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Sports Authority

Ivey: Bears constantly losing to Packers a problem sign

| Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, my good friend and fellow columnist Marek Mazurek wrote an article responding to a piece I had written earlier about the Chicago Bears and how I didn’t believe they would be able to put a positive spin on their season.

In his column, Marek expressed a more optimistic mindset about the direction of the franchise and said that Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky will be at the forefront of that bright future.

I respect Marek’s opinion. Hell, in the end I hope he’s right and the Bears are able to finally figure it out after years of running in circles.

But for now it just doesn’t look that way. The Bears are currently 3-6 after Sunday’s loss to the Packers.

Another thing that has me doubting the future of this team — the four word statement “loss to the Packers.”

Over the years, Bears fans have heard those four words way too often.

Since 1990, the Bears’ record against their most hated rival is 18-39. The two wins the Packers have picked up against the Bears this season has given them the advantage in the all-time series head-to-head record at 96-94-6, a lead the Bears once held comfortably.

Ever since Brett Favre came into the picture 25 years ago, the Bears have been the little brother that gets smacked around by big brother in the most historic sibling rivalry in NFL history. Once Favre “retired” from the Packers, Aaron Rodgers took over as the grim reaper of the Chicago Bears.

If the Bears are ever going to get their franchise back on track again, a big component will be winning divisional games, especially ones against Green Bay.

It’s not just that the Bears lose. It’s also how they lose.

Rodgers and the Packers seem to save some of their most meaningful performances of the season for their neighbors down south.

Take Sunday for example. The Packers came into Soldier Field on a three-game losing streak dating back to the injury of Rodgers. Green Bay looked so bad that tight end Martellus Bennet actually quit on the team. Then they got the win they so desperately needed against none other than the Bears. Packers backup quarterback Brett Hundley led his team to a gritty win when they needed it the most.

Even without Rodgers, the Bears still couldn’t beat the Packers.

Trubisky looked pretty good during the game, finishing 21-35 with 297 yards and a touchdown pass. There’s still plenty of room to grow, but the young quarterback will soon have to learn how to face a Packer team with the added boost of Rodgers in the lineup.

Rodgers seems to know the exact formula of how to make Bears fans miserable. Take last season’s Bears-Packers game at Soldier Field for instance. The Bears were well out of playoff contention, but the Packers were in the midst of a race for the division championship. For us Bears fans, nothing would have been sweeter than knocking the Packers out of contention. It seemed like it could happen too. The Bears scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 27-27. The Packers faced third-and-11 with 40 seconds to go before overtime. Rodgers proceeded to throw a 60-yard completion to Jordy Nelson to put the Packers in field goal range. They kicked a field goal and won 30-27.

Even though it was a meaningless game for the Bears, it still felt heartbreaking.

Then there are the games that actually meant a lot to the Bears. In the final game of the 2013 season, the Bears and Packers met in a game that would decide the winner of the division, with the loser being eliminated from playoff contention. The Bears were winning 28-27 with 46 seconds left in the game and the Packers facing a fourth down with eight yards to go. With their season on the line, Rodgers threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to give Green Bay a 33-28 lead. The Packers moved on. The Bears went home.

I still have nightmares about that play.

Oh yeah, there was also that time the Packers beat the Bears 21-14 in the 2010 NFC conference championship game to advance to Super Bowl XLV, which they would eventually win.

The Packers eliminating the Bears on their way to winning the Super Bowl. It doesn’t get any worse than that.

The rivalry has become a joke, and the Bears are the punch line. A lot of the Bears’ struggles in recent years can be traced back to bad coaching and personnel decisions. Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith used to be the target of a lot of criticism, and for good reason. But one thing you couldn’t criticize him for was his passion for the rivalry with the Packers. It’s hard to figure out if current Bears head coach John Fox is passionate about anything.

In the end I hope Marek’s prediction is correct. Who knows, maybe Trubisky will become the grim reaper of the Green Bay Packers the way Rodgers currently is to the Bears. Maybe the Bears will finally get over the hump and regain their pride in the rivalry.

Years of traumatic experiences have made it hard for me to believe it will happen, though.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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