In a game that mattered most for pride on Sunday, it wasn’t enough this time as the Chicago Bears (11-5) lost 10-3 to the Green Bay Packers (10-6). With the win, the Packers will now advance to the playoffs.
It was a defensive game and in the first half, the Bears got their sole score of the game: a three-point field goal by Bears kicker Robbie Gould. Green Bay came back in the third quarter with their own field goal, tying the game 3-3.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the game turned in the Packer’s favor when on a Bears’ third and 15, running back Chester Taylor picked up the first down at the Packer’s 39. Bears coach Lovie Smith called a timeout before a snap and the Bear’s lost the gain, causing them to punt.
The Packers came back and after driving 75 yards, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a one-yard pass to tight end Donald Lee for the touchdown. The Packers took its first and final lead of the game.
With their playoff berth clinched and a first-round bye in their pocket, the question arose last week whether the Bears would play their starters for the game. It was quickly answered on Sunday: Smith’s starters took the field at the beginning and stayed in throughout the game.
Problems that have plagued the Bear’s offensive line continued on Sunday. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked six times, a number not seen since the team’s Oct. 17 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Some players said Lambeau was extremely loud on Sunday and found communication difficult; however, it is believed to be good preparation should the Bears play at Atlanta for the NFC Championship game.
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz reverted back to the passing game (47 pass plays vs 18 running plays), which attributed to a poor offensive day, including two interceptions thrown by Cutler.
On the day, Cutler was 21 of 39 for 168 yards. Packers quarterback Rodgers had 229 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Running back Matt Forte had 15 carries for 91 yards and subsequently reached his second 1,000-yard season with 1,069 yards.
Wide receiver Johnny Knox, looking for his first 1,000 yard season did not have any catches and kick returner Devin Hester had one reception for 16 yards.
Bears wide receiver Rashied Davis was the team’s leading receiver with seven receptions for 63 yards.
Next Sunday, the Bears will have the week off. They’ll enter the playoffs relatively healthy, although three players incurred injuries yesterday: safety Chris Harris (stinger), safety Major Wright ( lower leg injury) and linebacker Nick Roach (shoulder).
Then on Sunday, Jan. 16, the Bears will host a divisional-round playoff game. They will face either the Philadelphia Eagles, the Seattle Seahawks or the defending Superbowl champions, the New Orleans Saints.
Earlier this season, the Bears beat the Eagles but lost to Seattle. They will have practice on Wednesday and Thursday this week, and then on Monday after they know who they’ll play against.
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Written by Debbie Baratz