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Bears Attack Packers, Win 27-20 In Green Bay

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 5, 2013 4:30PM

Many of the Bears fan who made the trip to Green Bay Monday night wore cheese graters on their heads as a foil to the Packers' famous cheeseheads and the metaphor was apt. The Bears knocked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers out of the game early, racked up 442 yards of offense, and beat the Packers 27-20 at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football.

Shea McClellin sacked Rodgers on the game's first series and forced the QB to the sideline. Seneca Wallace took over under center and the prime time game became "the battle of the backups" with the Bears starting Josh McCown due to Jay Cutler's groin injury. Green Bay took an early 3-0 lead on their opening drive but the Bears came back and scored a touchdown as McCown avoided a sack long enough to connect with Brandon Marshall from 23 yards out in what was one of the prettiest TD passes you'll ever see. Julius Peppers finally showed up, tipped a Wallace pass and intercepted the ball.

The Bears, however, did nothing on the ensuing possession and were forced to punt. The Packers blocked the punt and converted the excellent field possession into a touchdown one play later when James Starks burst through a hole and ran 32 yards for the score.

The Bears responded when a long run by Matt Forte and a nice run after the catch by Martellus Bennett set the Bears up at the 1-yard line, where Matt Forte punched in the TD and gave the Bears a 14-10 lead. McCown engineered a drive from the Bears 1-yard line that ended with a Robbie Gould field goal that gave the Bears a 17-10 lead at intermission.

The Packers attacked early in the second half, with rookie Eddie Lacy breaking free for a 56-yard run and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. Green Bay successfully performed an onside kick and converted that possession into a field goal and a 20-17 lead early in the third quarter. But the Bears didn't back down. McCown began running the shotgun offense and eventually connected from six yards out with Alshon Jeffery for a 24-20 Bears lead. After exchanging possessions with Green Bay in the fourth quarter, McCown engineered an epic 18-play, nine minute drive that resulted in a 27-yeard field goal by Gould that capped the scoring with 50 seconds remaining. The Bears defense rose to the occasion with Cory Wooten and Shea McClellin sacking Wallace to prevent a Packers comeback.

With Cutler on the sidelines in sweats McCown didn't play like a backup. In his first start since 2011, McCown completed 22 0f 41 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. Marshall caught seven passes for 107 yards and a TD, while Jeffery snagged five for 60 yards and a touchdown. Forte ran for 125 yards on 24 carries with a score as the Bears displayed a balanced offensive attack.

The defense didn't play quite as well but performed well enough for the Bears to win. Shea McClellin was a beast with three sacks including the one that knocked Rodgers from the game. But the Bears appear to have forgotten how to tackle and allowed rookie running back Eddie Lacy to rack up 150 yards and Starks added 40 yards including his 32-yard scoring run. Perhaps showed the Pack needed a better insurance policy for Rodgers than Wallace, who ended the night with 114 yards on 11-for-19 passing. The Bears inability to stop the run allowed the Packers to limit the times Wallace had to throw the ball. Special teams also had an off night with the blocked punt and the failure to recover the onside kick.

Still, the Bears left Lambeau with their first victory in Green Bay since 2007. Word just before kick-off was that Jay Cutler appears to be on track for a return next week against Detroit. Given how well McCown has played in his absence, perhaps the Bears don't want to rush him back too soon. The Bears reach the midway point of the season with a 5-3 and in a three-way tie atop the NFC North with Green Bay and Detroit. With the teams all bunched up, head-to-head match-ups are going to factor heavily in the playoff picture. So these divisional rivalry games should take on an extra air of importance in the second half of the season. You can bet that the Week 17 rematch between the Bears and Packers—hopefully Cutler vs. Rodgers—will be epic.