Fourth and inches. Fourth quarter. Four point lead.
If the Chicago Bears (5-3) still had Lovie Smith as head coach, he would have opted to punt which would have given the Green Bay Packers (5-3) ample time to work, only down seven.
Not current head coach Marc Trestman. He elected to send out the offense, and running back Matt Forte was able to extend the clock-chewing drive that later culminated in a last-minute field goal to give the Bears a 27-20 victory Monday night. In the process, they created a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North.
McCown and McClellin step up for Chicago Bears
Defensive end Shea McClellin made himself known Monday night for the first time in a long time when he sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who came down hard on his non-throwing shoulder. Rodgers struggled to take off his helmet on the sideline, and was rushed to the locker room where he was later ruled out for the game.
Multiple reports are saying Rodgers has a fractured collarbone, but we will not know for certain until Tuesday. This injury, while devastating for the Packers if he misses significant time, certainly came at the right time for the Bears.
Quarterback Josh McCown, who made his first start in relief of Jay Cutler, came out and played a great game. On the night, McCown was 22-of-41 for 272 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Those last two words are music to the ears of Bears fans everywhere — no interceptions.
Overall, the brain trust of the Bears put together a great game plan for the quarterback, who utilized his check-downs and threw the ball away when he sensed trouble coming his way. Let’s hope Cutler took notes.
Forte had a big night in the air and on the ground. The running back rushed for 125 yards with a touchdown on 24 carries and had 54 yards on five receptions. For the Packers, running back Eddie Lacy gashed the Bears’ porous defense on multiple occasions for big plays, and had 150 yards rushing with a touchdown.
The defense allowed the Packers to reach the red zone easily throughout the game, a problem they have been having with teams all too often this year. The team cannot afford to have breakdowns like they had tonight if they want to extend their winning streak against the Lions next week.
Defensive ends Julius Peppers and McClellin were among the lone bright spots on the defense, as Peppers had a sack along with an acrobatic interception that brought him back to his basketball days at North Carolina, and McClellin had three sacks. The other two were when backup Seneca Wallace (11-of-19 with 114 yards and an interception) was on the field, but give the guy a break. He needed this performance for confidence purposes, especially with the Lions and Matthew Stafford looming.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had five catches for 60 yards, including a touchdown that gave the Bears a 24-20 lead in the third quarter. Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 107 yards with a touchdown, and tight end Martellus Bennett had three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. McCown effectively spread the wealth Monday night, switching it up when the run game was not working.
Barring any setbacks, Cutler is rumored to be ready to go for next week’s game. Only time will tell what will happen with the Bears in the second half of the season, but for now, they can rest easy.
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