Gotta love having the Packers wrap up two divisional rival series right as I'm studying for finals. I was originally going to write up two posts both this week and last, but my exams have gotten in the way and there will only be the one post.
Anyway, here is the weekly Packers series history report. Today, I will be covering Green Bay's history against the Chicago Bears, limited to games played in Chicago. Currently, the Bears lead this regular season series 52-42-1 in Chicago, and the playoff series is tied 1-1. Like any long-lived series, there have been many memorable matchups.
The first game between the Packers and the then-Staleys was in Chicago in 1921. The Staleys became the Bears for the 1922 season, but the teams did not meet in Chicago again until 1924. The Bears won 3-0. Chicago won the next three as well, but then the Packers turned the tables on the Bears by winning seven out of nine in Chicago from 1928-1932. That 1932 game was the only game the Bears lost on their way to the NFL Championship that season.
The Bears then won four in a row, followed by a Packers four-game win streak in Chicago. This was at the beginning of Don Hutson's career in the NFL. However, after this, fortunes for the Packers changed in the Windy City. The Bears, from 1939-1959, posted an 18-2-1 mark over the Packers in Chicago. This did coincide with the Packers sinking into the NFL's basement, but even with this slide, Chicago was still among the worst locations for the Packers to play. Even Vince Lombardi's first game in Chicago as Packers coach was a 28-17 loss to the Bears.
From 1960-1973, however, the series in Chicago changed and got turned on its head. The Packers won 11 of 14 over the Bears in Chicago, partly during Lombardi's tenure but also afterward as well. Green Bay's 28-27 victory in Chicago in 1968 gave the Minnesota Vikings the Central Division title (the horror!). The 1962 game, won by the Packers by the score of 38-7, was the second Packers-Bears game in 1962, and the other was an even bigger blowout (49-0 in Green Bay).
After 1973, the Bears again established dominance over the Packers in Chicago. The Bears won 14 of 17 games from 1974-1991 in Chicago. Although the latter part of this occurred when Mike Ditka was Chicago's coach, the early part was also tough on Packers fans. Two games from this stretch still sting for Packers fans (and the second is infamous among Bears fans as well).
In 1980, the Packers went to Chicago, needing a win to stay alive for the playoffs. The Bears, however, would have none of that, beating the Packers 61-7. It is still the worst defeat in Packer history. The 1986 game was even more infamous. After Bears quarterback Jim McMahon threw a pass, Charles Martin came up from behind and bodyslammed McMahon. Martin was suspended, and his NFL career essentially ended.
Beginning with the arrival of Brett Favre in 1992, the Packers' fortunes changed in Chicago. Although the teams split the first two games in Soldier Field, with the Packers winning in 1992 and the Bears in 1993, Green Bay won the 1994 game in a rainy, windy storm by the score of 33-6. This was the start of a long Packers win streak in Chicago. Green Bay won 11 consecutive games in Chicago from 1994-2004.
The 1995 game featured a 99-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Robert Brooks. In 1997, the Bears, after scoring a touchdown to cut Green Bay's lead to 24-23, attempted a two-point conversion which failed. The Packers kept winning in Chicago even when the Bears won the 1999, 2000, and 2004 games in Green Bay. In 2002, the Packers took apart the Bears 34-21 in Champaign, Illinois, during the Soldier Field renovation. A year later, the Packers went back to Chicago, and won the first game played in the New Soldier Field by the score of 38-23. The Bears would make a run at the Packers later that year, but a critical Packers win in Green Bay ended their chances.
Following this, the Packers began running into trouble in Chicago. The Bears won the 2005 game, and although the Packers took the 2006 game, the Bears were the ones dictating the game's flow in Chicago. The 2007 game, played in wind and light snow, ended Green Bay's chance of clinching home-field advantage as the Bears capped a season sweep of the Packers by the score of 35-7.
Even when Aaron Rodgers arrived, the Packers didn't do much better. The Bears won the 2008 game in overtime, helped out by a blocked Mason Crosby field goal which would have given the Packers the win in regulation. The Packers finally broke through in the 2009 game, defeating the Bears 21-14 and capping their first season sweep of Chicago since 2003.
The 2010 game remains notorious for Packers fans to this day. Green Bay committed 18 penalties, and Chicago ended up winning 20-17. Last year, the Packers went into Chicago and gave the Bears a hard lesson, with Aaron Rodgers enjoying what for him was his finest game against Chicago at the time. The Packers would win this game 27-17.
Now, as I indicated earlier, the playoff series is tied at 1-1 in Chicago. Way back in 1941, the Bears and Packers played only a week after the attack at Pearl Harbor. The Packers, earlier that year, had gone into Chicago and stunned the Bears 16-14. That did not happen this day. The Bears scored early and often, and defeated the Packers 33-14. Chicago would win the NFL Championship later that year.
But it is the 2010 playoff game that may be the most memorable game between the teams in Chicago. With a trip to the Super Bowl at stake, the Packers got out of the gate quickly and led the Bears 14-0 at halftime. When Bears quarterback Jay Cutler got injured, and after Todd Collins was ineffective, Chicago turned to unproved Caleb Hanie, who quickly drove the Bears for a touchdown.
The Bears got the ball back, but on the next drive, the Packers ran a zone blitz. Green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji initially rushed but then dropped into coverage. Somehow, Hanie did not see Raji, and threw a critical interception to the Green Bay lineman, who ran into the the endzone for a touchdown. Raji nearly pulled a Leon Lett in the process as he was stripped just after he crossed the goal line.
Hanie then took the Bears downfield quickly for another touchdown to cut Green Bay's lead to 21-14. The Bears got the ball back again, and were driving downfield for the tying touchdown with less than a minute to go. Hanie then threw downfield, but Packers cornerback Sam Shields read the play and sealed the game and a Packers trip to the Super Bowl with his second interception of the day. The Packers would end up winning the George Halas trophy that day, and then they won the Vince Lombardi Trophy two weeks later by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What are your memories of the Packers playing the Bears in Chicago?