Bears hold off Pack on fourth-and-goal
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Drenched from a soaking rain, Jay Cutler finally walked out of Lambeau Field with a win.
The defense helped make Thursday night a Thanksgiving to remember for the Chicago Bears.
Cutler threw for 200 yards and a score, and the Bears held off the Green Bay Packers on fourth-and-goal from the 8 with 22 seconds left for a 17-13 victory.
”It was just really a good team effort defensively,” coach John Fox said.
Aaron Rodgers’ throw to the end zone deflected off receiver Davante Adams’ hands in the cold rain. James Jones couldn’t hang onto a potential touchdown catch on third down.
Cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted Rodgers’ pass with 3:19 left at the Bears 45 on the previous drive.
In his first year in Chicago, Fox has instilled confidence in his team that it can hang tough in close games.
”We’ve been in a lot of games in the fourth quarter. We’ve won some and we’ve lost some,” Cutler said. ”But the thing of it is we’ve always been there, we’ve always had a shot.”
Rodgers took a shot to the back of his left arm near the elbow in the third quarter from linebacker Lamarr Houston while the quarterback recovered a high snap. He said he lost feeling for a while in his left hand, gradually regaining full feeling in three fingers by the end of the game.
”It’s my left hand, I’ll be all right,” said Rodgers, who was 22 of 43 for 202 yards and a touchdown.
Cutler was a little better, somewhat of a surprise given how poorly he has played at Green Bay in his career with the Bears.
In his four previous games at Lambeau Field, all losses, Cutler had thrown 12 interceptions. But under Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Cutler avoided throwing a pick.
Green Bay had won six of its previous seven at Lambeau. And Thursday night seemed to set up perfectly for the Packers faithful on an emotional night with the team honoring former quarterback Brett Favre at halftime. His name and No. 4 joined the franchise’s five other retired numbers on the north facade inside the stadium.
The Bears played spoilers.
”Looking at guys in that locker room that had been here for a minute and maybe not had great success here, Jay included. It was fun to watch,” Fox said.
Chicago (5-6) has won three of its last four. The Packers (7-4) lost a second straight home game.
”Difficult loss this evening. You need to win your home games,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
The Packers caught a break after Cutler mishandled a shotgun snap on third-and-11 to set up a punt.
But McCarthy’s offense couldn’t capitalize, moving quickly up the field on its final two drives only to come up short.
Robbie Gould’s 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for Chicago was the only scoring for either team in the second half of a game played dreary conditions.
It put ball security at a premium.
Eddie Lacy fumbled deep in Bears territory in the second quarter after getting hit from behind. Cutler cashed in on Chicago’s next drive by finding Zach Miller for a 3-yard touchdown pass that tied it at 7 with 6:03 left in the half.
Adams dropped another pass in the open on third-and-long in the first quarter that could have led to a big gain.
”We didn’t get it done tonight and really I think one of the biggest factors was handling the football,” McCarthy said. ”We had opportunities to catch the football, protect the football. … They did a better job than we did.”
Lacy ran for 105 yards on 17 carries and scored on a 25-yard catch-and-run.
For the Bears, Jeremy Langford had 48 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Matt Forte returned after missing three games with a knee injury and ran for 44 yards on 15 carries.
The Bears also got back Alshon Jeffery, who had seven catches for 90 yards. He has missed five games this season with groin and shoulder ailments.
The defense made the biggest statement.
”A huge win for this team,” safety Chris Prosinski said. ”This isn’t an easy place to win, so this is definitely one we’re going to take into the next five weeks.”
NOTES: Bears LB Shea McClellin finished with a game-high 10 tackles. … Rookie CB Damarious Randall (knee) and RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle) left the game for the Packers. … WR Randall Cobb finished with six catches for 74 yards.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL