So confident was I that Aaron Rodgers would lead his team to the go-ahead touchdown on the final drive of Thursday night’s game, that I almost hoped — somewhere in the back of my mind — that they would score quickly enough to give Mr. Fourth Quarter, Jay Cutler, enough time to stage a comeback of his own.
Even now, some ten hours after the football hit the ground outside the back of the end zone, clinching an improbable 17-13 Bears victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving night, I’m still in a bit of a daze.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Just ask the Packers organization, who scheduled the retiring of Brett Favre’s No. 4 jersey specifically for this night. They had every intention of making it a triumphant ordeal against the most hated of opponents. A prime time, national television audience on Thanksgiving night against division rival Chicago, whom Favre had so much success against throughout his career? You couldn’t have asked for a better script. All the stars were aligned for a historic evening.
Except the Bears had different plans.
Referenced as a “homecoming” game for the former Packers legendary quarterback, several Bears players in the locker room said after the game they felt disrespected that the Packers chose them to be the opponent the night that Favre’s jersey was retired. The players felt like the Green Bay organization saw them as a pushover who would make a great sparring partner in an exhibition match.
The Bears had too much pride to let that happen.
Like they have done every game this season, the Bears came out prepared to play and battled from start to finish. On a rainy night where the traction on the field was slick, the Bears slogged their way to 101 rushing yards on 31 carries and Jay Cutler completed 19 of 31 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown in upsetting their rivals.
On defense, although the pass rush was lacking, the secondary made it a rough night for both Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ receiving corps.
The victory over the Packers was about as hurtful to that organization as anything short of an Aaron Rodgers injury could be. The Packers have dominated the Bears at Lambeau Field and have made this rivalry one-sided for far too long. Paired with Favre’s dominance over the Bears, there’s no wondering why the Packers would have chosen the Bears to be the “victim” in the middle of the Brett Favre Love Fest.
Similar to how the Packers wanted to retire Favre’s jersey against the Bears, the Bears did the same thing 21 years ago on Halloween night in 1994, when they retired the uniforms of Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers against the Packers. The Packers stuffed some rotten candy in the Bears’ trick-or-treat bag that night, besting the Bears, 33-6, on a cold, rainy night.
I hope the Packers fans choked down some big, stinkin’ rotten cheese with their Thanksgiving turkey, because after their fourth loss in five games, this one isn’t going to sit well with them.