It wasn’t a pretty display of offense in the first half of the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears Lambeau Field face-off Thursday night.
However, two field goals by Mason Crosby and a touchdown pass from punter Tim Masthay to tight end Tom Crabtree gave the Packers the edge after 30 minutes of football and that’s when the defense took over.
Allowing only 168 total yards to the Bears, the Packers pass rush collected seven sacks and sent the Bears packing back to Chicago after hanging a 23-10 loss on the Monsters of the Midway.
Both the Packers and Bears sit with 1-1 records.
When the Packers fake field goal went for a touchdown, one got the feeling that this might be Green Bay’s night – a night that was capped by a touchdown by veteran Donald Driver who has been playing sparingly during the early going.
The first half
To start the game, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was 0-2 in his first three series, while Packers QB Aaron Rodgers started a little better, but not by much, going 2-6 for 37 yards during the first seven minutes.
About the only offense for the first 10 minutes of the game was, surprisingly, produced by Packers running back Cedric Benson, who pushed and pounded for 27 yards on six carries to give the Packers running game a boost.
After being stopped by the Bears, the Packers punted and an interference call gave the Bears the ball at the 45. However a sack by Clay Matthews and a great play by A.J. Hawk to stuff a screen pass, forced another Bears punt.
The Packers first play on their next drive resulted in a no gain from Benson. On second and 10, Benson sneaked out of the backfield twice. The first was for a first down and the second was for 8 yards. On second and two, Rodgers handed again to Benson for five and a first down out to the 50. Eight more was ripped off by Benson and the Packers showed they weren’t going to get away from the run game as the first quarter ended.
In the first quarter, Benson ran nine times for 39 yards and Rodgers was 4-8 for 62 yards.
Cutler was 1-3 for minus-2 yards.
The Packers started with momentum but a dropped pass by Jermichael Finley, followed by another incompletion, and the Packers faced 4 and 3. However, Head Coach Mike McCarthy challenged the number of players on the field by the Bears and won, despite NFL Network’s Mike Mayock objection.
Tim Jennings made a huge hit on James Jones for a loss of five and then Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for 8. John Kuhn was the check down on third down, but couldn’t convert the third down.
Mason Crosby was then dispatched to hit a 48-yard field goal.
Packer 3 Bears 0
On the ensuing kickoff, Devin Hester nearly broke it. His return was to the 37.
The Bears picked up seven on their first play of their drive, then on second down Michael Bush fell forward for two yards to set up a 3rd and 1. Michael Bush got two yards.
At the Bears 49, Cutler handed once more to Bush for four yards. Second and six resulted in a first down toss to Bennett.
After a run for no gain, A.J. Hawk took a late shot on Gabe Carimi after the play was over. Carimi retaliated and was flagged for unnecessary roughness .
with 9:34, the Bears faced a second and 25. When Cutler was on his way back into the pocket he had a rude introduction to Matthews who put the Bears quarterback on his back to set up a 3rd and 32. They failed on third down and punted
The Packers took over at the 20 after the Bears’ punt, started with a one-yard gain from Benson, a two yard pass to Kuhn and then on third and seven, Rodgers hit Randall Cobb over the middle for a first down to the 47.
Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on a quick out for six, then tossed a quick hitter to Benson for another first down.
On first and 10, Alex Green got his first rush of the season – for two yards. On second and eight, Benson picked up five.
Randall Cobb took a quick pitch through the seven hole and pushed it up the right sideline for a huge gain down to the 11.
However, Julius Peppers beat Marshall Newhouse around the left side for a brutal hit on Rodgers to give the longtime defensive end sack number 102 – his second of the game. But the Bears weren’t done. They chased Rodgers down again and pushed them back to the 22.
Rodgers missed Cobb on a crossing route, but it didn’t matter because what followed was the play that brought down the house.
With Mason Crosby lined up for a 45-yard field goal attempt, the Packers pulled their first trick play of the season. Holder Tim Masthay took the snap, and hit tight end Tom Crabtree on an inside pitch that he took to the house. Crosby’s extra point gave the Packers a 10-0 lead inside two minutes of the second quarter.
The Bears took over at the 20, got a false start penalty and, an incomplete pass out of bounds and then on second and 15 Cutler hit Matt Forte over the middle to the 37.
Morgan Burnett nearly intercepted, then on second and 10, Tramon Williams stepped in front of a Cutler pass to intercept. The play was reviewed to see if Williams had possession, but there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call on the field. With first and 10 at the 48, Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for eight and then called a timeout.
Facing second and three with 58 seconds left, Rodgers completed a no-gainer to Jermichael Finley, From the 40, Kuhn took the handoff for two yards and a first down.
With 31 seconds remaining, the Packers snapped the ball from the 38. A pass over the middle went incomplete, but an illegal contact call moved the ball to the Bears 33.
Lance Briggs rolled between Rodgers and the Packers receiver and nearly picked off the ball. That was unfortunate for the Bears because Rodgers then hit John Kuhn on a screen that he took down to the 17 to set up a 35-yard field goal from Mason Crosby as the clock wound out on the first half.
Packers 13 Bears 0
- Scoring Summary
Green Bay 3-0
Green Bay 10-0
The Bears started the first possession of the second half from the 20, got four yards on two carries before Cutler hit Forte for 15 yards. first and 10 from the 40 saw Forte rush for no gain. Packers’ rookie safety Jerron McMillian had the ball thrown into his breadbasket and dropped the potential interception. Before the Bears could snap the ball on third down and nine, they called a timeout.
On third and nine, Cutler hit Forte once again for 11 and first down to the 45. Under pressure, Cutler threw the ball away on first down and Bush ran for nine on second. From the Packers 37, Cutler hit the tight end for a first down at the Packers 33.
Bush took the first down handoff, fell down, got up, and moved down the field for eight yards. The Packers then shot through the line and stopped Bush on second and 2. On third and 4, Cutler threw to a wide open Brandon Marshall, who to this point didn’t have a catch. He still didn’t because he dropped an easy touchdown in the end zone.
The Bears settled for a Robbie Gould 45-yard field goal.
Packers 13 Bears 3
After the ensuing kickoff, the Packers started at the 20.
A screen pass to Benson resulted in a gain of five yards. A quick-hitting run by Benson set up a third and one at the Packers 29. Benson’s run off tackle got strung out by the Bears and forced a Packers punt.
On the punt it looked like Hester might have a chance at a return, but Kuhn slices through the blocks to trip up the prolific Bears kick returner.
The Bears started at the 24 with Cutler handing off to Bush for five yards. Bush then burst through for four more to give the Bears a third and 1.
On third and 1, Bush got a good push up front as he rumbled for a first down.
B.J. Raji stuff a run on second down to set up third and 6. A false start moves the ball back five yards and the Bears face a third and 11.
That’s when Charles Woodson stepps in front of a Cutler pass for his 55th career interception.
The turnover not only shut down the Bears one more time, but gave the Packers great field position with a 13-3 lead.
At the 3:11 mark of the third quarter, the Packers looked to use the momentum from Woodson’s interception.
From their own 47, Rodgers fired to Jordy Nelson for 15 yards over the middle. Cedric Benson then took the handoff, bounced off a defender and pushed the ball out 11 yards for a first down. They followed that with another rush by Benson – this time picking up four.
Aaron Rodgers then pitched a corner ball to James Jones, but it was just out of his reach.
When Rodgers hit Jermichael Finley for a first down, he fumbled … a huge turnover that killed an important Packers drive.
The Bears picked up four on a rush on their ensuing drive and then Cutler had the ball tipped at the line of scrimmage by Raji. On third and six Hester drops a pitch from Cutler to force a Bears punt.
Cobb returned the punt out past the 40 to again give the Packers good field position as the third quarter clock ran out.
From the 43, Benson punches the ball up the middle for six yards. D.J. Williams then caught his first pass of the game for a first down.
From the 45, Finley makes a nice diving catch on the sideline for five yards. Another quick pitch and catch to James Jones for four yards sets up a third and 1. A quick handoff to Kuhn was stuffed by the Bears to set up a 54-yard field goal by Crosby – who had plenty of leg on the kick that was true.
Packers 16 Bears 3
The Bears start at their own 26 yard line – but the drive didn’t last long. Cutler lets loose with a deep pass that was intercepted by Tramon Williams who returned it to the Bears 25.
The kill shot came on the next play when Rodgers hits a wide open Donald Driver for a touchdown. It was Driver’s first touchdown of the season during his limited time on the field.
Packers 23 Bears 3
The Bears from the 35 get a scramble from Cutler for a first down to the 46. Bush follows that with a two yard run. On second and 8, Cutler, from the shotgun, passes to Bennett for a first down. An incomplete pass at the Packers 45 sets up second and 10. Cutler avoids the rush and nearly throws an interception to D.J. Smith, but it didn’t matter because the Bears were called for holding. The Packers’ rookie Mike Daniels gets a sack on Cutler to set up third and 21 and Cutler throws incomplete once again and the Bears are forced to punt at the 8:21 mark.
Cobb calls for a fair catch on the punt and the Packers take over from the 30.
Unfortunately, the Bears’ Tim Jennings jumps in front of Rodgers’ first down pass and returned the interception down to the 25.
Clay Matthews who sacked Cutler after the Packers blanket coverage forced the quarterback to scramble.
Brandon Marshall got his first catch for 10 yards to set up third and 7. When Cutler was under heavy pressure his pass to Marshall in the corner of the end zone was way short.
Cutler then lobbed a pass for a touchdown on fourth and 7 to give Chicago some life.
Packers 23 Bears 10
Packers start their next drive with 6:49 to play in the game. Benson loses one yard on first down and Rodgers throws incomplete to set up third and 11.
Rodgers drills a pass to Nelson for a first down and the wily wide receiver falls down to keep the clock moving.
On first and 10 Benson does his part in keeping the clock running, but doesn’t gain any yardage on first down. Alex Green followed suit by losing one yard on second down.
With the clock rounding down to the 4-minute mark, Rodgers is sacked and the Packers punt.
Bears take over at the 18 with 4:09. As the Packers tee off on Cutler, they get the sack from rookie Jerel Worthy.
With the Bears facing second and 14, Clay Matthews again gets to Cutler for another sack. He has 3.5 sacks for the night.
From the 10, Cutler hits Marshall for 14 yards to set up a fourth and 5 from their owns 22. Rookie Jarron McMillian slides in front of a Cutler pass for an interception.
The Packers go back to the ground game to run out the clock. Benson picks up a first down while the clock winds down to two minutes.
The Packers go into the victory formation to run out the clock and run their record to 1-1, but more importantly to 1-0 in the North Division.
- Scoring Summary
Green Bay 3-0
Green Bay 10-0
Green Bay 13-0
Green Bay 13-3
Green Bay 16-3
Green Bay 23-3
Green Bay 23-10