The Inexplicable, Historic Chicago Bear Killer: Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb scoring the game-winning touchdown in Week 1 of the 2018 season - (Youtube/NFL via NBC)

When Randall Cobb was with the Green Bay Packers he, time and time again, won over every cheesehead by doing one thing — killing the Chicago Bears.

So, why did Randall Cobb dominate the Bears at such a consistent rate?

We don’t exactly know, to be honest.

But we do know that his success against Chicago will forever highlight his legacy as a Green Bay Packer. In fact, it is his legacy as a Packer. We dive into the irrefutable stats that back this up below.

But one things is true: Cobb is a four-letter word in Chicago.

Randall Cobb never was the featured wide receiver in Green Bay. He’s always played second, third or even fourth fiddle as a pass catcher for the Packers.

Early on in his career he was behind Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and James Jones. He came into his own when Driver, and eventually Jones, left the team. He and Jordy were a formidable duo in 2014 when they were both named to the Pro Bowl. Since then he’s been reliable, but not a true star player.

2018 was Cobb’s first season in Green Bay without Nelson, but he didn’t take over from Nelson as the team’s top receiver. Davante Adams, who is two years younger than Cobb, had developed into the team’s top receiving threat by that time. It’s a familiar position for Cobb, but this shouldn’t detract from his place in Packers history.

That place is as a modern day “Bear Killer.”

We believe the Packers-Bears Rivalry would look a lot different today without the contributions of Cobb.

Cobb, in 2018, was the Packers’ second best receiver, but in Week One of the season he was undoubtedly the Packers’ most important receiver. With the entire country watching, Cobb proved–yet again–that he isn’t afraid of big moments when playing Chicago.

His game-winning 75 yard touchdown catch and run in primetime, to kickoff the Packers’ 100th season, was an instant-classic moment. It capped off the largest 4th quarter comeback in Green Bay football history, after being down 23-3.

The largest comeback ever. In prime-time. Against the Bears.

But he is no stranger to scoring, especially against the rival to the south.

It was his 40th career touchdown reception for the Packers, which tied him with Boyd Dowler for 11th most all-time in team history — while in Green Bay, he climbed his way up some all-time lists. He finished his Packers career with 41 touchdowns, one spot ahead of Dowler.

But that 40th receiving touchdown also happened to be the longest reception of his career, one of many career highs he’s posted against the Bears (more listed below).

But it wasn’t even the biggest of Cobb’s moments against the Chicago Bears.

In 2013, in the final game of the season with the division title and playoffs on the line, Cobb caught a 48 yard touchdown pass from Rodgers on 4th and 8. The Packers were down 28-27 with just :46 seconds to play. The winner of that game was to be crowned winner of the NFC North and would be on their way to the playoffs. And that was Cobb’s second touchdown reception of the game.

Green Bay won and the Bears still haven’t won a playoff game since 2010.

Yes, Rodgers is a major reason why the Packers have had so much success over the Bears in recent years, but if Cobb wasn’t on this team, it’s likely that the Bears would have won a few more of those games.

Look at it this way:

Cobb’s touchdown in Week One of the 2018 season was his ninth career touchdown against the Bears — that’s five more touchdowns than he has had against any other team.

In fact, 22% of his total career touchdowns have come against Chicago.

Compared to other notable Packers receivers’ percentage of career receiving touchdowns vs the Bears in the Modern Era:

Robert Brooks: 21%

James Jones: 16%

Antonio Freeman: 14%

Carroll Dale: 14%

Davante Adams: 13%

Sterling Sharpe: 12%

Jordy Nelson: 12%

Boyd Dowler: 10%

Greg Jennings: 10%

James Lofton: 8%

Max McGee: 8%

Donald Driver: 5%

For anyone wondering, Don Hutson scored 15% of his receiving touchdowns against the Bears.

Randall Cobb simply got up to play the Bears at a historic rate. It’s a proven fact at this point; no other receiver has been able to up their game to specifically help defeat the Bears while wearing the green and gold quite like him.

Is there a better trait that a player can have Packer Nation?

But it isn’t just the fact that he scores more against the Bears than other team, it’s how consequential many of his touchdowns have been.

In 2014 when Rodgers threw six touchdowns in the first half against the Bears it was still Cobb that made the biggest play of the night. He made the catch of the game and perhaps the season for the Packers. His one-handed touchdown catch, with a defender wrapped all over him as he fully-extended to dive and pulled it in, was astonishing. For good measure there were just :14 seconds left in the half.

There’s something about the clock running down against the Bears that makes Rodgers and Cobb an unstoppable force.

That game was also on Sunday Night Football; some foreshadowing perhaps.

But earlier in 2014 in the Packers’ other matchup with the Bears Cobb made an even bigger impact. Chicago was up 17-14 when Cobb caught his first of two touchdowns en route to leading Green Bay to a 38-17 victory. His second touchdown came in the 4th quarter.

In Week One of the 2015 season the Bears took a 17-16 lead on the Packers, but in the 4th quarter (of course) Rodgers found Cobb for a touchdown to put Green Bay up 24-16. The Packers went on to win 31-23; his touchdown would be the deciding points yet again in a rivalry game with the Bears.

In Week Seven of the following season Cobb, yet again, caught a 4th quarter touchdown against the Bears in a 26-10 victory.

What’s amazing is that Cobb, while in Green Bay, not only caught more touchdowns against the Bears than anyone team, he routinely caught highly consequential touchdowns.

The Best Stat You’ll Read Today:

Five of Cobb’s nine career touchdowns against the Bears have come in the 4th quarter and six of the nine have come in the second half.

How about this stat? Cobb has more 4th quarter touchdowns against the Bears than he has total touchdowns against any other NFL team.

At the conclusion of this 2018’s Week One memorable game, Cobb’s catch percentage against the Bears is the highest of any team he’s played at least four times in his career (79.2%).

His 855 receiving yards against the Bears are also the most he’s had against any team in his career. He hasn’t even posted 600 receiving yards against another team. His 61 receptions against Chicago are, predictably, the most against any team he’s faced. He hasn’t even posted 50 receptions against another team.

His career high of 11 receptions in a single game came against the Bears (also achieved against Tampa Bay). Much like his career high of 142 receiving yards also came against the Bears.

The stats don’t lie, there is no team Randall Cobb would rather face than the Bears.

And some people may say, “It’s because Rodgers is so dominant against the Bears.” And while that may be true, maybe Rodgers wouldn’t have been quite as dominant had he not had Cobb to throw to for the last eight years.

The two just had a special connection that gets even more special when the Bears are the opponent. His last touchdown ever against the Bears, the memorable game-winner in Week One of 2018, was an improvised route in the most crucial moment of the game. That shows how truly special of a player he is, how special he and Rodgers’ relationship was.

If Cobb doesn’t make that play, the Packers’ 100th season celebration would have forever been marred with a loss to the franchise’s biggest rival. Instead it’s the complete opposite. After the game he posted a picture online of his newborn son next to his awarded Sunday Night Football game ball; the first game he played in after his son was born. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Maybe This Is The Best Stat You’ll Read Today:

Randall Cobb finished his career in Green Bay with a career record of 13-1 vs the Bears.

That’s the best record for any player in Packers history vs the Bears (minimum 6 years in Green Bay).

He just had the innate ability to step up in big moments against the team’s biggest rival. All athletes try their hardest in each game, but some players just have this rare trait of being able to give more in certain moments. Cobb has that trait.

He’s certainly one of the more underrated players of the last 30 years of Packers football. Guys that play well in big moments tend to be remembered for decades once they’re gone; Cobb has put himself in that position now that he’s moved on.

And yes, for those of you saying it, it does make total sense that the team you accumulate the most stats against in your career would be a team in your division. However his production against the Lions and Vikings wasn’t nearly as impressive as what he had done against the Bears — the Packers’ biggest rival.

2018’s Week One victory over the Bears, and his game-winning catch, was just another reminder of how good he is when playing Chicago. It also adds to his legacy that many people may have overlooked. It was also the final time he played the Bears in his Packers career and that was his final reception against them.

“Rodgers to Cobb” is a scary phrase for Bears fans, even though we won’t get to see that connection again.

Although it should be noted that Randall Cobb has amassed 60+ receptions in five separate seasons; one of only five players to accomplish that feat all-time in Green Bay. He’s also recorded 261 first downs in his career and has fumbled just twice as a receiver. And he’s scored three touchdowns returning punts/kicks and has a career long rush of 67 yards.

So it’s not like he was just a passenger in this offense for his eight seasons, or just a good player against the Bears, he’s long been a playmaker. I mean, in his last seven postseason games with the Packers he had caught five touchdowns! Some people wanted to run him out of town between for the final few years of his time in Green Bay, but those people simply didn’t understand his value.

I’m betting he will be missed more than most realize.

His versatility truly was historically undervalued. He was the team’s extended-emergency quarterback, he’s thrown passes, he’s ran the ball, and as previously mentioned he still returns punts (803 punt return yards in his career) and probably will in Dallas, too. Even as a receiver he’s versatile; he plays in the slot and is a possession receiver, but could be a deep threat when the Packers needed him to be.

Sure, he won’t be remembered as an all-time player for the Packers or even the best receiver on the team in any given season.

But when the Packers were playing their bitter rival Bears, and the game was on the line, there are few players throughout Packers history that you’d rather have on your side.

That is a legacy worth having.

And now because of Randall Cobb’s influence on the rivalry, the phrase “The Bears Still Suck” sings just as true as ever.

Good luck in the rest of your career, Randall.

Thanks for everything.

Go Pack Go!

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