NFL GAME RECAP

Bears stay hot, beat Pack as Favre’s No. 4 retired

The Sports Xchange

November 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm.

Nov 26, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) carries the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the second half for a NFL game on Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 26, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) carries the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the second half for a NFL game on Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers honored Brett Favre on Thursday, but Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears’ defense ruined the celebration.

Cutler, who was 1-11 against the Packers as Chicago’s quarterback, led the Bears to a big upset of the first-place Packers, 17-13 at rainy Lambeau Field.

At halftime, the Packers unveiled Favre’s name beneath the north end-zone scoreboard alongside the other five players whose numbers were retired. Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, who has battled severe health issues, also appeared to a thunderous ovation.

However, for the first time in 13 games against the Packers as the Bears’ quarterback, Cutler did not throw an interception.

Chicago’s defense, on the other hand, had two takeaways, and they were both huge. The first set up a first-half touchdown. The second came with 3:19 remaining in the game.

With the Packers trailing 17-13 and having reached midfield, Rodgers fired a slant to Davante Adams. The wide receiver, however, was knocked off his route by safety Chris Prosinski, and cornerback Tracy Porter grabbed the interception.

Green Bay (7-4) got one more chance, taking over at its 20-yard line with 2:45 remaining. Running back James Starks gained 18 yards on a screen and ran for 7 more to get the ball to the Green Bay 49 at the two-minute warning.

Rodgers then hit Randall Cobb on a crossing route, with the wide receiver breaking cornerback Bryce Callahan’s tackle and taking it 32 yards to the 19.

On third-and-7, Rodgers connected with Adams for 8 yards, setting up first-and-goal at the 8.

Two throwaways made it third-and-goal with 36 seconds to play. As he was being hauled down, Rodgers threw into the corner of the end zone to receiver James Jones, but Porter knocked the ball away. That set up the all-or-nothing fourth down.

Rodgers bought time by moving to his left and fired to Adams against tight coverage from Callahan. The ball hit off Adams’ hand and fell incomplete.

Cutler was 19-for-31 for 200 yards and one touchdown for Chicago (5-6), which won for the third time in four games. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 90 yards.

Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy had 105 rushing yards, his second consecutive 100-yard game. Rodgers finished 22-for-43 for 202 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception.

The Packers had a huge scare during the third quarter when Rodgers injured his left wrist. On third-and-long with the Packers in scoring position, Rodgers had to retrieve a bad shotgun snap from backup center J.C. Tretter. As Rodgers got the ball and tried to survey the field, he was hit from behind by Bears linebacker Lamarr Houston. Rodgers got up holding his left wrist, and backup quarterback Scott Tolzien immediately started warming up on the sideline.

The play knocked the Packers out of field-goal range, and Chicago took advantage with a long scoring drive that resulted in kicker Robbie Gould’s 21-yard field goal for a 17-13 lead with 12:15 remaining.

The first half was all about field position, and the Bears led 14-13 at halftime.

Taking over at its 49-yard line midway through the first quarter, Green Bay struck first when running back Eddie Lacy went untouched for a 25-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Rodgers. The score didn’t come without controversy, however, as Lacy flipped the ball in celebration at the goal line. After a booth review, the call of a touchdown was upheld.

The Bears had three-and-out punts on four of their first five possessions but took over at the Packers’ 34-yard line in middle of the second quarter when Prosinski stripped Lacy from behind, with Houston recovering.

Chicago capitalized, with Cutler dodging a sack and firing a 10-yard pass to wide receiver Marc Mariani to convert a third-and-4. Mariani delivered again on third-and-3, catching a low pass and fighting for the first down. Finally, on third-and-goal from the 3, Cutler fought off linebacker Jayrone Elliott’s sack attempt and hit tight end Zach Miller, who was wide open on a crossing route.

Green Bay’s Jeff Janis returned the ensuing kickoff 64 yards, but an offense pass-interference penalty killed the drive and the Packers had to settle for kicker Mason Crosby’s 22-yard field goal. That gave Green Bay a 10-7 lead.

Deonte Thompson set up the Bears at the 41 with a big return of his own. Chicago turned its field position into a touchdown, with running back Jeremy Langford’s 14-yard run and completions of 11 yards to receiver Alshon Jeffery and 19 yards to receiver Marquess Wilson setting up Langford’s 1-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds left in the half.

The Packers answered with Crosby’s 50-yard field goal on the final play of the half. A 23-yard catch-and-run by Cobb was the key play.

NOTES: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ first-quarter touchdown pass was the 250th of his career. He did it in his 121st game, fastest in NFL history. Dan Marino held the mark with 250 touchdown passes in 128 games. … Chicago went three-and-out on its first three possessions and had one first down in the opening quarter. … Packers RB Eddie Lacy had a big start with a 29-yard run and 25-yard touchdown reception but was held down in the second quarter following his fourth fumble in five games. … The Bears were without three starters — WR Eddie Royal (knee), TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) and S Antrel Rolle (knee).

 

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