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Rodgers, Packers Clinch NFC North With Win In Chicago

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb both returned 
from  injuries on Sunday  with Green Bay's division hopes on the line and they 
came through. 

Rodgers  found a wide  open Cobb on 4th-and-8 for a 48-yard score with just 38 
seconds  to play  to help the Packers  with the NFC North with a 33-28 victory 
over the Chicago Bears. 

Green  Bay has the  fourth seed in the upcoming NFC playoffs and will host the 
San Francisco 49ers in the wild card round of the playoffs on Sunday, Jan. 5 
at 4:40 p.m. ET. 

Rodgers  had been  out  since a  Nov.  4 game  against these Bears  due to  a 
fractured  left collarbone. He returned to practice this week and finished the 
game  25-for-39  for 318 yards,  two touchdowns  and two interceptions for the 
Packers (8-7-1), who won three of their last four games of the season to claim 
the division for a third straight year. 

Cobb,  who  had been out  since fracturing his right  tibia on Oct. 13 against 
Baltimore,  caught both touchdown passes by Rodgers, while Jordy Nelson had 10 
grabs for 161 yards. 

Chicago  (8-8),  meanwhile, dropped its  final two games  of the year with its 
playoff  hopes  in its own  hands. The team has  now missed the playoffs three 
straight seasons. 

Jay  Cutler  completed 15-of-24 passes  for 226  yards, two touchdowns and one 
interception,  while  Matt Forte carried  the ball 22  times for 110 yards and 
two scores with four catches for 47 yards and a TD in the loss. 

The  winning drive began at the Green Bay 13 with 6:24 to play and the Packers 
had  to  convert a  fourth down  on their first  set of  downs, with John Kuhn 
bulling his way through to move the chains. 

Rodgers  then scrambled for his only run of the game on 3rd-and-3 for a 5-yard 
gain, and converted another 4th-and-1 with a 6-yard pass to Nelson. 

Once  again,  the Packers found themselves  facing a 4th down from the Chicago 
48,  and the Bears  brought the house on a blitz. Rodgers, though, avoided the 
rush  and heaved  the ball down the  middle where a wide open Cobb easily made 
the  catch and  cruised  into the  end zone.  The  2-point conversion  attempt 
failed, and it was a 33-28 game with 38 seconds to play. 

"I looked outside to make sure we had a big play there," Rodgers said. "From 
the throw I missed Andrew Quarless on earlier in the drive, I knew I had to 
get a little bit on it to make sure I didn't way underthrow him. When that 
ball came down and he got into the end zone it was just pandemonium." 

Devin  Hester took  the kickoff  to the  Chicago 40  and Cutler  hit Martellus 
Bennett  for  15 yards, but the  next two passes were incomplete, and Cutler's 
bomb  on the  last play was picked off  in the end zone by Sam Shields to give 
Green Bay the win and the division. 

"We knew it was going to come down to who had the ball last," Bears wide 
receiver Brandon Marshall said. "Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time on 
the clock to get it done." 

Rodgers  looked  sharp  on  the  Packers'  opening  possession  of  the  game, 
converting  a  3rd-and-3 with  a 14-yard  pass to  Nelson, and turning another 
third down later in the drive with a completion to Nelson. 

Facing  a 3rd-and-goal  at the Chicago 5,  Rodgers rolled out to his right and 
tried  to  get it to  Jarrett Boykin in  the end zone,  but Chris Conte made a 
diving pick to keep the Packers off the board. 

Forte  ripped  off a 20-yard  run to get the  ball across midfield, and Cutler 
floated a pass down the left sideline for a 37-yard catch by Marshall. Three 
plays  later, Cutler  hit Forte  near the end  zone to  the left and he easily 
took  it in for  a 4-yard score  and a 7-0 lead  with 2:07 left in the first 
quarter. 

Rodgers  responded with  another sharp  drive  and got  the team  down to  the 
Chicago  26 after  a 32-yard  catch from  Nelson. The  next pass,  though, was 
behind  Nelson and  he wound up tipping  it into the hands of Tim Jennings for 
another pick. 

Chicago  was held to a three-and-out, with Rodgers finally leading the team on 
a  scoring drive as a 26-yard catch by Nelson along with a roughing the passer 
call on Chicago led to a 33-yard field goal from Mason Crosby to make it a 7-3 
game with 7:59 to play in the half. 

Following  another three-and-out, the Packers started out with excellent field 
position as they got the ball back at the Chicago 41. 

Facing  a  1st-and-10 at the Chicago  17, Rodgers found himself under pressure 
and  had  the ball knocked out  of his hands  by Julius Peppers. The ball went 
forward and bounced around a bit before Boykin picked up the ball. 

Unsure  of  the call as  the whistle  had not blown,  Boykin stood there for a 
moment  with the ball at the 15. Eventually, though, he realized that the play 
was still going and he ran it in for a score. 

The  play was called a touchdown and reviewed to determine if Rodgers' arm was 
going  forward prior to  the ball being knocked out, but the call on the field 
stood  and the  Packers held  a 10-7  lead  with 3:28  to play  in the  second 
quarter. 

Chicago  then turned the  ball over as Alshon Jeffery had the ball knocked out 
of his hands on a catch and Green Bay recovered at the Chicago 28. 

The Bears' defense, though,  did a good job of keeping the Packers out of the 
end  zone and a 27-yard field goal from Crosby gave the team a 13-7 lead going 
into the break. 

Green  Bay  started the  second half with  the ball and  was quickly forced to 
punt,  with Hester  coming up  with  a 49-yard  return  to the  Green Bay  30. 
Five plays later, Forte took the ball into the end zone around the left tackle 
for a 5-yard score and a 14-13 lead. 

The  Packers came  right back with a  scoring drive of their own as Eddie Lacy 
took  a  handoff 17 yards on  the first snap,  and James Starks bulled his way 
through the line for a 41-yard gain down to the Chicago 13. Rodgers then found 
Cobb in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard score and a 20-14 advantage with 
7:27 left in the third quarter. 

The  scoring kept coming as the Bears came right back to take the lead. Facing 
a 3rd-and-4, Cutler went deep down the left sideline and hit Jeffery in stride 
near  the  Green Bay  35. He  took it  down to  the 1-yard  line for a 67-yard 
gain  and Forte took it in on the next play for a 21-20 lead with 5:04 left in 
the third. 

Green  Bay was then  held off the board and forced to punt, and a 33-yard pass 
reception from Forte got the ball to the Green Bay 8. On the first play of the 
fourth  quarter,  Cutler tossed a pass  out to the right for Brandon Marshall, 
who  briefly took his eyes off the ball to spin around a defender, than made a 
diving catch for a 5-yard score and a 28-20 lead. 

A  34-yard catch from Nelson on the second play moved the ball across midfield 
for the Packers, and a 22-yard catch from Quarless set up Lacy's 6-yard run 
around the left tackle to make it a 28-27 game with 11:38 to play. 

Chicago  took off  five minutes  of the  clock on  its ensuing  possession and 
crossed  midfield, but  wound up punting it  back to Green Bay for the winning 
drive. 

                                   Game Notes 

Green  Bay has won  seven of the last eight games against the Bears ... Starks 
finished  with 88 yards  on 11 carries and Lacy had 66 yards on 21 touches ... 
Marshall  totaled 74 yards on six receptions ... Green Bay controlled the ball 
for  over  35 minutes  and finished the  game with 473  yards, compared to 345 
yards  for  Chicago ...  Forte finished  the season with  1,339 yards and nine 
touchdowns on the ground, along with 594 yards and three touchdowns receiving. 

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