Rodgers sets Pack completion record in W over Bears

The Sports Xchange

October 20, 2016 at 8:53 pm.

Oct 20, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gets a pass away in the fourth quarter during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 20, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gets a pass away in the fourth quarter during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. — With the Green Bay Packers’ top two running backs injured, quarterback Aaron Rodgers took matters into his own hands Thursday.

With the Chicago’s top two quarterbacks injured, the Bears had no chance.

Rodgers fired a barrage of short passes, finishing 39 of 56 for 326 yards and three touchdowns to send the Packers past the Bears 26-10 at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers set a franchise record for completions, surpassing Brett Favre’s 36 against Chicago in 1993.

The Bears took a 10-6 lead 30 seconds into the third quarter. On third-and-10, Rodgers was sacked and stripped by rookie outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, with Floyd pouncing on the loose ball in the end zone. It was the fourth fumble by Rodgers that was returned for a touchdown in his past eight regular-season games.

Maybe it was a coincidence, but Rodgers was on fire from that point. He capped each of the next three drives with touchdown passes.

That was more than enough to send Green Bay (4-2) past Chicago (1-6).

Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, making his fifth consecutive start in place of Jay Cutler (thumb), sustained a broken left arm in the second quarter. Matt Barkley finished the game and didn’t have a chance, mostly because Rodgers and the Packers played keepaway.

By the time Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for the third consecutive score, Green Bay had advantages of 26-10 on the scoreboard, 372-138 in yards, 75-36 in plays and 31-10 in first downs. Rodgers had more completions than the Bears had plays.

First, Green Bay responded to Floyd’s score with an 85-yard touchdown drive, its longest of the season. Rodgers converted four third downs with completions. The third was a diving grab by Ty Montgomery in which the ball hit the ground but was deemed a catch after a challenge by Bears coach John Fox. The fourth conversion was a 5-yard touchdown catch by Davante Adams, who reached around the back of cornerback De’Vante Bausby.

Then, Green Bay drove 88 yards for another touchdown. Rodgers was 7 of 7, with four of those passes to Adams, including a 4-yard touchdown in which defensive backs Tracy Porter and Harold Jones-Quartey covered Montgomery at the pylon, leaving Adams wide open for the score.

Next, it was a 74-yard touchdown drive, with Rodgers hitting Cobb for a 2-yard touchdown.

Adams (13 catches, 132 yards, two touchdowns), Cobb (11-95-1) and Montgomery (10-66-0) all had double-digits receptions.

Hoyer completed 4 of 11 passes for 49 yards. Barkley was 6 of 15 for 81 yards and two interceptions.

The Packers led 6-3 at halftime.

With running back Eddie Lacy placed on injured reserve before the game and his backup, James Starks, inactive following knee surgery, coach Mike McCarthy put the offense in the hands of Rodgers and the Packers’ struggling passing game. Rodgers was 19 of 30 but for only 150 yards.

Chicago, meanwhile, lost Hoyer about 10 1/2 minutes to play in the second quarter when he was hit by linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews on a third-down incompletion.

Hoyer had put together franchise records of four consecutive games of 300-plus passing yards and four straight games of 300-plus passing yards and no interceptions. Barkley entered on the next drive and the Bears got a 39-yard field goal from Connor Barth, with Ka’Deem Carey’s 24-yard run being the key play.

The Packers answered with a 40-yard field goal by Mason Crosby just before halftime.

The Packers dominated the first quarter, with a 104-25 edge in yards, but they went 0-for-2 in the red zone. On the first drive, Crosby booted a 32-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. On the second, the Bears stopped Montgomery on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.

NOTES: Chicago RG Kyle Long (arm) exited in the second quarter, meaning the Bears were without their starting guards. LG Josh Sitton, a two-time All-Pro with the Packers, was inactive with an injured toe in his return to Green Bay. … Green Bay had its top three cornerbacks out of the lineup, with Sam Shields (concussion) placed on injured reserve this week and Damarious Randall (groin) and Quinten Rollins (groin) inactive. … Before the injury, Chicago QB Brian Hoyer ran his season-opening streak of passes without an interception to 200. … Before the game, Green Bay placed RB Eddie Lacy on injured reserve with an ankle ailment that will require surgery. The Packers promoted undrafted rookie RB Don Jackson from the practice squad. He carried twice for 6 yards in the first half before being drilled by ILB Jerrell Freeman on an incomplete pass. The hit sidelined Jackson with an injured left hand. … Packers K Mason Crosby missed an extra point and had a field goal blocked. The point-after miss was his first at the new distance of 33 yards, set in 2015.