By Tori Wittenbrock
Associate Sports Editor
CHICAGO, Ill. – After a chippy preseason, with conflict on and off the field with both the Bengals and the Patriots, the Packers again faced some passionate play in their 2023 rivalry play against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Sept. 10.
During the Packers preseason there was no shortage of excitement.
A joint practice between the Packers and the Bengals on Aug. 9 was interrupted when a fight broke out between the two teams in Cincinnati.
The fight broke out when Packers offensive guard, Elgton Jenkins and Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt engaged in some heated trash talk after Jenkins allegedly hit Pratt in a way that provoked both players to come to physical blows.
There are also reports that Bengals’ DJ Reader was involved in a physical altercation with Jenkins.
Days later, both teams were able to rise above and play a relatively clean game at Paycor Stadium, which resulted in a 36-19 win for the Packers.
However, the calm didn’t last for long.
When the New England Patriots came to Green Bay for their preseason faceoff, their joint practice during training camp was again interrupted by a passionate conflict.
Packers linebacker Keshawn Banks engaged in a swinging match with some of the Patriots defensive players, which then provoked fellow players to join the scuffle as well.
Anfernee Jennings of the Patriots was then ejected from the remainder of the practice by Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichek, and both teams agreed to perform together in only one joint practice before their game at Lambeau Field on Aug. 19.
After a brief pregame quarrel during warmups that occurred near the Patriots sideline, the game became only the second in NFL history to be called early due to injury.
The final score of the game was 21-17 as the Patriots led until Patriots player Isaiah Bolden was carted off the field due to injury in a collision that occurred with his own teammate, in a no-doubt heated game between the two teams.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that,” said Love about Bolden’s unexpected injury. “It’s obviously a scary situation and something you never want to see happen.”
Love also said that it had been an aggressive week during their preseason matchup, leading up to that game.
“I think that once you get into the moment of a battle like that, it can’t be something on your mind, because that usually will amplify the risk for injury. You just have to get out there and compete.”
On Sunday, Sept. 10, the Packers finally took the field in their first regular season game at Soldier Field against their longtime rivals, the Chicago Bears.
The game ended in favor of the Packers with a 38-20 victory after a well-played game by the new leading quarterback Jordan Love in his debut game with the team completing 15 out of 27 passes for a total of 245 yards.
However, a passionate Packer team this season has bred a lot of emotions that have translated onto the field.
The game opened with an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Bears, and remained physical throughout.
By the end of the game, the Packers had racked up three penalties for unnecessary roughness, one facemask and one unsportsmanlike conduct, while the Bears only had two penalties for unnecessary roughness and one facemask penalty.
Due to the nature of a longstanding rivalry game as the opening game of the season in a contact sport, some excessive physical nature is to be expected.
While, the total yards these calls cost the Packers did not seem to be a major factor in this game, such penalties may turn up to harm them in the future, costing them valuable yards.
With Love priding himself on leading the team this seasons, many players will be looking to him throughout the season to forge a new path for the Packers that hopefully won’t cost them too many yards through penalties or player injuries.