Ultimate Game Review: Packers Win NFC North

It's the play of the game, the player of the game, a gaze into the crystal ball and 18 incredible numbers that explain why the Packers are NFC North champions again. In winning the game, the Packers overcame the rarest of blunders by Rodgers.

CHICAGO – Packer Report reviews the Green Bay Packers' 33-28 victory over Chicago on Sunday evening at Soldier Field.


That's an easy selection.


Who else but Aaron Rodgers, who returned from a broken collarbone and threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to win the game?

It was a clinic of clutch quarterbacking from Rodgers, whose clutch moments have been relatively few and far between during his prolific career.

On a fourth-and-1 to start the winning series, the Packers were up against the play clock after coach Mike McCarthy sent out his punt unit, then changed his mind and sent his offense back on the field. With Green Bay frantically lining up, Rodgers made sure tight end Ryan Taylor moved up to the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, the Packers would have been penalized for having only six men at the line.

Then, on third-and-3, Rodgers scrambled for a first down. On the next sequence, Rodgers fired an 8-yard completion to Jordy Nelson to convert another fourth-and-1. Finally, on fourth-and-8, Rodgers hit Cobb for the winner.

Rodgers came up big with his brain, legs and arm on four consecutive move-the-chains situations on the final drive alone.

"Character drive there, for sure," he said. "Mike letting us go for it (on the first fourth down). We had the wrong formation on that fourth-and-1. I was able to get in a legal formation there (and) John (Kuhn) stuffed it up in there for enough for a foot to get us the first down. Wide side of the field, timing pattern to Jordy, tough catch, a low one to keep the drive going."


Can the Packers keep it going against San Francisco in Sunday's playoff opener at Lambeau field? The 49ers beat the Packers twice in 2012 – including a 45-31 throttling at San Francisco in the divisional playoffs – and again in the 2013 opener. Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn't run much in that game. You'd figure coach Jim Harbaugh will turn him loose on Sunday.

"I'm sure you'll hear people say, ‘Our record is 0-0. Wipe the slate clean.' Yeah, that's true," linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "But we know you need to find a way to play your best football in the playoffs, and this was a playoff game for us. I know not officially, but it was win or go home. So, the same kind of feeling. We need to find a way defensively to hit our stride. We didn't play as well as we'd have liked. San Fran, they're a great team, and they beat us in Week 1. Looking back now, at Week 1, that doesn't even seem like this season to me. I'm sure for you guys, too, the season is kind of a blur. But we're looking forward to it. We get to play again, we get to play at Lambeau Field. So, of course we're really excited."


0: Points allowed by Green Bay on Chicago's final two offensive possessions. The Bears scored three consecutive touchdowns to start the second half.

.100: Jay Cutler's career winning percentage against the Packers. He's now 1-9. He had a 59.9 passer rating in the first nine games; he was at 103.8 on Sunday.

1: Penalty by the Packers.

1: Sack by Green Bay's defense, matching its total in the first game against the Bears. Clay Matthews missed both of those games and figures to be out on Sunday, too.

2: Red-zone interceptions, compared to 118 touchdowns, by Aaron Rodgers in his career entering Sunday's game. Rodgers threw a red-zone interception on the first possession of the game. He entered the game with an NFL-high 59-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the red zone since 2008. Peyton Manning entered the game second with a mark of 31.75-to-1.

2: Tackles by A.J. Hawk, giving him 1,018 for the season. He needed five tackles to break John Anderson's team record (1,020).

3: Consecutive NFC North titles by the Packers. They've won seven of the last 12 division championships.

5: Consecutive playoff berths by the Packers.

6: Plays of at least 20 yards by the Packers' offense. They entered the game ranked third with 70 for the season. 6: Career fourth-quarter comeback victories by Rodgers. He is 6-24 in those situations for his career, according to FootballOutsiders.com's Scott Kacsmar. It was the Packers' fourth fourth-quarter comeback of the season, according to Kacsmar, with the Packers earning two wins and a tie behind Matt Flynn.

8: Career multi-interception games by Rodgers before Sunday. He threw two on the Packers' first two possessions on Sunday.

10: Takeaways by Green Bay's defense in the first 11 games.

12: Takeaways by Green Bay's defense in the last five games.

44.7: Rodgers' first-half passer rating. He went 14-of-22 for 145 yards and two interceptions before halftime

137.6: Rodgers' second-half passer rating. He went 11-of-17 for 173 yards and two touchdowns after halftime.

160: Rushing yards by the Packers. Chicago entered the game allowing a league-worst 161.5 rushing yards per game. Green Bay finished the season with 2,136 rushing yards. That 133.5 rushing yards per game is the team's sixth-best season since the 1970 merger.

161: Receiving yards by Jordy Nelson, 1 yard shy of his career high. He finished the season with 1,314 receiving yards, beating his career high of 1,263 set in 2011. Nelson was targeted 16 times by Rodgers; the rest of the wide receivers were thrown 13 passes.

478: Points allowed by the Bears this season. The previous record was 421 points, set in 1997, and it's 99 more points than the Bears' third-worst season of 379 points, set in 1964, 1975 and 2002.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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