As commenter PF4L alluded to, TV viewers didn’t get the full story on the touchdown that gave the Packers the margin of victory over the Bears. I too was mystified at the time by the play.
The scoring drive was set up by the highlight-reel Rodgers heave of 47 yards to Marquez Valdes-Scantling at the beginning of the second quarter. Suddenly the Packers had life. Going up-tempo, they moved smoothly down to the Chicago 8-yard line, where they had a 1st and ten. While the network had superimposed a graphic about Davante Adams on the screen, you could see the Pack way in the distance routinely break the huddle as a Bears player came onto the field. Only after he reached the formation did another Chicago player start racing right-to-left toward the sideline. He didn’t quite make it before Rodgers got the snap.
Though it wasn’t caused by a hurry-up no-huddle play, once it was obvious to Rodgers that the Bears had 12 players on the field he knew he had a free play. When the QB didn’t spot anyone open, he smartly decided to put the ball into play somewhere. With the pocket collapsing, and facing another direction and on his back foot, he flipped a floater toward a stationary Jimmy Graham, who had safety Deon Bush standing right next to him.
Probably because Rodgers wasn’t in the proper passing position, Bush was caught flat-footed, allowing Jimmy to make a nearly uncontested catch. The TV announcers apparently never noticed the infraction, which we now know drew a flag which was of course quickly declined.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. The Bears contributed greatly to their demise on Thursday night – including a slew of penalties that left them with a third down and 40 to go as they tried to come back in the fourth quarter. But we’ll take it.