The Chicago Bears took advantage of an Aaron Rodgers injury and grabbed a share of the NFC North lead Monday night with a 27-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Behind an inspired performance by backup quarterback Josh McCown, the Bears won in Green Bay for the first time since 2007. The Packers lost starting quarterback Rodgers to a left shoulder injury in the first quarter and backup Seneca Wallace played the rest of the game.
The Bears, Packers and Detroit Lions are each 5-3. The Bears host the Lions next Sunday at Soldier Field.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported that Cutler would return to practice this week and, barring a setback, planned to start Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.
McCown had a huge night, completing 22 of 41 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns with no interception.
“This is neat, it’s really neat,” McCown said. “It means so much to our team, being a divisional opponent … it’s special.”
Matt Forte rushed for 125 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown and had five receptions for 54 yards.
A 27-yard field goal by Robbie Gould put the Bears ahead 27-20 with 50 seconds to play. It capped an 18-play, 80-yard drive that took 8:58 off the fourth-quarter clock and included a fourth-and-one conversion from their own 33 with 7:50 left.
A six-yard touchdown pass from McCown to Alshon Jeffery (five catches for 60 yards) had put the Bears back on top 24-20 with 2:41 left in the third quarter.
The Packers fooled the Bears with an onside kick, recovered and took a 20-17 third-quarter lead. The Packers drove deep into scoring range as a possible interception went through the hands of Bears linebacker James Anderson and into the arms of receiver James Jones. The Bears’ defense stiffened and Mason Crosby kicked a 23-yard field goal for the lead with 8:45 left in the third quarter.
The Packers had tied the game 17-17 on a 1-yard run by Eddie Lacy. A 56-yard run by Lacy set up the score.
Gould’s 24-yard field goal as time expired gave the Bears a 17-10 halftime lead.
A one-yard run by Matt Forte gave the Bears a 14-10 lead with 9:26 to play before halftime. The 60-yard drive included a 33-yard swing pass from McCown to Forte and a 27-yard pass to tight end Martellus Bennett to the Packers’ 1.
Earlier, after several successful runs by Lacy, Wallace attempted a pass that was intercepted by defensive end Julius Peppers and returned 14 yards to the Packers’ 45 with 5:01 left in the first quarter. But the Bears couldn’t move, and a blocked Adam Podlesh punt by Jamari Latimore set the Packers up at the Bears’ 32. James Starks ran it in on the first play of the drive to put Green Bay ahead 10-7 with 3:45 left in the quarter.
Brandon Marshall (seven catches for 107 yards) caught a 23-yard touchdown from McCown, who was off balance with a defender draped over him, for a 7-3 lead with 9:55 left in the first quarter.
The Packers wasted little time attacking the Bears’ vulnerable defense on their opening drive. Aided by a face mask penalty on the Bears’ Stephen Paea, Green Bay marched to the Bears’ 12 before Mason Crosby booted a 30-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 12:24 left in the first quarter. The drive covered 68 yards in eight plays.
In the first half, McCown was 14 for 22 for 196 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 107.4.
Forte had 42 yards on 11 rushes (3.8-yard average).
Marshall had five catches for 84 yards and a TD. Jeffery had three catches for 39 yards.
Martellus Bennett 3 cdatches for 28 yards.
The Packers’ Eddie Lacy had 58 yards on 11 rushes. Wallace 5 for 8 for 43 yards and one interception.
Cutler said last Tuesday that his goal was to return in sooner than four weeks. He attended practice last week, serving as a stationary target for some of McCown’s passes. During the portion of practice open to reporters, he occasionally jogged and crossed his feet over laterally. Cutler was inactive for Monday’s game against the Packers.
The Packers entered the game having won 10 straight at Lambeau Field and 23 of their last 24 games. The Bears had not won at Lambeau since 2007, having lost five straight in Green Bay.