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The Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC North division for a second consecutive season with their 21-13 victory over divisional rivals the Chicago Bears at Solider Field.
Aaron Rodgers helped the Packers continue their 12-game winning streak in the NFC North division by tossing three touchdown passes. Rodgers completed 22 of 36 passes for 291 along with his three touchdown passes.
James Jones was the recipient to all three touchdowns, catching a total of five catches for 60 yards. Also, wideout Randall Cobb caught a game high six reception for 115 yards.
The Packers featured a combination of running backs to help jumpstart the run game. Alex Green, Ryan Grant and DuJuan Harris combined for 94 of Green Bay’s 113 rushing yards. The run game has picked up in the recent weeks due to rotation they have implemented.
Green Bay was ecstatic with the return of linebacker Clay Matthews, who missed the team’s last four games with a hamstring injury. His presence on defense was known, finishing the game with six tackles and two sacks. Matthews has 11 sacks in the 10 games he has played this season. The defensive pressure stepped it up in his return, combining for four total sacks.
The gameplan for Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears was to run the ball, control the clock and keep Rodgers off the field. Their opening drive looked as if it would have been successful but they had trouble moving the ball.
Cutler finished the game after completing 12 of 21 passes for 135 yards one touchdown and one interception. Cutler connected with wide receiver Brandon Marshall on a 15-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Bears their early (and only) lead of the game.
The Packers secondary contained Marshall, who leads the league with 107 receptions, to only six receptions for 35 yards along with his score.
As for Chicago’s run game, Matt Forte had 20 carries for 69 yards. Forte also contributed in the pass game catching five passes for 64 yards.
Chicago’s tenacious defense was without Brian Urlacher but was still able to force two turnovers against Green Bay. Grant busted through the defense for a positive gain and was hit by cornerback Charles Tillman, who forced a fumble recovered by linebacker Nick Roach.
With less than eight minutes left, on a punt, returner Cobb attempted to throw a backwards pass to Jeremy Ross which he also fumbled — the Bears regained possession. The Bears were only able to kick a field goal on the horrendous Packers mistake.
With the victory, the Packers are in contention to earn a first-round playoff bye. As for the Bears, they have fallen to 8-6, along with four other teams in the NFC and will have to battle to earn a wild card playoff position. The Packers will be play their final home game of the season next week against the Tennessee Titans. The Bears will head west to take on the Arizona Cardinals.
Image Courtesy : Green Bay Packers