Aaron Rodgers, Packers edge Bears in thrilling finish

Aaron Rodgers dropped a bomb to Jordy Nelson with time ticking down in the fourth quarter to set up the Green Bay Packers' (8-6) game-winning field goal in a 30-27 victory over the Chicago Bears (3-11): Here is what you need to know:

  1. Rodgers' calf restricted his movement outside of the pocket. The quarterback displayed little burst on scrambles. His lack of mobility when flushed cost Green Bay a few first downs and a potential touchdown scamper. Rodgers showed no such struggles with his accuracy and movement in the pocket. His 60-yard dime to Nelson on third down to set up the game-winning field goal was vintage Rodgers. When he was able to set his feet, the Packers' passer is still precise. The Bears' pass rush bothered Rodgers early (three first-half sacks), but drops did more damage to Rodgers' stat line (19 of 31, 252 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions). Davante Adams dropped two easy TD catches and the usually sure-handed Jordy Nelson flubbed a long pass. Nelson made up for it by hauling in the game-deciding pass. Rodgers' calf will continue to be monitored as the season comes to a close, but shouldn't keep him out of pivotal matchups with the Vikings and Lions.
  1. Matt Barkley continues to earn money. In his fourth start, Barkley threw darts through the cold weather, making several pinpoint passes early and great reads down the field late. As it has been in his previous two losses, close wasn't good enough for Barkley. The quarterback marched the Bears on a potential game-winning drive. A holding penalty backed the Bears up on first-and-goal, and a third down pass was knocked down in the end zone. The Bears settled for a chip-shot field goal to tie the game, but gave Rodgers too much time to drive for the win.

Barkley (30 for 43, 362 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions) deserves praise for making throws in tight windows as the Bears stormed back from a 17-point deficit. Barkley's turnovers put Chicago in that hole to begin with. After a stellar first half, Barkley committed turnovers on the first three possessions of the third quarter. Julius Peppers had a strip sack, followed by back-to-back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix interceptions, including one on a pass Barkley sailed high over the middle. Barkley earned himself years of NFL contracts with heady play. His turnover spree, however, displays why he's not considered a franchise cornerstone.

  1. Green Bay found its running back. Ty Montgomery trampled over would-be tacklers for 162 yards on just 16 carries (10.1 average) and two rushing scores. The receiver-turned-running back ripped off runs of 61, 36, 26 and 21 yards. Montgomery's vision from the backfield has improved immensely. He hits the hole harder, displayed shiftiness on the second level and plowed through arm tackles. Christine Michael awoke up from his Green Bay slumber for a 42-yard TD run, but he's clearly behind Montgomery in the pecking order.
  1. In his return from suspension, Alshon Jeffrey did nothing for three quarters. He helped propel the Bears back into the game in the fourth. In the final stanza, Jeffrey gobbled up six catches for 89 yards a touchdown and earned two big defensive penalties. Jeffrey looked gassed late in the game after missing the past four contests. Jeffrey needs a big ending to the season as he heads into free agency.
  1. A week after forcing six turnovers last week, the Packers defense earned four takeaways that gave Green Bay 17 points on Sunday. Dom Capers' secondary got picked on for a boatload of yards again after three weeks of sticky play, but the turnovers were the difference.
  1. The Packers' win coupled with a Detroit Lions loss puts Green Bay in prime position to steal back the NFC North. The Pack host the crumbling Vikings at home next week before a Week 17 tilt in Detroit that should be for the division title.
  1. The Packers' win tied up the all-time series between the rivals. Green Bay-Chicago is deadlocked, 94-94-6, in 194 meetings.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content