By Chris Emma-
CHICAGO (CBS) — R-E-L-A-X. Relax.
The words of Aaron Rodgers resonated from Wisconsin’s north woods down to the Illinois border. He even spelled it out. There was no panic in this Green Bay Packers team, and the cheesehead fans shouldn’t have worried, either.
“I felt confident,” Rodgers said after a 38-17 rout of the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.
And rightfully so. Recent history was on Rodgers’ side.
Green Bay wasn’t going to lose its third straight game. It hasn’t done that with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback since 2008, his first season as the Packers’ starting quarterback. What’s been their secret to success?
“Well, Aaron’s pretty good,” linebacker A.J. Hawk said.
Rodgers is 11-3 as starting quarterback against the Chicago Bears, and he never seems to be fazed. In Sunday’s victory, he threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns. If ever a microcosm of the recent years of this rivalry, it’s that Rodgers wasn’t hit once by a Bears defender.
That’s pretty relaxed and leaves no reason to worry.
“He had all day back there to throw the ball,” Packers guard Josh Sitton said. “I could get back there and do that.”
There were no punts by either team in Sunday’s game, just the second time in NFL history that’s happened. But the Packers turned a see-saw battle in their favor by intercepting Jay Cutler twice. Their defense pitched a second-half shutout against the high-octane offense of Chicago (2-2).
In the halftime locker room with a 21-17 lead, the Packers kept their poise. There was little doubt they would win.
“The mood was always confident,” Hawk said. “We just knew we had to find a way to keep them out of the end zone, then we were going to win.”
Pick a moment from this game, and it was of Green Bay (2-2) dominating. There was the onside kick that somehow skipped away from the Bears, Randall Cobb’s ankle-breaking juke of rookie Kyle Fuller or any of Cutler’s three picks. It all seemed the same as games past between these two rivals.
The Packers have had the Bears’ number with Rodgers at quarterback. They’ve also reached the playoffs each of the past five seasons and won a Super Bowl in 2010. The success is no coincidence.
Neither were the words from Rodgers.
“Sometimes, we say stuff like that, it can start to permeate throughout the team and guys start believe in it that everything is going to be OK,” Rodgers said.
History suggests the Packers had nothing to panic about. Rodgers was in control, again, in a rivalry that Green Bay has dominated in recent years.
R-E-L-A-X was right.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.