The Green Bay Packers, who were among the NFL’s elite teams before Monday night’s trip to Soldier Field, stumbled and bumbled their way through the final 32 minutes of the game, handing victory to the Bears, 20-17.
Including a pair of illegal forward passes on a final-play kick return that looked more like a game of Frolf than Stanford-Cal, the Packers committed 19 penalties, a franchise high. A blocked field goal by Julius Peppers and an untimely fumble from receiver James Jones contributed to the meltdown, which culminated in a chip-shot field goal too short for even Garrett Hartley to miss.
The end result? The Bears are the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFC, even though they easily could be 1-2. In Week One, a hotly-debated officiating decision took a late Lions touchdown off the board, and the Packers seemed to be the better team for most of Monday night.
Neither team could muster much of a running game. The Packers generated 43 yards from their tailbacks, and Green Bay picked up another 20 on scrambles by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. For the Bears, quarterback Jay Cutler was the leading rusher with 37 yards. The rest of the team contributed 40.
Rodgers completed 34 of 45 passes for 316 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Cutler connected on 16 of 27 for 221 yards, a touchdown, and a pick.
Rodgers contributed Green Bay’s other touchdown with a gritty run and dive into the end zone.
The Packers have a chance to get back on track when they host the Lions on Sunday. For the Bears, that 3-0 mark will be tested when they head to the New Meadowlands for a prime-time, NBC tilt against the suddenly desperate Giants.