one pass defended, a knockdown by Tim Jennings in the end zone on a pass intended for wide receiver Jordy Nelson. There were blown coverages and missed assignments that led to big plays, but the lack of a push up front was the undoing for the Bears defense.

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Even with the front four struggling to press the pocket on their own, the Bears were conservative with their pressure packages. They only brought an extra blitzer from the back-seven a handful of times, none of which were successful.

The Bears' coaching staff was conscious about pressuring Rodgers, who has a proven track record of making teams pay for sending extra rushers, but not getting him out of rhythm or off of his launching point all game proved fatal.

"You've got to be very careful pressuring Aaron Rodgers," Chicago coach Marc Trestman said. "We did at times, but you've got to be careful pressuring Aaron Rodgers, he's as good as it gets. So, having the right pressures at the right times certainly was something that we had talked about, but just couldn't get it done today."

Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.

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