Five days of worry came to a happy ending for Packers fans on Thursday, as the Packers rallied from an opening-day loss to score a 23-10 win over the Chicago Bears.
Beating the Bears isn’t something new to the Packers, who’ve now measured their NFC North rivals to the south for the seventh time in the last eight meetings between the two teams. What’s surprising, and most encouraging, is how the Packers scored this most recent win.
Defense was the star of the game. After having been roughed up by the 49ers on opening day, the Packers defense rallied with arguably its best performance in two years.
The Packers defense held the Bears to 168 yards of offense. It intercepted Bears quarterback Jay Cutler four times and buried him under an avalanche of sacks.
A 13-0 halftime lead was pushed to 16-3 early in the fourth quarter with a clutch, 54-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. Then an old hand at this rivalry, Donald Driver, closed the door on the Bears with a 26-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Reserve tight end Tom Crabtree made the critical play of the first half. Crabtree scored on a 27-yard touchdown pass from holder Tim Masthay, with 1:50 to play in the half, on a fourth down fake field goal play. The touchdown rescued a dominant first-half performance by the Packers that ran the risk of being largely wasted.
The Packers held a 201-47 yardage advantage over the Bears in the first half, and nearly seven minutes more time of possession, but struggled to score. Rodgers had two passes dropped, one by Jordy Nelson and the other by Jermichael Finley. A holding penalty against T.J. Lang canceled another potential scoring drive.
Tramon Williams intercepted Cutler with 1:07 to play in the first half, giving the Packers the ball at the Bears 48 yard line. The Packers then jockeyed into field goal position – thanks to a dropped interception by Lance Briggs and a 16-yard screen pass to John Kuhn – from which Crosby booted a 35-yard field goal. Crosby opened the scoring with a 48-yard kick.
Randall Cobb gained 28 yards on a third-and-three run. Coach Mike McCarthy continues to use Cobb in creative ways. He also caught a pass for 20 yards.
Linebacker Clay Matthews continued his fast start to the season by registering 3.5 sacks.
Cedric Benson revived the Packers’ running game. Following a game in which he gained just 18 yards on nine rushing attempts, Benson rushed 20 times for 81 yards.
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