Wilde’s 3-and-out: Packers 31, Bears 23

Did Giants, Raiders underestimate the ability of James Jones?

Three quick takeaways from the Green Bay Packers’ 31-23 victory over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field:

1. Keeping up with the Joneses:  Either wide receiver James Jones really is that much better in the Packers’ offense than he was in the Oakland Raiders’ and New York Giants’ systems – he also could be that much better with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback than those other QBs – or Jones’ former teams seriously underestimated the value of the veteran wideout and his ability to be productive when given the opportunity.

Jones caught three touchdown passes – two that counted, one that was wiped out by a holding penalty – and officially finished with four receptions for 51 yards and two touchdowns and played nearly every snap as the Packers’ No. 3 receiver with Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.

Ty Montgomery, the rookie third-round pick who would’ve been the No. 3 wide receiver in the wake of Jordy Nelson’s season-ending knee injury had the Packers not added Jones, played one snap on offense, while Jeff Janis did not play on offense until the final snap in the victory formation.

Jones, who officially signed with the Packers on Monday after being cut by the Giants on the final roster reduction, spend his first seven NFL seasons with the Packers before playing in Oakland last year.

2. Same ol’ Jay: Just when you thought Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had moved past his mistake-prone ways against the Packers – in his previous 11 starts against the Packers, he’d thrown at least one interception in each and every one – he threw a backbreaking interception to linebacker Clay Matthews with just under four minutes to play and the Bears driving for a chance to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion.

The Packers had just gone three-and-out and the Bears had driven to the Green Bay 28-yard line when Cutler dropped back and tried to get the ball to tight end Martellus Bennett. Matthews, who spent virtually all game at inside linebacker, dropped back and read the play perfectly, snaring Cutler’s throw and picking it off. He then returned the ball 48 yards, giving the Packers offense the ball in Chicago territory with 3:41 to play.

Cutler finished having completed 18 of 36 passes for 225 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a passer rating of 67.5.

3. M-V-P! M-V-P!:  While Cutler’s  problems against the Packers continued, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was his usual self against the Bears. Rodgers came into the game having gone 12-3 as a starter against Chicago – with one of the losses coming in the 2013 game in which he broke his collarbone – and having thrown 31 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions in those games.

On Sunday, Rodgers was again masterful against the Packers’ longtime rivals, completing 18 of 23 passes for an efficient 189 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions, no sacks and a passer rating of 140.5.

In addition, Rodgers continued what he’d showed glimpses of during his brief preseason cameos: With a healthy left calf – something he did not have down the stretch and in the playoffs a year ago – he is also able to move around in and out of the pocket and extend plays. Rodgers not only was elusive against the Bears’ pass rush, he also added 35 rushing yards on seven attempts before the final kneel-down.