NFL Game Summary - Chicago at Green Bay|
(Sunday, December 25th)
Final Score: Green Bay 35, Chicago 21
Green Bay, WI (Sports Network) - Aaron Rodgers threw for 283 yards and a
career-high five touchdowns on 21-of-29 passing as the Green Bay Packers
wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 35-21 win
over the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.
"We wanted the path to go through Lambeau," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
"We have a great home-field advantage here."
The Packers have won their last 12 home games. The victory also established a
new franchise record for wins in a season.
Jordy Nelson caught six balls for 115 yards and two scores, while James Jones
had four receptions for 50 yards and two touchdowns for the Packers (14-1),
who bounced back after suffering their first loss of the season last Sunday in
Kansas City, 19-14.
The win gives the Packers the luxury of getting healthy before starting their
defense of the Lombardi Trophy three weeks from now.
Green Bay's leading receiver Greg Jennings missed his second consecutive game
with a sprained left knee. The Packers were also without their two starting
tackles. Left tackle Chad Clifton hasn't played since October due to hamstring
and back issues, but he returned to practice this week. Right tackle Bryan
Bulaga missed Sunday's game due to a left knee sprain.
"I think we need to get healthy, that's the most important thing," Rodgers
said. "This was a good win for us, to get back on the right track, get the No.
1 seed. Now that we have the top seed locked up, the priorities may shift a
On the other side, the Bears have been extremely hampered by injuries.
The Bears (7-8) have lost five straight games since Jay Cutler suffered a
broken thumb in a 31-20 win over San Diego on November 20.
Matt Forte hasn't played since Week 13 due to a sprained MCL, and back-up
running back Marion Barber missed Sunday night's confrontation due to a calf
Third-string running back Kahlil Bell got the start and carried the ball 23
times for 121 yards for the Bears, who were eliminated from playoff
contention. The defeat also clinched a playoff berth for Atlanta, which plays
New Orleans at the Superdome on Monday night.
Josh McCown made his first start since 2007, taking over for Caleb Hanie who
threw nine interceptions in Chicago's last four games. McCown finished the
contest with 242 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.
"When you're playing a ball club like Green Bay, and a quarterback like Aaron,
who is not going to blink, they're going to play really well. You can't
(blink)," McCown said. "It's a tough assignment, but you have to find
a way to pull it off. We were just short tonight."
Chicago marched 71 yards in six plays on its opening possession of the second
half, which was capped off when Edwin Williams recovered Bell's fumble in the
end zone to cut the margin to 14-10.
But the Packers' offense seized control, scoring touchdowns on each of their
first three second-half possessions.
On a play-action bootleg, Rodgers found a wide-open Nelson for a 55-yard
touchdown and a 21-10 lead.
After a Bears three-and-out, the Packers went on a lengthy 12-play, 75-yard
drive, which concluded when Rodgers flipped a quick slant to Jones for a
seven-yard touchdown and a 28-10 advantage late in the third quarter.
McCown's pass intended for Earl Bennett was intercepted by Charlie Peprah on
Chicago's ensuing series.
Rodgers hit Nelson for a 25-yard completion down the left sideline, and three
plays later Rodgers had his fifth TD pass of the contest, a two-yard back-
shoulder fade to Nelson for a 35-10 cushion early in the fourth quarter.
McCown hit Kellen Davis for a one-yard score on Chicago's ensuing series and
the Bears tacked on two points on McCown's run up the middle. Robbie Gould
added a 30-yard field goal with 1:11 remaining to account for the final
Rodgers picked apart Chicago's defense on Green Bay's nine-play, 80-yard
opening drive. Rodgers completed all eight of his passes for 77 yards and
capped the march with a two-yard TD pass to Jermichael Finley.
The Bears clamped down defensively and forced three consecutive Green Bay
three-and-outs, but the offense couldn't capitalize on their scoring
Gould's 49-yard field goal attempt sliced wide right to waste Chicago's 11-
play, 60-yard opening drive, and Clay Matthews intercepted McCown with the
Bears just outside the red zone on their third offensive series..
The Bears finally put points on the board on their next possession when
Gould's 35-yard field goal split the uprights with 1:56 left in the half.
But the explosive Packers offense could only be held down for so long.
Rodgers took the ensuing possession 65 yards in seven plays before finding
Jones for a two-yard score with 16 seconds left in the half.
With 4,643 passing yards, Rodgers topped Lynn Dickey's franchise record of
4,458 yards in 1983...The 1962, 1996, 1997 and 2007 Packers all won 13 games
during their respective campaigns...Rodgers has thrown a TD pass in 29
straight games at home...Rodgers has 45 touchdown passes this season...Donald
Driver had two receptions for 29 yards and became the first Packer to eclipse
the 10,000-yard receiving plateau. Driver now has 10,008 yards for his career.
12/26 01:07:31 ET