Rodgers rallies Packers to NFC North title

Posted by Vic Ketchman, editor on December 29, 2013 – 6:32 pm


CHICAGO–Aaron Rodgers completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 38 seconds to play, and the Packers claimed their third consecutive NFC North title with a 33-28 win over the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Trailing 28-20, the Packers were in hurry-up mode when Aaron Rodgers became the Rodgers of old. He moved the Packers quickly into scoring territory with throws to Jordy Nelson and James Jones for a combined 46 yards. A pass to Andrew Quarless gained 22 yards to the Bears 6-yard line, from where Eddie Lacy ran the ball into the end zone to cut the Bears’ lead to 28-27 with 11:38 to play in regulation.

The Bears took possession at their 26.  Two runs by Matt Forte left third-and-two. Forte gained 10 yards to the Bears 45. Jay Cutler pitched consecutive completions and the Bears had a first down at the Packers 38.

On second-and-12, the Packers dropped Forte for a loss of five yards, bringing up a third-and-17 that would be the play of the game for the Packers defense with 6:38 to play; the game was on the line. Cutler’s bomb for Alshon Jeffery was knocked away by Sam Shields, forcing a punt that would be fair-caught at the Packers 12.

Dramatically, the game was in the hands of the man who was in his comeback from a broken collarbone. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers needed a field goal to win.

Lacy gained a couple, as the clock ticked under six minutes. The Packers would face third-and-2 and Lacy came up inches short on what was a controversial spot by Referee Clete Blakeman’s crew.

The Packers would go for it on fourth down and John Kuhn got the first down.

A wide receiver screen pass to James Jones gained 6. An incompletion, however, left third-and-6. Rodgers scrambled for a first down.

A pass to Nelson gained 7. Lacy gained 2; third-and-1, again. Lacy was stuffed for no gain and the Packers’ season was on the line at the 2-minute warning.

Rodgers threw to Nelson; first down at the 50-yard line. Time was now an issue, as the Packers were down to one timeout remaining.

On third-and-8, Nelson dropped a pass that would’ve gained a first down and have put Mason Crosby in field goal range. It would be fourth-and-8.

Are you ready for this?

Rodgers found a wide-open Randall Cobb for 48 yards and a touchdown, and the Packers had the lead, 33-28, with 38 seconds to play in regulation. The two-point try failed and the game was now in the hands of the Packers kickoff team and the defense.

Devin Hester’s return gave the Bears the ball at their 40. Cutler completed a pass to the Packers 45; :24 was left on the clock. A deep ball was incomplete in the end zone; :16 remained.

Cutler threw errantly over the middle; :10 remained to be played.

Shields intercepted Cutler’s next pass. The Packers were champs, again.

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