GREEN BAY, Wis. — Having finally taken a two-score lead on the first play of the fourth quarter, Packers fans began to vocalize what three quarters of football had hinted at strongly Thursday night.
“Bears still suck!” they said.
They had excuses in the 26-10 loss: quarterback Brian Hoyer broke his left arm in the second quarter, leaving Matt Barkley to throw his first pass since 2014, when he made one attempt. Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long left the game at the same time as Hoyer and didn’t return; he said he “(expletived) my arm up pretty good” early in the game. Asked how long he might be out, Long said that “I don’t stay out, so we’ll see.”
Injuries or not, Thursday’s result was the same as all but one of the team’s seven games this year — and all but seven of John Fox’s 23 games as Bears coach.
Long agreed with tight end Zach Miller’s assessment of the season thus far.
“That’s the third time in a row we’ve been on a national stage and, in my opinion been embarrassed,” said Miller, referring to primetime losses against the Eagles and Cowboys.
“I don’t think anybody’s proud of what we’ve done so far. What are we, 1-6? One-and-six is not good. You can describe it many ways. It’s no fun. We’re not playing well.”
After leading at halftime, 6-3, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — whose season had been maligned — threw three second-half touchdown passes. His final one, a 2-yard pass to Randall Cobb with 5:39 remaining, was his 37th completion, a Packers franchise record.
Playing without running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks, Rodgers threw a whopping 56 times — for 326 yards and three touchdowns.
He gave a fourth to the Bears, too, when first-round pick Leonard Floyd sacked him , forced a fumble and recovered it in the end zone for a short-lived 10-6 lead.
The Packers parried with a 13-play, 85-yard march that resulted in the first of two Davante Adams touchdowns.
Barkley led the Bears to a field goal upon entering the game with 6:34 left in the first half — mostly by handing the ball off. Ka’Deem Carey had a 24-yard run and
Jordan Howard later added a nine-yarder, and Connor Barth booted a 39-yarder to tie the game after the two-minute warning.
Mason Crosby kicked field goals of 32 and 39 yards in the first half — on the Packers’ first and last drives.
The Bears’ defense gave them a chance when, for the second-straight week, they didn’t allow a first-half touchdown.
The Bears’ offense, though, never scored again.
After Barkley looked overmatched in spot duty, the Bears can only hope the 10-day break before their next game does wonders for Jay Cutler’s sprained right thumb.
If it doesn’t, the Halloween home game against the Vikings will prove scary indeed.
“To get your starting quarterback back at any time is good,” Miller said. “I’m not sure where he’s at in his recovery, but I know we’ve got some time now.”