CHICAGO — The Monsters of the Midway showed up for the NFL’s 100th season opener. They were wearing gold, green and white.
In a defensive battle also marked by sloppy offense and penalties, the Packers used the Bears’ usual trademark, a staunch defense, and just enough from Aaron Rodgers on Thursday night to kick off the league’s centennial season with a 10-3 victory over their archrivals.
A lack of action in the preseason clearly damaged both offenses, and Rodgers at times looked uncomfortable in the attack designed by new coach Matt LaFleur. But he is a two-time league MVP, and he hit Jimmy Graham in the second quarter for a touchdown.
From there, it was an aggressive defense that would have made Vince Lombardi — or for that matter, Bears architect George Halas, whose statue was just unveiled outside Soldier Field this week — proud in the latest edition of the NFL’s longest rivalry, which the Packers lead 98-95-6. Green Bay has won 16 of the past 19; Rodgers is 17-5.
Chicago’s defense hardly slacked, getting five sacks — tying the most it has had against Rodgers. But it could do little with the ball and the Packers had five sacks of Mitchell Trubisky, who never found his stride, and was sacked on Chicago’s final offensive play. Former Bears safety Adrian Amos picked off an end-zone pass thrown into double coverage with 1:58 left, the only turnover of the contest.
Mason Crosby made a 39-yard field goal for Green Bay, while defending NFC North champion Chicago got a 38-yarder from Eddy Pineiro.
Bears fans rejoiced in relief on Pineiro’s first-quarter field goal. The last such kick on Soldier Field was Cody Parkey’s double-doink off the goalpost and crossbar that sent Chicago home from the wild card round. Pineiro, a second-year player from Florida, was an immediate hero in the Windy City.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images
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Each team had 10 penalties, there was a total of 467 yards of only offense, and several drops.
The NFL opted to go for a history-tinged opener rather than having the Super Bowl champions host the first game. New England will be at home to Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
Bary Wilner is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Behind-defense-Aaron-Rodgers-Packers-beat-Bears-14418095.php.