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Packers clinch home-field advantage

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on December 25, 2011 – 10:30 pm

The Packers gave their fans a Christmas gift in the form of  home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, with a 35-21 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the star of the game, throwing for five touchdowns before giving way to backup Matt Flynn in the fourth quarter. Rodgers has 45 touchdown passes this season and is five touchdown passes away from tying Tom Brady’s all-time single-season record of 50.

The win improved the Packers’ record to 14-1 with one regular-season game remaining, against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Day. The Packers will have a first-round playoff bye and then host a game in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs on either Jan. 14 or 15.

Chicago rushed for 199 yards and was led by running back Kahlil Bell’s 121 yards rushing. Quarterback Josh McCown was making his first start of the season and the Bears were successful in writing him out of the script until the Packers moved out to a 28-10 lead in the third quarter.

The Packers committed no turnovers and no penalties, and the Packers defense stiffened when the Bears moved into scoring territory, but 441 yards of offense by a Bears team that has been struggling to move the ball and score points since losing quarterback Jay Cutler, is a concern for a Packers defense that is ranked 31st in the league.

Jordy Nelson led the Packers with six catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. James Jones also caught two touchdown passes; Jermichael Finley caught one.

Chicago dominated time of possession by more than 10 minutes, but the Packers made the big plays. It was a touchdown drive in the final two minutes of the first half that gave the Packers their first comfortable lead, 14-3 at halftime.

“Now we’re going to enjoy the rest of Christmas with our families,” Rodgers said after the game.

Stay tuned to packers.com as it updates its coverage of tonight’s game.


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Posted in Packers.com Blog | 16 Comments »


16 Responses to “Packers clinch home-field advantage”

  1. By Chris Schaeuble on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    It is good to know that we have a leader like Aaron Rodgers out there to help put the points on the board. The only heart ache I have been seeing all year is with the defense. We have given up SO many points this year on our defense. Now at the same time, I feel that our defense is still the best that there is. Getting that many turnovers and having awesome players like Clay Mathews scoring touchdowns is outstanding. Keep it up guys! You are giving each packer fan stationed in the military something to keep our hope going.

    TSgt Chris Schaeuble
    Air Force Special Operations Command
    Hurlburt Field, Florida

  2. By Les on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    What in heavens name has happened to the defense? There are realistically five players that deserve a paycheck.It has become embarrassing to watch. They will be in trouble if the offense ever sputters. We will hope for massive improvement before the playoffs begin. Go Pack.

  3. By Keith on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    Why did the referee charge GB with a time out when coach McCarthy won his challenge in the 4th quarter?

  4. By oldtiger on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    If not for mathews we would not have any defense at all. That looks like a defense from the 70’s & 80’s. Pathetic!!!!!!!!

  5. By Rick Samara on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    Big bounce back after a uncharacteristic lost in Kansas City last week. That created a bit of unnecessary adversity considering we needed a wake-up call!

    We just hadn’t been trending up the past few weeks. We need some momentum going into the playoffs. This year is different from last year. Last week provided that wake-up call! Kudos to KC!

    We got our Mojo back tonight. The offensive line performed above expectation and A-Rog threw 29 times and 5 for touchdowns!

    Great job guys!!! Keep it up! Let’s begin a real dynasty!

    Rick

  6. By wheres_the_D on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    Anyone bashing the Packer D will here from (D)vick soon.
    He is a ‘just watch’ type of guy when it come to questions about the Packers D.
    Ignorant at best.
    The D is in very bad shape. In a way Vick, I hope you’re right and perhaps they come around in the playoffs, but that will take a small miracle. Perhaps they are ‘hauling lumber’ on other teams recently to give a perception of not being good on D, only to show up like they did last season?
    You would look good then, but your defense of this defense is laughable at best.
    They are good in the red zone, but come on man…!

  7. By Brian on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    @ Chris…..big thanks to you and the other men and women in the military for your service to our country. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  8. By cole71 on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    Our defense needs to improve or we are going to get beat if we dont come up with turnovers,This defense is capable of playing well they are just too inconsistent,They need to watch film of the Packers Raiders game,the Packers defense played lights out in that game and the Vikings game,I have faith that our defense can get things cleaned up and when we do nobody can touch us,Merry Christmas everyone!!

  9. By Ted on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    Any win over the Bears is satisfying. Eliminating them from the playoffs makes this a special Christmas gift. Now I hope they Packers get to rest up for the playoffs — even if that means next week looks like a preseason game.

  10. By Jordan on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    I’m a bit concered with the defense, but not to the extent of the majority of the fans. The Packers lead the NFL with interceptions and also points scored off of defensive turnovers. Yes we give up ALOT of yards, but we are tied 14th in the NFL in points given up,and 14th isn’t bad at all. Nontheless, pass rush will need to show major improvement in the playoffs, IF we do play the Saints, we can’t allow Brees to have all the time in the world back in the pocket. We have a huge advantage with home field though, Saints are used to good playing conditions.

  11. By UncleNUPE on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Merry Christmas everybody!!!!! I was shocked to see that the defense was having such a hard time with the bears 3rd string RB, a practice squad RB, and a high school football coach. I hope the guys get healthy soon. I’m glad they scored 35 points…..Go Pack!!!!

  12. By mkj350 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    I think the Clay Matthews interview at the end of the game may be very telling. He said with a guy like that (Rogers) that can put a few points on the board, we are allowed a mistake or two (not verbatim). Maybe the announcers have been right – the D doesn’t think they have to work that hard because the O always bails them out. If that’s the case, pretty sad – They are letting down their team and the fans.

  13. By scamper2 on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    This team is very similar to the Saints team that were champs two years ago.High powered, explosive offense,leaky but turnover creating defense.The D needs to keep getting the turnovers though,because it is they’re only bright spot.Rogers is so good he can carry this team all the way. One bad game by him and the O though and it’s over.

  14. By davehutchinson on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Why not have Brett come back for the last game to heal wounds and let him retire (finally) as a Packer?

  15. By Walt85vet on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    The defense is struggling in a bend but don’t break mentality as they play harder in the red zone but our corners and safeties need to make some adjustments. No penalties is huge plus but what concerns me is our lack of running game. Starks, Saine, Kuhn and Grant have reminded me of John Brockington…all of them tip toeing to the line of scrimmage instead of running with power and making defenses not want to tackle them. The O line help make the holes but the ball carriers need to make the other team pay for trying to stop them. One tackler should never be able to stop the potential of the runners we have but the runners need to execute up to their potential. As for Dave Hutchinson…dont care what success our ex quarterback brought, he went against the team that gave him his identity…For me he is a traitor and does not deserve the right to be in the Ring. Sorry Dave

  16. By Patti on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I think the Pack should start a new Lambeau Leap. instead of one guy jumping in the end zone have the whole line jump including Rodgers. they have to do this at least once. it would be cool.

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