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Packers clinch NFC North with 21-13 win over Bears

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on December 16, 2012 – 3:02 pm

Wide receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb celebrate a touchdown

CHICAGO–The Green Bay Packers clinched their second consecutive NFC North Division title with a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes to James Jones, and the Packers defense held on against a flurry of penalties and a puzzling throwback/fumble play on a punt return in the fourth quarter that gave the Bears life when they appeared to be running out of breath.

Rodgers threw for 291 yards in a game in which Bears quarterback Jay Cutler suffered another statistical nightmare against a Packers defense that continues to torment him. Cutler completed only 10 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. It was a head-scratching interception he threw near the end of the first half that turned the game decidedly in the Packers’ favor.

At 10-4, the Packers will use the final two games to jockey for playoff seeding and a possible first-round bye.

The Bears have fallen to 8-6 and are in danger of missing the playoffs, despite having gotten off to a 7-1 start. A roughing-the-passer penalty against Julius Peppers on a third-down incompletion late in the game was a  big blow against the Bears, who also had an apparent touchdown catch nullified by offensive pass interference.

Chicago had two late-game opportunities to tie the game. It took possession at its 33-yard line with 3:47 to play in the game, but that possession ended when Cutler threw incomplete on fourth-and-nine from the Bears 44-yard line.

With :56 left to play, the Bears got the ball at their 3-yard line. Cutler was sacked on second down and time ran out on the Bears.

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