Aaron Rodgers was in the moment. And it was his moment, of course — celebrating with teammates after winning a race with linebacker Alec Ogletree to the corner of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown run that clinched yet another Packers victory over the Bears, this time 24-14 on Sunday at Soldier Field.
And as Bears fans — at least one of them anyway — were giving him the business, he responded.
“All my [bleeping] life, I own you,” Rodgers said as he looked into the Soldier Field stands. “I own you. I still own you.”
The truth hurts.
“Sometimes you black out on the field — in a good way,” Rodgers said. “I’ve definitely blacked out from a concussion, which isn’t a good way. But I looked up in the stands and in the front row, all I saw was a woman giving me the double-bird. So I’m not sure what came out of my mouth next.”
As much as any Chicago sports villain ever — and probably more — Rodgers has the right to crow. He did it again Sunday with a performance that illustrated the biggest difference between the Bears and Packers for most of the last 30 years — the Packers have the better quarterback.
Rodgers was more efficient than prolific Sunday, a performance that illustrates his dominance over the Bears — a 22-4 record in games he has started and finished, with 57 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 105.9 passer rating.
But if it’s any consolation to Bears fans, Rodgers meant no offense. His taunt came with a lot of love and respect — most of it sincere.
“I love playing at Soldier Field,” Rodgers said. “I have a lot of respect for the fans. I’m sure there’s a little bit of respect coming back my way — not a lot of love, I’m sure. But I have had a lot of great moments on the field, a lot of great battles.
“And today was much like those other ones. It starts out slow some times. We get rolling. Defense had some timely stops. We put a drive together — kind of withstood the first wave of [Bears] energy, and proud of the way we finished the last thee quarters.”
That’s actually the part that has to hurt. Rodgers has had his moments of absolute greatness again the Bears — six touchdowns in the first half in a 55-14 rout in 2014 at Lambeau Field; five touchdowns in a routine 35-14 victory in 2011 at Soldier Field. But even when the Bears defense makes him work for it, he usually finds a way to win.
Whether it’s his indomitable will or fate moving its huge hands, Rodgers always seems to get the upper hand against the Bears. Khalil Mack & Co. were hounding him in the first quarter — with sacks by Mack and Robert Quinn on the first two series. On the first play of the Packers next offensive series, Mario Edwards forced an incompletion with a pressure and landed on Rodgers. After Rodgers grabbed Edwards facemark, Edwards responded by taunting Rodgers. Guess who got penalized? You know who did.
“They usually get the second guy,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think my grabbing his facemark was that physical. It was a strange tackle from behind — one of those weird ones where you kind of go knee first, and he got up talking a lot of trash. So I wasn’t trying to grab his facemark necessarily, but that’s where my hand kind of stuck.
“The taunting, I don’t think was to me. I think it was more to the other guys who were coming to my defense. But it wasn’t any forceful contact on my part. But whatever it was, it got him a little heated.”
All just part of the Bears-Packers rivalry, except for the part with the Bear on top. Rodgers won that battle and, as usual, the war. “I own you,” indeed.
“Well, we’ve won a few in a row now,” Rodgers said. “I love this rivalry. It’s been a lot of fun over the years. That’s what I told Justin Fields — to enjoy this. It’s a special rivalry, unlike any other in our game.”
Rodgers said he thought about this perhaps being his final game at Soldier Field — pending his uncertain NFL future. But when it was, he was content to bask in the glow of being victories in a rivalry he cherishes.
“I don’t think this is my last one,” Rodgers said. “But I have enjoyed every single one of them.”