The Chicago Bears are on a downward spiral, losing five in a row, most recently to their biggest NFC North rival, the Green Bay Packers. Chicago was thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball in the loss, its third in a row to Green Bay and head coach Matt LaFleur, who remains undefeated against Matt Nagy and the Bears.
One of the bright spots for Chicago this season, however, has been rookie corner Jaylon Johnson. Entering the game against Green Bay, Johnson was allowing a 50.8 percent completion percentage, and his 13 passes defensed were third in the NFL.
It was Johnson LaFleur chose to single out in his media session Monday — and not in a good way. LaFleur was asked about a specific play against the Bears, a third quarter hit Johnson placed on Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard. It was a hard, clean hit by Johnson, who wasn’t flagged, and LaFleur acknowledged this. But the Packers coach took offense to what came after.
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Packers HC Matt LaFleur: ‘I Don’t Think it’s Very Sportsmanslike’
The hit from Johnson forced an incompletion, and Lazard left the field temporarily after it, returning later in the game. LaFleur said that while the hit was clean, he didn’t appreciate what Johnson did after it.
“I thought it was a clean hit,” LaFleur said, not using Johnson’s name at all when he spoke about him. “The guy lowered his strike zone, appeared to hit him with his shoulder … I didn’t like the aftermath of the catch. Any time you see somebody down and in some pain, I don’t think it’s very sportsmanlike to stand over him and talk crap or whatever they were doing … I know that upset our sideline, and I’d hate to see that if we did that to an opponent.”
Here’s a look at the play:
Rookie Jaylon Johnson rocks Allen Lazard to jar the ball loose 💥pic.twitter.com/xeO5SXd8Yz
— PFF (@PFF) November 30, 2020
It’s clear the hit was clean, and Johnson did stare down and likely trash talk Lazard, who was still on the turf after the play. While LaFleur may or may not have a point about Johnson’s behavior after the hit, he’s also either deliberately overlooking or completely unaware of the behavior of his own players, who also displayed multiple acts of unsportsmanlike conduct in the same game that weren’t as covered or discussed publicly.
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Matt LaFleur Must Have Missed Kevin King Throwing Punches in the Game…
LaFleur noting he would hate to see his team behaving in the manner Johnson did seems odd, particularly when one of his players was throwing punches that never saw yellow flags. Several fans and analysts saw Packers cornerback Kevin King throw multiple punches at multiple Bears players, and called him out on Twitter.
Shoutout to the refs for allowing Kevin King to attack two (2!) #Bears offensive linemen without getting a penalty called on him
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) November 30, 2020
Kevin King punches Darnell Mooney as another player holds him.
Mitch Trubisky gets face masked twice as he fumbled the ball for a TD.
Charles Leno gets bullrushed and they call it a hold. pic.twitter.com/zJ7Wg8HsmG
— Max Markham (@MaxMarkhamNFL) November 30, 2020
Sidenote: Missed punch by Kevin King and two facemasks on one play. Be you, @NFLOfficiating.
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) November 30, 2020
But Kevin king can punch Mooney
— 🌏Sam_I_AM🌟 (@Sam_I_AM1013) November 30, 2020
Here’s video of King throwing a punch at Bears wideout Darnell Mooney after the play was clearly over:
— Jake Morley (@JacobMorley) November 30, 2020
For his part, Johnson spoke last month about the importance of having a short memory at his position, so it’s unlikely he’s going to care too much about anything LaFleur has to say. Still, it may be less hypocritical of LaFleur if he recognized that his own players aren’t “very sportsmanlike” at times, either, particularly if he’s going to call out others for it.