The Chicago Bears entered Sunday night hanging their hat on defense, owning the ability to shut down opponents with relative ease, giving their offense at least a chance to win games. Aaron Rodgers took that hat, ripped it to shreds, stomped on it and tossed it in a dumpster of flames.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback took whatever he wanted Sunday night. Making off-balance hole-shots look easy, torturing Bears defensive backs with pinpoint accuracy, and generally making the 41-25 demolition look easy.
"This is as good as I've ever seen anybody play," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said, via The Athletic. "Just his ability to go out there and get us in the right looks and, shoot, even when I make a bad call, he definitely makes us look good. So that's a credit to him. In my eyes, he's an MVP player. No doubt about it. And I wouldn't want any other quarterback on our football team."
Rodgers' yardage stats weren't sky-high Sunday night -- 21-of-29 for 211 yards -- but his four TDs were massive, as was his 132.3 passer rating.
The Packers quarterback is certainly in the MVP conversation, though he would need Patrick Mahomes to slow down in December to swipe the award. Russell Wilson sits as the third man in the race for the MVP award.
Rodgers leads the NFL in passer rating (117.6) and ranks second in TD-INT ratio (33-4) in 2020 -- only Mahomes has a better TD-INT ratio (30-2).
The Packers average 31.7 points per game in 2020 (second-most in the NFL entering MNF), the most by Green Bay since 2011 (35.0; finished 15-1) when Rodgers won his first MVP award.
Rodgers and Mahomes are the sixth and seventh QBs to have 30-plus passing TDs and a 115 or better passer rating in the first 11 games of a season (Wilson can join on MNF). All five previous QBs to do so won NFL MVP, entering 2020 (including Rodgers, twice).
Rodgers has four straight games with a 70-plus completion percentage, the longest active streak in NFL, tying his single-season career-high streak, done in 2010 (won SB).
On Sunday night, Rodgers generated three TDs and no interceptions in the first half for the fourth time in 2020. No other player has done so more than twice in a first half this season. It marked the QB's 23rd career game with four or more passing TDs, 0 INT, and a 125 or better passer rating, tied for the most by any player since at least 1950, per NFL Research.
The 16-year-pro credited his stalwart offensive line, which, even through injuries that required reshuffling, has kept the QB upright. Rodgers has been sacked just 11 times this season, putting him on pace for 16 for the year, which would be a career-low since he took over as a starter in 2008.
"For a soon-to-be 37-year-old, that's my dream," Rodgers said. "That's an amazing feeling to go home and not be feeling like an almost-37-year-old. I've been feeling really, really good all season, so I appreciate those boys up front."
Rodgers' MVP-caliber season was jumpstarted way back on draft night when the Packers selected his eventual replacement, Jordan Love, in the first round. Since that night, the QB has been on a spite tour, torching all in his path.
On Sunday night, that meant the Bears were in for a world of hurt.
"I see him pretty dialed in all the time, but obviously when you're executing at a different level, I think it's a little bit more obvious," wideout Davante Adams said. "But that's what he does. That's the way that he is. And especially this year, that's what we expect from him, and we're going to need (that) to make a push at this thing."
Sitting at 8-3, the Packers clinching the NFC North division seems a formality after Sunday night. The goal now becomes leapfrogging New Orleans for the top spot in the conference and making a deep postseason run into February, which has eluded Rodgers and the Packers since hoisting the Lombardi in 2010.