Brett Hundley's fiery side impresses Packers, leads to 'best game' in first win

CHICAGO -- Who gets yelled at and likes it?

Lane Taylor does.

So does David Bakhtiari.

And Corey Linsley.

The three make up the heart of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line and when their quarterback -- their backup quarterback, to be exact -- barked at them in the huddle during practice last week, they looked at each other and had the same reaction.

“Hell yeah,” recalled Taylor, the Packers left guard. “I just remember coming out afterward and thinking, 'He just got after us, hell yeah.'"

If this wasn’t Brett Hundley cracking under the pressure of a three-game losing streak since Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone put Hundley in that huddle, then what was it?

“It was good,” said Linsley, the Packers' center. “It was awesome. I think Brett turned it up this week, obviously. He came in with a mission.”

Maybe Hundley heard what Bears left guard Josh Sitton, the long-time former Packers Pro Bowler, said last week about rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and played a game of copycat. Sitton praised the Bears quarterback for telling his offensive linemen to "Get the f--- back in the huddle, and don't break it until I break it,” and Sitton loved it.

Bakhtiari, the Packers left tackle, played next to Sitton long enough for some of that attitude to rub off on him.

“I liked it,” Bakhtiari said as he walked out of the visitors' locker room at Soldier Field on Sunday. “You want a quarterback that commands the huddle.

“That’s a leadership quality. Me and Sitton, we’ve spent a lot of time together, so maybe we’re kind of cut from the same cloth. We appreciate that stuff.”

It may not have made any kind of impact on Sunday, when the Packers finally won for the first time without Rodgers. Their 23-16 victory over the Bears wasn’t necessarily a thing of beauty -- it was more of the grind-it-out variety -- but Hundley made just enough plays to make everyone around him feel a little better about their chance to stay relevant until Rodgers could possibly return in the final three weeks of the regular season.

Hundley made two of the best throws he has unleashed since he took over -- both of them to Davante Adams. There was the 19-yard touchdown on the back-shoulder fade that Rodgers practically perfected, and the 42-yard deep completion for a key first down. Both came in the fourth quarter.

Hundley on Sunday didn’t even attempt a pass thrown 15 yards or more downfield until the fourth quarter, but when he did he hit on all three of them for a total of 79 yards, including the Adams touchdown. Before Sunday, Hundley was just 3-of-15 for 66 yards with an interception on such throws, according to ESPN Stats & Information data tracking.

The Packers ran more times (37) than they threw it, but Hundley was efficient with 212 yards passing on 18-of-25 attempts and one touchdown without an interception for a 110.8 passer rating.

“I thought Brett Hundley played his best game of the year,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Just handling the different situations, particularly the high pressure there in the fourth quarter.”

Hundley even gutted it out after he injured his hamstring, something he said will not be an issue this week when he prepares for Sunday’s game against the Ravens at Lambeau Field.

When asked what prompted his more forceful approach in practice last week, Hundley said: “Just myself. That’s all I can be, that’s all I ever will be and you know I love the guys, I have a lot of respect for them and we just got out there and did our thing. We detailed our work a lot this week and it paid off.”

There was even some of the Hundley spark during Sunday’s rain-soaked game in Chicago. At one point, there was a miscommunication between him and Linsley on a protection call, and Linsley said Hundley handled it perfectly.

“He was upset but he kind of took over and said, ‘Screw it, forget about what we got hurt on earlier, that was on me. Just do this, and I’ll make sure we’re right,’” Linsley said.

“I was like, 'Good for him.' ... So it was awesome for him to take that leadership step.”