And stop themselves, they did.
Eighteen penalties, a blocked field goal, a punt returned for a touchdown and – the killer – a fumble by James Jones with the Packers trying to drive to the winning points. Chicago turned that turnover into the winning points, a 19-yard field goal with Robbie Gould with 4 seconds left.
The Packers still had chances after Jones' fumble, which was caused by Brian Urlacher at the sideline and recovered at the Packers' 46-yard line. On the second play, Nick Collins dropped a diving interception attempt. Holding was called anyway, making it second-and-20, but Greg Olsen made a great leaping catch against linebacker Brandon Chillar for 21 yards to the Packers' 34.
Penalty No. 18 was pass interference by safety Morgan Burnett, which wiped away Collins' interception and gave the Bears 26 yards and a first down at the 9. The Bears ran it three times, and Gould banged home the field goal.
The Packers took a 17-14 lead on a big-time 12-play, 72-yard drive. With almost no pretense of running the ball, Rodgers just picked the Bears apart with quick completion after quick completion. The long play, oddly enough, was an 18-yard shotgun pitch to John Kuhn.
On second-and-goal from the 7, Rodgers threw incomplete but was planted into the turf by Henry Melton for a roughing-the-passer penalty. Rodgers was doubled over in pain and appeared to be cramping. Moments later, though, on third-and-goal from the 3, Rodgers scrambled around right end and dove into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Chicago answered with a tying field goal, thanks to two big penalties by the Packers. The first of those flags came on the first play, when Jay Cutler was picked off, but Frank Zombo was rightly flagged for drilling Cutler with a helmet-first hit. Moments later, Matt Forte broke open on a crossing route and Nick Collins was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. But the defense stiffened and held Chicago to a 25-yard field goal with 3:59 remaining.
The Packers led 10-7 at halftime, with both teams blowing opportunities to open the third quarter. Green Bay had an eight-and-a-half minute drive to open the half but holding calls on Mark Tauscher and Josh Sitton and a blocked 38-yard field goal meant the Packers came up empty. The Bears then drove down the field, but Cutler threw a terrible pass to Desmond Clark on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Green Bay couldn't move the ball on its ensuing possession, and Hester ran through the Packers' punt unit for his first return touchdown in about three years to put the Bears in front 14-10 in the opening moments of the fourth quarter.
The Packers controlled most of the action in the first half, with Rodgers leading a 60-yard touchdown drive on their first possession. A 26-yard completion to Finley on a bootleg and an 18-yard completion to Jones on second-and-16 set up first-and-goal from the 7. Rodgers hit Jennings, who broke wide open behind linebacker Brian Urlacher and in front of safety Chris Harris.
The Packers seem poised to lead 10-0 at halftime but a terrible punt by Tim Masthay turned into a 27-yard return from Devin Hester and set up the Bears at the Packers' 44 with 1:50 remaining. A 31-yard completion from Cutler to Johnny Knox set up Cutler's 9-yard touchdown to Greg Olsen on third-and-6.
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.
Want more in-depth coverage on your favorite NFL team? Click here and get started today.