Packers show they can win with Hundley

CHICAGO — The Green Bay Packers‘ best offense without Aaron Rodgers might be their running game.

If they have any running backs left.

They nearly ran out in Sunday’s 23-16 win at Chicago, and it might make life without their two-time NFL MVP quarterback even tougher than it’s already been if they can’t get Aaron Jones or Ty Montgomery back soon.

On a day when the Packers lost their top two running backs — Jones to a potentially serious knee injury and Montgomery to another rib injury — they answered questions about whether they could win a game with Brett Hundley as their quarterback, even if Hundley didn’t make many game-changing plays.

For the first time since Rodgers broke his collarbone in Week 6, Hundley was the more effective quarterback — but just barely. He made two of the best throws of his three starts to put the game away — a 19-yard back-shoulder touchdown in the fourth quarter to Davante Adams, who has the only two touchdowns that Hundley has thrown since he took over, and a 42-yarder to Adams on third-and-10 with two minutes to play.

Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made the same mistakes that have hampered Hundley of late — the most egregious of which was holding onto the ball for far too long. It allowed a Packers pass rush that has been nonexistent to get home far more often than they have recently.

The Packers won for the first time since Rodgers’ injury, and at 5-4, they avoided falling under .500 for the first time this season. A few more of these and there might be reason for Rodgers to return late in the season; he’s eligible to come off injured reserve no sooner than the Week 15 game at Carolina. With a scuffling Baltimore Ravens team coming to Lambeau Field next Sunday, perhaps there’s a winning streak in the Packers’ future.

Still, it’s worth wondering whether Sunday’s result was simply a function of their opponent. However, te fact that Adams, Montgomery and then Jamaal Williams were able to run the ball against a Bears defense that ranked eighth overall and 13th against the run should give coach Mike McCarthy a baseline for how his team can win sans Rodgers.

Montgomery’s 37-yard touchdown was his fourth career rush of at least 30 yards, all of which have come against the Bears. He had 54 yards on six carries before he reinjured his ribs. Before that, Jones had carried three times for 12 yards. That left Williams as the only remaining halfback active for the game, and he helped grind things out with 67 yards on 20 carries.

Or maybe the Packers will have to rely on their defense, which rediscovered its pass rush. Nick Perry had as many sacks (three) as the Packers had in their previous four games combined.

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