The Green Bay Packers couldn’t have asked for anything else. The game, the season came down to one drive with the ball in Aaron Rodgers’ hands. And on fourth and 8, Rodgers lofted a 48-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Randall Cobb. Sam Shields picked off Chicago’s Hail Mary attempt. And the Packers are heading to the playoffs — momentum in hand — with this 33-28 instant classic of a win. The Packers will host the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field in the first round of the playoffs. The game will either be Saturday or Sunday, pending an announcement by the NFL. The Packers were knocked out of the divisional playoffs last season by the 49ers, 45-31, after Colin Kaepernick carried 16 times for 181 yards, a record for a quarterback. The 49ers also beat the Packers, 34-28, in the season opener on Sept 8. Winning the NFC North all began at the Packers' 13-yard line with 6 minutes and 24 seconds to go. On one fourth and inches, John Kuhn plunged ahead to convert. On another fourth and 1, from his own 43-yard line—Mike McCarthy put the ball in Rodgers’ hands and the quarterback hit Jordy Nelson outside for six yards. Then on fourth and 8 — with Chicago rushing extra defenders — Rodgers side-stepped Julius Peppers and found Cobb deep. Peppers was mystified. Rodgers was elated, sprinting downfield to celebrate. The Packers' season was saved. In his first game back from a fractured collarbone, Rodgers completed 25 of 39 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns, overcoming two first-half picks. Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 153 yards on the ground. Jordy Nelson had 10 receptions for 161 yards. The first half was full of the bizarre. Green Bay scored off a sack/fumble of Rodgers—when nobody realized it was a free ball. Teammate screaming from the sideline, wideout Jarrett Boykin scooped up the loose ball for a 15-yard touchdown. Rodgers also threw the two interceptions in the half, marking just the 10th time he’s thrown at least two picks.
Packers are NFC North champs with 33-28 win over Bears
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Dec 29