GREEN BAY – With the game and arguably the season on the line, Marc Trestman made a decision. And it had nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers being on the sideline in street clothes with a broken collarbone.
It had to do with putting the game in the hands of his best unit and to send his offense back out on the field on a fourth-and-inches from his own 32-yard line, in Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers simply don’t lose, and where the Bears hadn’t won since 2007.
Maybe this was the precise moment for which GM Phil Emery had built the team, with an offense capable of not just not losing games, but outright winning them.
His players were in his ear, if not directly, then all around making “let’s go for it” comments that weren’t actually to Trestman, but the coach knew what his team wanted to do.
“We were all wanting to go,” rookie tackle Jordan Mills said, waving his hands in a feverish circle.
“We were over there talking about it and letting Marc process it,” said quarterback Josh McCown.
The decision then became what play, and the call was for Matt Forte to run left and bounce the play outside. “Matt needed to make one guy miss,” said left tackle Jermon Bushrod, “and he did.”
From there followed the rest of an 18-play drive gaining 95 yards, losing 15 on two penalties, finishing with a 27-yard field goal by Robbie Gould for the final 27-20 margin.
The defense then sealed the evening with sacks by Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin, the latter’s third of the game to go with two tackles for loss and three other quarterback hits.
“We definitely felt a lot of pressure, and we needed a game like this where we stepped up,” said McClellin, whose first sack resulted in Rodgers’ broken collarbone. “It was a team win.”
Maybe it was a referendum on what Emery has been doing with the roster over the past two years, all with the effect of producing an offense that piled up 442 yards on Monday with a No. 2 quarterback after more than 300 in the second half of a near-miss against the Washington Redskins 15 days ago.
[WATCH -- PGL: Bears passing game flowing nicely]
In the end, all the work left the Bears at 5-3, tied with Detroit and Green Bay for the NFC North lead, and Detroit coming to Soldier Field next Sunday after their off week.
“We have a long way to go,” Trestman said. “[The record] doesn’t mean much right now. It will mean a lot more down the road here.”