GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay right tackle Bryan Bulaga knows his position is one where not hearing his name usually is a good thing.
Offensive linemen normally don’t score. Lambeau Leaps are not in their repertoire for fear of crushing fans or being dropped.
Bulaga and his linemates labor in relative anonymity and enjoy moments such as wide receiver Donald Driver’s 26-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ 23-10 victory over the Bears Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
Bulaga sprinted to the end zone, swatted Rodgers on the rump and exchanged high-fives with the other linemen.
“When you can give Aaron time like that and he can make all his reads, you have to love it,” said Bulaga, a third-year NFL player from Marian Central. “That [the Bears] is a good pass-rushing team. We were fired up after scoring a touchdown so we celebrated.”
The victory was crucial for the Packers, who dropped their season opener Sunday to San Francisco, 30-22, also at Lambeau. Even for a team with the Packers’ offensive capabilities, losing two home games to start the season could have been difficult to overcome.
“This got us back on the right track and playing with confidence,” Bulaga said. “We didn’t play our best football against San Francisco and we got beat.”
Bulaga (6-foot-5, 314 pounds) saw a variety of Bears line up at left end – Israel Idonije, Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton and Henry Melton – and adeptly did his part protecting Rodgers, the 2011 NFL MVP.
The Bears’ defense kept the Packers’ offense out of the end zone in the first half, although Green Bay scored its first-half touchdown on a faked field goal.
“We need to be able to finish drives better than we did,” Bulaga said. “Our defense played a heck of a game and kept us in it. We need to get back on track and finish drives. There’s a lot of things we need to work on.”
Bulaga, a Crystal Lake native, has been the Packers’ starting right tackle since five games into his rookie season. He became the youngest player to start in a Super Bowl after that season and received lofty accolades from Pro Football Weekly this offseason. That publication tabbed Bulaga on its All-Underrated Team and also ranked him as the No. 6 right tackle.
Bulaga was pleased with the way the Packers rushed the ball with former Bears running back Cedric Benson, who finished with 20 carries for 81 yards.
“We ran the ball well and created some nice holes for Cedric and Randall [Cobb],” he said.