Scoring a touchdown. Kicking a game-winning field goal. Intercepting a Hail Mary pass to secure a victory. Each is an indescribable feeling on its own, but it feels even better when it comes against a bitter rival.
Thursday night’s contest between the Packers and the Bears will be the 195th matchup (including the postseason) of the storied rivalry. In anticipation, here are some of the best individual performances by a Packers player in the rivalry.
Aaron Rodgers throws six touchdown passes in the first half, 2014
On this Sunday night in November, the Packers offense imposed its will on the Bears after a bye week. Rodgers connected with five different targets to score six first half touchdown passes, tying an NFL record last set in 1969. The Packers’ 42 first half points were also the most Chicago had ever allowed to any team, and this game represented the largest Green Bay blowout in the rivalry since 1962’s 49-0 win.
Jermichael Finley nabs three touchdown receptions, 2011
Jermichael Finley tore his ACL less than halfway through the Packers’ Super Bowl season in 2010, so he didn’t get to participate in the NFC Championship tilt between the Bears and Packers. He made up for it in the rematch with a monster game. Six of Finley’s seven receptions went for first downs or touchdowns, and he finished his day with 85 total yards.
Robert Brooks catches a 99-yard touchdown pass, 1995
NFL teams have completed just 13 99-yard passes in the league’s history. The Bears have been the victim three times. On a Monday night in September, Brett Favre pump-faked Donnell Woolford, then tossed a beautiful lob to wide receiver Robert Brooks. Brooks caught the ball at the 32 yard line and cruised the remaining 68 yards to give the Packers a 21-0 lead. The Packers would hold off a furious Chicago rally to win 27-24.
Chester Marcol rushes for a touchdown on a blocked field goal, 1980
Chester Marcol holds the title of most fascinating Packers kicker. (Sorry Ryan Longwell, you are not fascinating. Please accept this gift certificate to Applebee’s as a consolation prize.) Marcol, a second round selection in 1972, was so dangerous as a field goal kicker that Bears coach Abe Gibron had his players purposefully seek Marcol out on kickoffs to “knock him off his block.” Near the end of his career, Packers coach Bart Starr sent Marcol out for a 34-yard field goal in overtime of a tied 6-6 contest. The Bears’ Alan Page blocked the kick, but it bounced miraculously right back to Marcol. He followed his blockers into the end zone to score a game-winning touchdown. This offseason, we highlighted the dark side of this game-winning play.
Jim Taylor scores three rushing touchdowns, 1962
The Packers 1962 championship season featured one of the more lopsided affairs in this storied rivalry. Fullback Jim Taylor, the subsequent MVP of the league, rushed for 126 yards and scored three times – from a yard, three yards, and eleven yards out – as the Packers shut out the Bears 49-0. Star halfback Paul Hornung was nursing a pulled leg muscle and only carried the ball twice. He did, however, kick all seven of the Packers’ extra points.