GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is sacked by Henry Melton #69 and Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on January 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Aaron Rodgers;Henry Melton;Brian Urlacher
With the playoffs on the line for the Packers, Green Bay beat Chicago 10-3 at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The loss did not hurt the Bears playoff standing, as they clinched the first-round bye and second seed in the playoffs last week.
The Bears came out flat in the first half. With all starters playing, the Bears only picked up two first down, both thanks to Matt Forte runs. With those runs, he has passed the 1,000-yard mark on the season. The decision to play the starters hurt the Bears early, as linebacker Nick Roach was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury, and Major Wright with a hip injury, but the first team on both offense and defense played the entire game.
Chicago got the first points on the game with a Robbie Gould field goal. The Bears got into the red zone with big runs from Matt Forte and a clutch catch from Rashied Davis, but was unable to get in the end zone. Cutler was sacked on third down, setting up a 30-yard field goal for Gould.
That field goal was the only score of the first half, as the Packers could not get near the end zone, even with the help of a questionable roughing the passer call after the two-minute warning. Julius Peppers rushed Rodgers and knocked him to the ground, going shoulder-to-shoulder, milliseconds after Rodgers had released the ball. Despite the extra down and yardage, Rodgers could not complete the next few passes to his receivers, and the Pack was forced to punt in their final possession.
The quarterbacks exchanged interceptions to start off the second half. First, Rodgers was picked off by Charles "Peanut" Tillman, who returned the ball 42 yards to the Green Bay 15-yard line. But the Bears wasted the opportunity. First, Roberto Garza was flagged for holding, then Cutler forced a pass to Johnny Knox, who was sandwiched by Packers defenders. Charlie Peprah intercepted the pass to stop the Bears drive.
Travon Williams returned a Maynard punt 41 yards, setting up Packers in Bears territory. Green Bay got to the 1-yard line, but a Tommie Harris sack on third down kept Green Bay from getting a touchdown. They settled for a field goal.
The Packers finally began to look like a team hungry for the playoffs in the third quarter. Rodgers hit Donald Driver and Greg Jennings for long receptions before connecting with Donald Lee for a short touchdown to give Green Bay the lead early in the fourth quarter.
The offensive line fell down on the job, allowing Cutler to get sacked six times over the game, the most since the ugly loss to the Seahawks. Cutler played a part, as well, holding onto the ball for much too long, even with Packers defenders closing in.
Chicago showed signs of life in the final drive, moving the ball well until Cutler threw an interception, effectively ending the game. Cutler finished the game with two interceptions, 0 touchdowns and just 168 yards.
Next, the Bears will have the first weekend of playoffs to rest, and won't find out their opponent until a week from today.