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Quick Take: Packers 21, Bears 13

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Quick Take: Packers 21, Bears 13

The Green Bay Packers (10-4) clinched the NFC North title for the second-straight season with a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears (8-6) Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

It was over when…

Jay Cutler's fourth-quarter pass to Alshon Jeffery fell incomplete on 4th-and-9 with 2:07 left. The Bears had the football at the Chicago 45-yard line and could have tied the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion. Instead, the Packers took more than a minute off the clock and then pinned Chicago inside the 5-yard line with 56 seconds left to all but seal the win.

Game balls

  • Aaron Rodgers: Despite consistent pressure, Rodgers kept plays alive with his feet and made plays, especially on third down. The Bears did sack Rodgers three times, but his ability to create space inside confined areas turned two or three more sacks into conversions. His overall statline was pretty good, too; 23-of-36, 296 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 116.8.
  • James Jones: The often overlooked receiver caught three more touchdowns, vaulting him back into first place in the NFL with 12 this season. All three scores were important, but the third and final catch seemed to take the air out of Chicago's chances. It was also a perfect back-shoulder throw, something Rodgers hasn't been able to utilize as much in 2012.
  • Jermichael Finley: The stats weren't exactly flashy (five catches, 60 yards), and he didn't find the end zone. But Finley catches converted two third downs and a fourth down, and his reception down the seam for 31 yards was maybe the most impressive play of his season. An optimist would say Sunday is a performance the polarizing Finley could certainly build off.
  • Randall Cobb: Games like Sunday are becoming commonplace for Cobb. Six catches for 115 yards, and each play he made seemed to have an added importance. His drop on a tougher-than-it-looked touchdown catch early was a negative, but Cobb was again a playmaker that defenses can't seem to figure out.
  • Clay Matthews: He hadn't played in a month, but that didn't stop Matthews from collecting two sacks and four tackles for losses. His return had ripple effects throughout the defense. And while the Bears are one of the worst pass-protecting units in football, Matthews clearly made a big difference in Green Bay's ability to pressure the quarterback. His contributions against the run often go overlooked, too.
  • B.J. Raji: I'd be willing to bet a second look at this game will confirm my gut assumption, that Raji's first half was arguably the best he's played since maybe 2010. He was explosive off the ball, both against the run and pass, and the Bears couldn't block him with one guy. Later on, the Packers stunted with Raji and Matthews on the left side of the Bears offensive line, and Matthews went untouched for a sack. Raji is really coming on late.

Key stats

Rodgers was sacked three times, bringing his season total to 45. His career high for sacks taken in a single season is 50, back in 2009...The Packers committed eight penalties for 102 yards, with over half coming on a second-half pass interference penalty by Morgan Burnett...Chicago had just 107 passing yards. In two games against the Packers this season, the Bears were only able to pass for 181 total...The Bears were 0-9 on third down and 0-1 on fourth...Matthews now has 11 sacks...Green Bay out-gained Chicago 390 to 191. The Packers also ran 33 more plays (71-48).

Other notes

--The Packers defense clutched up near the goal line on two different occasions in the second half. Burnett's 53-yard penalty in the third quarter gave Chicago 1st-and-goal at the five-yard line, but the Bears had to kick a field goal. After a poor decision to get tricky on special teams that backfired, the Packers' defense again held Chicago to a field goal. The Bears didn't gain a yard after the silly turnover. In the end, the six points that could have been 14 were the difference.

--Mike McCarthy has remained strong behind Mason Crosby, but that confidence should be wavering now. Is there someone better than Crosby available? Who knows. But GM Ted Thompson will have to think long and hard about giving the top name on his available-kicker board a chance after another miserable performance from Crosby. He's missed a kick in eight straight games and is hurting this team week-after-week.

--Jay Cutler completed a pass to just three different players. Only one (Brandon Marshall, six catches) happened to be a receiver.

--Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery committed three offensive pass interference penalties. Only Tennessee's Kenny Britt had accomplished that rare feat in 2012.

--The Packers extended their division winning streak to 12 games. However, Sunday's win was the first during the streak in which the Packers lost the turnover battle (Green Bay two, Chicago one).

Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

kennypayne's picture

You ask "Is there someone better than Crosby available?"

Well we all know for an irrefutable facts there was someone on the street last week who was better than Crosby -- Olindo Mare.

C'mon Zach, could there be someone worse at this point?

xuyee's picture

Trivia question: Who holds the record for the best career FG completion percentage in the NFL? Hint, he's only 30 and is a free agent.

Jeremy's picture

Nate Keading?

xuyee's picture

Yeah. Just sayin'

jeremy's picture

If he is in fact fully healed that's a possibility. He's preformed pretty badly in the playoffs, but so do most who play for Norv.

MarkinMadison's picture

Last I heard he was recovering from injury. I'm sure the Bears checked him out before signing Mare. Oh wait, it's the Bears. TT better check.

Norman's picture

For those (like me) who were hoping the Packers would draft Carimi and have the next Joe Thomas, (from Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune):
" The Bears were playing an undrafted free agent (James Brown) and a player they already benched (Chris Spencer) at guard ahead of former first round pick Gabe Carimi. Then after Jonathan Scott went down, Carimi came back at right tackle."

Evan's picture

To be fair, Chicago is where olinemen go to die.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

And QBs.

Jake's picture

And dreams.

Bryce's picture

And wide receivers

cheesy4's picture

And big name free agents

Rich Beckman's picture

I believe that before the game was over the uninjured Carimi was back on the bench.

Jay's picture

This game was not nearly as close as the score indicates, which is good and bad: good that we could produce so much, but bad that we let silly mistakes and turnovers make this game appear so close.

Derek's picture

Agreed, score should've been 31-10, really. I'm just glad our defense played really well, except that missed tackle on Idiot Marshall's TD.

woodson4president's picture

Another key stat. Casey had yet another pick. Keep ballin rookie. You are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

MarkinMadison's picture

With 1 catch for 24 yards, Hayward was the the Bears' third leading receiver. Ah, what is that smell? Steak on the grill.

davyjones's picture


Lou's picture

0 for 9 on 3rd downs, sounds like Willie Davis, Ray Nitschke, and Herb Adderly are back. Raji/Pickett/Neal left no prisoners and the corners stuck to their men. Clay Maker is the best overall linebacker in football, nobody even close. They did this against a team with a receiver with over 100 catches and a back (Forte) who is as good all around as Marcus Allen was and a QB who will never be a franchise player (1 winning season total from Vanderbilt, the Bronco's, and the Bears. If Crosby is the kicker next week look in the Press Gazette under "adopted by Mike McCarthy", it is a tremendous diss-service to the team to watch in choke week after week.

GBPDan's picture

Crosby should not have been allowed on the plane home...what loser

woodson4president's picture

So Fitz......about that patriots game....:(

hayward4president's picture

New name time haha

Brooklyn81's picture

IM not saying they should release him but they do need to bring in some competition. Where's Ryan longwell.

Nick Perry's picture

Exactly! Ryan Longwell is sitting out there waiting for his phone to ring. Yes he's getting old. Hell he is old but he can hit ANYTHING from 45 and in still. If M.M. continues to let this special needs looking loser Crosby kick the Packers will go no where near the Superbowl. If the Packers can play defense for 3 or 4 games in the playoffs like they did yesterday they have a shot. With Crosby they have none, zip, zero, nada! Common Mike, you'd give no other player a pass for performing like that. Crosby sucks, always has from about 45 yards and further. Now he sucks from any distance.

Derek's picture

Crosby even sucks at PATs. Most of them wiggle, dive, hook, and generally look like he could miss one at any time. Anything inside 35 should be automatic.

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