Morning Box Score: Bears Put Away Packers
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 28, 2010 3:20PM
There is one undefeated team in the NFC after three weeks, and that lone perfect squad is the Bears after they overcame the Green Bay Packers 20-17 on Monday Night Football. In a tightly played back and forth game, the Bears relied on a couple of big plays to come away victorious in spite of Green Bay's dominance controlling the ball and racking up yards. Robbie Gould missed a field goal on the Bears' first possession, and the Packers took advantage of the resulting field position to claim an early 7-0 lead. The Bears' next turn with the Ball ended after Jay Cutler threw an interception in the red zone, not a good start for the home team. A Green Bay field goal put the Packers up 10-0 early in the second quarter. But a touchdown drive, set up by a 31 yard pass to Johnny Knox, was capped by a TD pass to Greg Olsen that cut the Packers' lead to 10-7 at halftime.
Big plays in the second half propelled the Bears to victory. After opening the third quarter with a monster 6 and 1/2 minute drive, Julius Peppers blocked Green Bay's field goal attempt. Lovie Smith, having failed to learn his lesson against Detroit, again decided to go for the touchdown on fourth and goal from the one on the ensuing possession and the Bears were, again, stopped. However, the move looked better when it forced Green Bay to punt from deep in their own territory, setting up Devin Hester's first punt return for a touchdown in two years -- a 62 yard return that put the Bears ahead 14-10.
The Packers used another extended drive to retake the lead 17-14, before the Bears tied the game at 17-17. With the Packers driving down the field late in the fourth quarter, Brian Urlacher stripped the ball from James Jones and Tim Jennings recovered the fumble. The Bears marched down the field and set Robbie Gould up to kick the winning field goal with just eight ticks left on the game clock and a Bears win, 20-17.
As much as the Bears beat the Packers, Green Bay beat themselves. They racked up 17 penalties for 152 yards and a number came at key points. Two critical ones: a personal foul for a helmet to helmet hit and a pass interference wiped out Cutler interceptions and gave the Bears new life that ultimately led to scores. Julius Peppers seemingly caused half of the infractions, as Green Bay's offensive line got flagged for false starts and holding time after time. Aaron Rodgers, with 316 yards passing, outplayed Cutler who threw for 221. The Packers managed to compile more than 100 more yards of offense yet came up short against the Bears. But it was still the Bears who ended up with the "W".
In beating their heated rivals, the Bears now stand as the long undefeated team in the NFC and one of three in the entire league. Are they really this good? Most of the local media are buying in, while others remain skeptical. Clearly they're better than last year's 7-9 team. But how much better? It's still too early to say, but a perfect 4-0 over the first quarter of the season is a strong start ( and a long way from that 0-4 preseason). They can get there if they can beat the 1-2 New York Giants at the new Meadowlands next Sunday night (NBC, 7pm).