Sep 28, 2014 4:23 PM
Rodgers throws for 4 TDs, Packers beat Bears 38-17
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) Aaron Rodgers urged Packers fans to relax. Maybe they will after this one the 700th regular-season victory in team history.
Rodgers threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns, and Green Bay shook off one of its worst offensive performances in years with a 38-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon.
The Packers (2-2) scored on their first six possessions to build a 38-17 lead. They racked up 358 yards after being held to 223, their lowest total since 2008, a week earlier in a 19-7 loss at Detroit.
They intercepted Jay Cutler twice in the third quarter to pull away from the Bears (2-2). That gave Green Bay five straight wins at Soldier Field, including the NFC title game four years ago and a playoffs-or-bust finale for both teams last season.
Rodgers called on Packers fans to take a deep breath during the week, and he gave them reason to exhale with this performance.
"I just wanted to remind everybody that it's a long season, and at some point, we're going to get this thing figured out," Rodgers said.
He had all the answers in this one, which allowed Green Bay to join the Bears (732) as the only teams with at least 700 regular-season wins.
Rodgers posted a 151.2 rating for the game, completing 22 of 28 passes, and had all the time he needed with five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen sitting out because of an illness.
He threw two touchdown passes each to Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, and a fifth got called back by a penalty. That happened early in the third when a scrambling Rodgers got hit by at least one defender while unleashing an awkward, wobbly 34-yard pass that somehow connected with Davante Adams in the end zone.
Cobb had seven catches for 113 yards. Nelson had 10 receptions for 108 yards, and the Packers came away with the win despite allowing 496 yards.
The offenses were so effective or the defenses struggled so badly that neither team punted. That happened only once before in a regular-season NFL game, 22 years ago.
"Interesting," Nelson said. "Obviously, turnovers were a big thing. It's fun, especially when you're putting up points and having a good time."
The Bears basically matched Green Bay score for score before Cutler threw those interceptions. He wound up passing for 256 yards and two TDs but fell to 1-10 lifetime against Green Bay, counting the postseason.
Matt Forte ran for 122 yards on 23 carries. Martellus Bennett had nine catches for a career-high 134 yards, but Chicago came up short after back-to-back wins at San Francisco and the New York Jets.
"I thought we were playing well, I thought we were moving the ball well," Cutler said. "We were changing it up. I thought (coach Marc Trestman) called a really good game. We just had some unfortunate things happen to us that kind of derailed us, and they didn't."
Mason Crosby kicked a 53-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half to extend the Packers' lead to 24-17, and things unraveled for the Bears after that.
Chicago had the ball on the Green Bay 24 when Cutler hit cornerback Tramon Williams in the chest with a pass. The ball ricocheted to Clay Matthews, who returned it 45 yards. That led to an 11-yard scoring pass from Rodgers to Nelson, making it 31-17.
Another interception set up another TD for the Packers. This time, Brandon Marshall went long when Cutler expected him to cut back toward the quarterback.
The pass went right to Sam Shields, who crossed the field on a 62-yard return to put the ball at the 11. Chicago's Jonathan Bostic got called for a hold, negating a field goal by Crosby to start the fourth quarter, and Rodgers hit Cobb from the 3 to make it 38-17.
The Packers took a 21-17 lead to the locker room after the two teams combined for 508 yards. Chicago missed a touchdown by inches when Bennett got stopped just short of the end zone on an 8-yard catch. Cutler thought Bennett reached across the goal line before getting taken down, but the call was upheld after a review.
Then, in the third quarter, Green Bay created some breathing room.
"I don't feel like I need to prove anything, but it sure is nice when people start doubting us to go out and have a performance like this," Rodgers said.
Notes: The only other regular-season game without a punt was between Buffalo and San Francisco on Sept. 13, 1992. ... Green Bay's Julius Peppers was in on two tackles in his return to Soldier Field, and fans booed the former Bear when he stopped Forte on the game's first play from scrimmage. ... Forte eclipsed 10,000 total yards for his career. He has 10,037.
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