GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It has come to this when analyzing Aaron Rodgers: About the only thing he did wrong in a 41-25 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night was miss a wide-open Davante Adams for what would have been an 80-yard touchdown on the opening play of the Green Bay Packers' third drive of the game.
That turned out to be nothing more than nitpicking after Rodgers used the next 12 plays to turn it into an 80-yard scoring drive the hard way. He side-armed a pass to Allen Lazard to end the third possession the same way he did the first two: with a touchdown pass. Before the 2-yarder to Lazard with linebacker Roquan Smith in his face, Rodgers hit tight end Marcedes Lewis for a 5-yard, play-action touchdown pass, and before that, he threw a 12-yarder to -- who else? -- Adams.
It marked the 30th time that Rodgers threw three touchdowns in a half since he became the starter in 2008. Only Drew Brees (31) has more in that span. This was Rodgers' 10th game with three touchdown passes against the Bears, moving him ahead of Brett Favre for the most such games against the Bears in NFL history.
On Rodgers' fourth touchdown pass -- a 39-yarder to tight end Robert Tonyan, who has seven TD catches this season -- he surpassed the 50,000-yard mark for his career. He did so in his 192nd career game, marking the fourth-fewest games needed to reach the milestone.
Rodgers made a four-touchdown game look easy, completing 21-of-29 passes for 211 yards and a 132.3 rating.
Sunday night's win over the slumping Bears at Lambeau Field once again raised the question: Who is better than the Packers (8-3) in the NFC?
There's certainly no one better in the NFC North, in which one team (Detroit) just fired its coach and general manager, one (Chicago) has a five-game losing streak and the other (Minnesota) had to win four of its past five just to get to 5-6.
The Packers play the Bears and Lions again and have only game left against a team currently with a winning record: the Tennessee Titans (8-3) in Week 16.
Promising trend I: Rodgers, coming off Sunday's OT loss to the Indianapolis Colts, has not lost consecutive starts since Weeks 11-13 of 2018. That's 32 straight starts without losing consecutive games, the second longest such streak of his career. Rodgers' longest is 39 straight from Week 7 of 2010 to Week 12 of 2012.
Promising trend II: Adams' touchdown catch on the opening drive was his 500th career reception, and he became the fastest to that mark in Packers history, reaching it in his 95th career game. He beat Sterling Sharpe by one game and joined Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and James Lofton in the Packers' 500 club. Adams also caught a touchdown pass in his sixth straight game (finishing with six catches for 61 yards), tied for the third-longest string in Packers history. Only Don Hutson had longer streaks, with seven straight games in 1941-42 and 1943-44.
Promising trend III: Have the Packers' turned the corner with takeaways? They had only seven in the first nine games of the season but have taken the ball away five times in the past two games, including three against the Bears. Only the Texans (with five) came into the day with fewer takeaways than the Packers (nine). Safety Darnell Savage had his first career two-interception game. He showed off his first-rounder speed by tracking a deep ball interception in the end zone for his first pick of the season and just the Packers' sixth. He added another in the second half. Za'Darius Smith had a strip-sack fumble that Preston Smith recovered and returned for a touchdown. Preston Smith, whose production had waned, lost his starting spot to Rashan Gary.