Green Bay evened the all-time series in the NFL’s oldest rivalry, beating Chicago 30-27. Mason Crosby’s 32-yard field goal as time expired stopped a furious Bears comeback and put the Packers in the driver’s seat for an NFC North title.
A hobbled Aaron Rodgers extended plays throughout the day, but his calf injury made it hard to leave the pocket.
Rodgers, the dark horse MVP candidate, had a pedestrian day for 59 minutes. With the score tied and the Packers facing third down with under a minute left, Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for 60 yards to put Green Bay in field goal position.
For most of the game, the running game was the story. Green Bay averaged 9.8 yards per carry, and second-year pro Ty Montgomery led the way with a career-high 162 yards on just 16 carries.
Montgomery finished the opening drive with a four-yard touchdown. His emergence as a backfield threat continued, ripping off a 61-yard rush in the second quarter, breaking tackles in the backfield and eluding the defense in the secondary.
In the Packers’ two-minute drill, Montgomery rumbled for 36 yards, dragging defenders for 10 yards in the secondary. He would finish the first half with 123 rushing yards on only 9 carries.
The momentum shifted from Green Bay to Chicago momentarily in the second quarter after Pernell McPhee sacked Rodgers on a 4th and 2.
McPhee’s sack energized Chicago. Kicker Connor Barth knocked in a 26-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3, and Josh Bellamy’s ten-yard touchdown put the Bears up 10-7 just before the two-minute warning.
The two-minute offense brought Green Bay into the red zone, but they could not score a touchdown. After Davante Adams dropped a sure-fire score in the end zone, Bears safety Deon Bush dropped an interception on third down.
Green Bay settled for a wobbly Mason Crosby 34-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10 before half.
Julius Peppers ran right by left tackle Charles Leno on the first play of the second half. Peppers sacked Matt Barkley and forced a fumble, recovering it inside the red zone.
Davante Adams then dropped his second touchdown, and a gimpy Rodgers was tackled a yard away from the end zone on a third down scramble. Crosby’s second field goal of the day put the Packers up 13-10.
Barkley’s disastrous start to the second half continued on the next drive. He overthrew tight end Daniel Brown and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix came away with the interception. Clinton-Dix nabbed another pass from Barkley on the Bears’ next drive for the team’s tenth takeaway in the last two games.
All three of Green Bay’s touchdowns came on the ground. Montgomery notched his second touchdown of the game on a three-yard burst, and Christine Michael scored his first Packers touchdown on a 42-yard rumble to put Green Bay up 27-10.
John Fox’s team refused to go away. Two touchdown drives of over 70 yards brought the Bears to 27-24 with seven minutes left. After a Green Bay punt, Chicago drove the length of the field but settled for a field goal to tie the game.
What we’ll be talking about this week
Despite Ty Montgomery rushing for 162 yards, the Packers looked to Aaron Rodgers to save them. And the clutch Rodgers did just that, finding Nelson for 60 yards to win the game.
- The Packers have scored 58 points on opening drives this season – most in NFL.
- Blake Martinez returned, playing special teams. Green Bay primarily played Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas at inside linebacker.
- Ty Montgomery’s 61-yard run in the second quarter was Green Bay’s longest since James Starks' 65-yarder vs. San Diego in Week 6 of 2015.
- Fourth coldest game in Bears-Packers history, 9 degrees at kickoff. It was so cold that linebacker Joe Thomas knocked the C decal off running back Ka’Deem Carey’s helmet.
- Chicago turned the ball over three times in six plays: Micah Hyde’s interception on the last play of the first half, Julius Peppers’ fumble recovery, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s first interception of the game.