Bears beat the Packers 24-17 to clinch the NFC North title
CHICAGO – The scenario was too perfect, just like a great holiday story.
The Bears, floundering at the bottom of the NFC North for a half-decade, without a division championship in eight years, had their first chance to clinch the title this year.
Their opponent to do so? The rival Green Bay Packers, who have tortured the Bears for the last decade with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. It provided the opportunity for a break-through with a little bit of a shot at a hated rival.
While there were some nerves in the second half, indeed the perfect scenario came true on a dream afternoon against the Packers.
The Bears beat Green Bay24-17 Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field to win the NFC North title, clinching it for the first time since the 2010 season, and putting themselves in the postseason for the first time in eight years.
At 10-4 on the season, the Bears now play their final two games to improve their seed for the playoffs.
With a capacity crowd hungry to watch the Bears clinch a spot, the home team started quickly. Khalil Mack came up with a sack on the first Packers’ possession, and Jordan Howard completed a 60-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.
Green Bay would come up with a field goal in the second quarter but the Bears’ defense held them off the board the rest of the half. Tarik Cohen’s diving touchdown on a short pass from Trubisky with 30 seconds to go in the half made it 14-3.
Rodgers and the Packers would have a response in the second half, getting a field goal on their opening drive and then a touchdown on the second drive. Aided by a stop of a Bears’ attempted fake punt that left the ball at midfield, Jamaal Williams completed the drive with a ten-yard touchdown run.
A pass from Rodgers to Davante Adams on the two-point conversion attempt tied the game at 14.
It appeared the Bears would have a response on the following drive as they drove to the Packers’ 23-yard line. But on 3rd-and-1, a fumbled exchange between Cohen and Howard on a “Wildcat” play gave the ball back to Green Bay.
The offense redeemed itself after an offensive stop as Trubisky hit Burton for a 13-yard touchdown catch to give the Bears the lead. Following another defensive stop, the Bears added a Cody Parkey field goal thanks in big part to a 44-yard punt return by Cohen.
Green Bay would drive inside the Bears’ ten-yard line on the following drive, but it stalled when Eddie Jackson intercepted a pass. Rodgers would get the offense points on the next series, with the Packers getting a 45-yard field goal from Mason Crosby to make it 24-17.
But Allen Robinson recovered the onside kick to complete a perfect end to a championship day.