Rodgers matchup something Bears' Gordon must learn, grow from


GREEN BAY, Wisc. – Kyler Gordon knew it was coming.

But just like trying to outrun a tidal wave, the Bears' rookie cornerback could do little to stop Aaron Rodgers from picking on him Sunday night.

"There's definitely a lot of things that I want to do better," Gordon said after the Bears' 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. "I know there's more plays out there that I know that I can make. It's really just a learning experience for me to take from it and go back and learn from it."

The 38-year-old Rodgers went after Gordon from the jump Sunday night. It didn't matter whether Gordon was outside when the Bears were in base or nickel. The Packers were going after the second-round pick out of Washington.

On the first drive, Sammy Watkins beat Gordon for 14, and then Allen Lazard beat him for 8. Later in the drive, Rodgers thought Lazard had Gordon beat for a touchdown, but the rookie recovered nicely to knock the ball away and hold the Packers to a field goal.

But Rodgers went back to the well over and over again Sunday night, and he and Lazard linked up for a touchdown against Gordon on a 5-yard slant right before halftime to give the Packers a 24-7 lead.

Unofficially, Gordon gave up six completions and a touchdown while missing several tackles.

In no uncertain terms, it was trial by fire for Gordon against Rodgers. Once the Hall of Fame quarterback smelled blood, he refused to let the rookie out of the torture chamber.

There was little Gordon could do Sunday night to stop the Packers from going at him. But his first battle with Rodgers now is a data point he plans to use to be ready for what comes next.

"I definitely did learn a lot from Rodgers," Gordon said. "Just how I can move throughout the defense and then just me, myself, personal stuff that I can do.

"Really, it's more the mental side of the game, the battles, and knowing and positioning myself in a better way to make the play. That's what I'll be ready for next time."

Bears star cornerback Jaylon Johnson has been in Gordon's shoes. He recalled teams picking on him "damn near every game" during his rookie season when Kyle Fuller was on the opposite side of the field.

On Sunday, Rodgers never even looked Johnson's way. Why waste the time when you already have the matchup you want?

Johnson could do nothing but sit and watch as Rodgers had his way with Gordon. That's life as a cornerback.

"S—t, keep playing," Johnson said after the game when asked about his message to Gordon. It's part of the league. People going to have those games where people come after them. You just have to figure out a way to get them off your back at the end of the day. But s--t, it happens to the best of us.

"It ain't too much to teach. You got to feel it of course. You got to go through it. You can't erase it. Just keep his head up. We've all had them, people at the cornerback position, you know what that feeling is like. There's not too much you can really tell somebody that's a competitor, that wants to win, that wants to of course not having quarterbacks going after you. You just got to keep going at the end of the day."

After the game, Gordon was bothered by the outcome of his first trip to Lambeau Field. Who wouldn't be? But he didn't sulk. He wasn't despondent.

It's just the latest step in his very young NFL journey.

"It's frustrating but I'm not mad at it because I'm going to learn from it," Gordon said. "It's experience that I want and I will learn and grow from."

Gordon's NFL future may very well be bright. But for now, he's still just a rookie. Quarterbacks are going to keep going after him every week.

"It's part of playing the cornerback position, especially going against a Hall of Fame quarterback," Johnson said. "It ain't too much to say. Just have a short memory, keep moving forward. He did some good things and there's some things he got to learn from. But that's each and every game so no hesitation or anything like that. Just got to keep moving forward."

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