Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) celebrates
after sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) in
the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday,
Dec. 16, 2012. The Packers won 21-13 to clinch the NFC North
CHICAGO - With
one championship under their belt, the Green Bay Packers are
already eyeing a few others.
connected with James Jones on all three touchdowns, Clay Matthews
continued his dominance of Jay Cutler with two more sacks and
Green Bay clinched its second straight NFC North title with a
21-13 victory over the archrival Chicago Bears on Sunday.
the season 2-3, the Packers are showing signs they might have a
run in them like the one that carried them to the Super Bowl title
two years ago. They have assured themselves of a home playoff game
and, at 10-4, are still in the running for the No. 2 seed in the
getting started," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We feel
that way as a football team. We feel there's a lot better football
in front of us."
meanwhile, continues to slide. This was the Bears' fifth loss in
six games, and they're in danger of missing the playoffs after
beginning the season 7-1. Chicago (8-6) lost ground in the race
for the last wild-card spot, and fans at Soldier Field showered
the team with boos for much of the game.
another dismal day against the Packers, throwing an interception
that led to the game-winning touchdown. He's been picked off 17
times by the Packers, including 10 in his last five games. Alshon
Jeffery was whistled for three offensive pass interference calls,
all late in the second half when the Bears were scratching to get
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is tackled by Chicago
Bears defensive end Corey Wootton in the second half.
had Chicago's only touchdown, but had just 56 yards receiving. The
Bears were held to 67 yards of offense in the second half and
finished with 190, their third-lowest of the season. The Packers
have now won six straight against their rivals to the south.
involved in this offense should be held accountable, even if that
means jobs," said Marshall, who struggled to compose himself
as he spoke before cutting short his post-game interview.
"It's been this way all year. There's no excuse. We still
have two games left. There's still hope, but at the same time, we
need to be held accountable."
It was Marshall
who turned the heat up on what is already the NFL's oldest — and
fiercest — rivalry earlier in the week, saying he'd never
disliked a team as much as he did the Packers. Green Bay had held
him to 24 yards on two catches in their first meeting back in
September, and the NFL's receptions leader called the rematch
"personal," adding, "But the talk, you have to back
it up. We'll go out there and we'll do everything we need to do to
get a win."
Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (88) is pursued by
Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte in the second half of an
NFL football game in Chicago.
Marshall did his
part early, firing up the Chicago sideline when he sidestepped one
tackle and stiff-armed Casey Hayward on his way to the end zone
for a 15-yard touchdown that gave Chicago a 7-0 lead. He screamed
as he tossed the ball into the stands, and his teammates and the
crowd roared in approval. Joe Anderson fueled the frenzy when he
body-slammed Randall Cobb on the ensuing kickoff, and the Bears
appeared to be firmly in control.
adversity has become second nature to the Packers with the season
they've had, and this game was no different.
try to trash talk," cornerback Sam Shields said. "When
we get on the field we trash talk, but not in the paper. We let
our actions show on the field."
Over the final
4:19 of the second quarter, the Packers went from a 7-0 deficit to
a 14-7 lead thanks to a pair of Rodgers-to-Jones TDs sandwiched
around a Hayward pick.
important. That was really important," Rodgers said of the
14-point swing. "We couldn't them get up a couple scores and
get into what they wanted to do, which it looked like they wanted
to run (Matt) Forte a lot. Getting ahead of them kind of took them
out of some of that stuff."
been sacked twice, Rodgers was on the run again on third-and-6
when he spotted Cobb down the right sideline. He threw a dart to
Cobb, who hauled it in for a 31-yard gain that put the Packers at
the Chicago 35. Three plays later, Rodgers connected with Jones
for a 29-yard score that tied the game at 7.
punts, Cutler looked for Devin Hester only to find Hayward
instead. It was the sixth interception of the season for the
rookie, who grabbed the ball at midfield and returned it 24 yards.
Five plays later, Rodgers hooked up with Jones again, this time
for an 8-yard TD.
Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) misses a catch in
the second half.