Chicago at Green Bay

Packers edge Bears to clinch NFC wild-card berth

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There's no such thing as an ugly win when it clinches a playoff berth.

Especially when it comes against a division rival playing all-out for a knockout.

The Green Bay Packers are in the playoffs thanks to their 10-3 victory over the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Sunday. And as might be expected in a season that began with Super Bowl expectations but nearly was derailed by injuries and inconsistency, it wasn't easy.

"I'm very proud of our football team, just what we've accomplished," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Nothing's come easy for us, and we wouldn't want it any other way."

More on Bears-Packers
Columns
Clark Judge Clark Judge
No rushing attack will ground Packers in postseason. Read >>
Related links
Video

Aaron Rodgers' 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Donald Lee gave the Packers the lead in the fourth quarter, and their defense did the rest. Nick Collins' interception of Jay Cutler stopped the Bears on a late drive.

The Packers (10-6) will play at Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.

"Tonight was a struggle, but it's nice to keep that momentum going," Rodgers said. "We've won two in a row and now we've got to go [on the road]. And we can't have the kind of inconsistent performances we've had this year that have forced us to be the No. 6 seed."

Needing a win to get into the postseason, the Packers trailed 3-0 at halftime and were tied going into the fourth quarter with the Bears (11-5) -- a team that didn't have anything to play for in terms of playoff seeding but still played its starters, just as Bears coach Lovie Smith promised he would all week.

"Knowing that we had the bye week we weren't playing for an awful lot," Smith said. "We just wanted to keep momentum going. We haven't peaked yet, still, I thought there were some things that we could've improved upon."

Now that the Packers are in, Donald Driver believes they can be a dangerous playoff opponent.

"Those guys told us during the game they didn't want us in," Driver said. "That tells you how much people are scared of us. They didn't want to see us, and now they've got to see us."

But Green Bay didn't look anything like the team that steamrolled the New York Giants to keep its playoff hopes alive last week, at least not for three quarters.

Rodgers threw for 229 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He saluted the defense after the game, but noted that the offense will have to be better to win in the playoffs.

"We can't expect them to hold every team to three points," Rodgers said.

Matt Forte had 91 yards rushing and 60 yards receiving for Chicago, which came into Sunday's game assured of a first-round playoff bye as the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

CBSSports.com Grades
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
C+
Considering they had nothing to play for, every aspect of the Bears' game looked playoff-worthy except for pass protection. QB Jay Cutler has to take some blame for that, as well, as he held the ball too long. He also threw away a field goal try with an ill-advised third-down INT in the end zone.
By Gene Chamberlain
RapidReports Correspondent

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
B
The defense was inside the red zone twice and did not give up a TD. WRs Greg Jennings and Donald Driver had poor first halves and the running game was pretty non-existent except for rookie James Starks. Jennings came up big in the end with a 46-yard catch to set up the game-winning TD.
By Tom Silverstein
RapidReports Correspondent

Give us your grades on Twitter

"We weren't playing for anything," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "Everything we needed to do was done already. The crowd was loud because there was a lot on the line for them. It didn't seem like a playoff game to me."

Jay Cutler threw for 168 yards with a pair of interceptions and was sacked six times, but he stayed in the game. Smith said he never considered taking his quarterback out of harm's way.

"Why would we do that? I mean, there's a game on the line, we're trying to win a football game," Smith said. "No. That was never part of the mindset at all. We have a week off and we saw it like that."

Cutler joked afterward that he told his coach to rethink his approach to the game, but didn't seem overly concerned about the protection breakdowns.

"There's no real problems out there," Cutler said.

The Packers came into Sunday's game knowing they needed to win to get into the playoffs after Tampa Bay beat New Orleans earlier in the day. The Bears didn't have anything to gain in terms of playoff seeding but played to win.

They didn't quite pull it off, but linebacker Lance Briggs said they made some progress on defense.

"The last couple of weeks teams have been scoring a lot of points on us," Briggs said. "It was important to us for the Packers to only get 10 points. We were effective when we did the things we needed to do."

Rodgers finally made some big plays in the fourth quarter, throwing for 21 yards to Driver and 46 yards to Jennings to set up the touchdown to Lee, giving the Packers the lead with 12:42 left in the game.

"I like our chances," Packers cornerback Charles Woodson said. "We feel good about our team. We've had some down moments this year, we've had a lot of injuries, but if you look at this team, we just kept fighting and now we find ourselves with a chance to get into the playoffs and make some noise."

Notes

  • Smith said linebacker Nick Roach sustained a shoulder injury, safety Chris Harris had a stinger and safety Major Wright had a leg injury, but Smith said he didn't think any of the injuries were serious.
  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the team had no additional injuries coming out of Sunday's game. "Highlight of the day so far," he joked.
  • An awkwardly timed time out by the Bears' bench nullified a long third-down conversion in the third quarter, but Smith didn't dwell on it. "I called timeout," he said. "We weren't in the right formation for the play."
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre

Latest Video

Sun. Jan. 2Final
Chicago
(11-5)
03003
Green Bay
(10-6)
003710
BearsPackers
Pass: J. Cutler (21-39, 168) A. Rodgers (19-28, 229)
Rush: M. Forte (15-91) A. Rodgers (7-21)
Rec: R. Davis (7-63) G. Jennings (4-97)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
None
2ND QUARTER
FGRobbie Gould, 30 Yd, 4:31. Drive: 10 plays, 62 yards in 5:15.
3RD QUARTER
FGMason Crosby, 23 Yd, 2:39. Drive: 6 plays, 39 yards in 3:26.
4TH QUARTER
TDDonald Lee, 1 Yd pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick is good), 12:42. Drive: 5 plays, 75 yards in 2:50.
Players of the Game
Green Bay

A. Rodgers
Att 28
Comp 19
Yds 229
TD 1
Chicago

M. Forte
Rush 15
Yds 91
Avg 6.1
TD 0
 
Chicago
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
J. Cutler21/3916802
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Forte1591025
C. Taylor31105
J. Cutler2807
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
R. Davis763021
M. Forte860027
G. Olsen52907
D. Hester116016
Green Bay
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
A. Rodgers19/2822911
RushingATTYDSTDLG
A. Rodgers72107
J. Starks52006
B. Jackson71908
J. Kuhn4001
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
G. Jennings497046
D. Driver541021
J. Nelson239025
B. Jackson216010
J. Starks215012
J. Jones1808
J. Kuhn1707
A. Quarless1505
D. Lee1111
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
CAR 10 Final
ATL 31
CIN 7 Final
BAL 13
PIT 41 Final
CLE 9
MIN 13 Final
DET 20
JAC 17 Final
HOU 34
TEN 20 Final
IND 23
OAK 31 Final
KC 10
MIA 7 Final
NE 38
TB 23 Final
NO 13
BUF 7 Final
NYJ 38
DAL 14 Final
PHI 13
NYG 17 Final
WAS 14
SD 33 Final
DEN 28
ARI 7 Final
SF 38
STL 6 Final
SEA 16