First, after the Bears put together their best and longest drive of the game, safety Adrian Amos picked off QB Mitch Trubisky in the end zone on third-and-10 from the Green Bay 16. Then, a four-and-out was capped by a sack in the final minute and a half, with the Bears unable to mount another threat.
“That was huge,” Lowry said of the way the defense finished the night. “Going into the game, we knew it was a prime-time game, the whole country was watching. So we wanted to really create an identity for ourselves being a top-five defense in the NFL, and we think we’re on track to doing that.”
Special teams did its part in a couple of instances, too. Crosby followed up his field goal with a perfect, bounding squib kick that forced the dangerous Cordarelle Patterson to take a knee in the end zone. Given Patterson’s track record, any high, deep kickoff that didn’t clear the back of the end zone was coming out, and Crosby took away the opportunity.
Then, after the offense stalled following the Amos interception, second-year punter JK Scott boomed a 63-yarder that sent returner Tarik Cohen running back to make an over-the-shoulder catch on his own 10-yard line. A penalty on Cohen’s return made the Bears start their final desperation drive on their own 14, an effective net of 59 yards.
“Mentally, the key would be remaining the same,” Scott said of executing in the most important moments. “Don’t change. Don’t do anything different. Don’t try to kick harder, don’t try to create something when you’re out there. Really just stay the same, do the same things, and you’ll get the same results.”
Given all that transpired down the stretch in Week 1, it’s fair to say the offense is still the one playing catch-up. Crunch time mirrored the game as a whole.
As Rodgers noted, a touchdown to make it a two-score game would have been ideal, or one first down in the final two minutes after the pick would have rendered Scott’s punt and the last defensive stand unnecessary. There certainly was room to do more.