Green Bay dropped its home opener last year in similar fashion, 30-25, to the Minnesota Vikings after committing five turnovers. The Packers fell behind 27-3 in that game and fell short in their comeback attempt.
The loss was particularly disappointing for the Packers, who beat the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers in the season opener at Carolina on Monday.
"You've got to bring your ‘A game' every single week because anybody can beat anybody," said Packers coach Mike Sherman, whose team fell to 8-1 in games played after a Monday night game. "They made more plays to determine the outcome of the game for them than we made to determine the outcome for us."
Lovie Smith had this game circled on his schedule when he took over as head coach of the Bears this off-season. In his first press conference, Smith promptly declared that his main objective this season is to beat the Packers. Despite being an 8-point underdog, Chicago (1-1) got its first victory at Lambeau Field since 1999 and only beat the Packers for the fifth time in 25 games by capitalizing on Green Bay's turnovers and penalties.
Offensive tackle's Chad Clifton's false start on a drive early in the game was the tip of the iceberg that forced Green Bay to settle for a field goal. It got worse with Bhawoh Jue's illegal contact penalty that led to a Bears' touchdown in the second quarter, and downright ugly when Mike Brown picked up Ahman Green's fumble near the Packers' end zone and raced 95 yards for a touchdown.
"That's a huge, huge swing," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who threw for 252 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions.
The Packers drove the ball from their own 41 to the Bears' 2 late in the second quarter. But Chicago middle linebacker Brian Urlacher stripped the ball away from Green at the 3. Brown scooped up the loose ball, got a key block from Urlacher on Favre, and scored to quiet the regular-season record crowd of 70,688.
"He basically came through unscathed," said Packers center Mike Flanagan. "Plus, it would have been a walk to the end zone. We do that, they take it back the other way (and) that's a 14-point swing right there."
Brett Favre's poorly thrown pass that was picked off late in the fourth quarter by safety Bobby Gray was the final nail in the coffin for the Packers. Green Bay got the ball on its own 47 when Nick Barnett recovered a fumble forced by cornerback Michael Hawthorne on wide receiver David Terrell. But after throwing incomplete on his first pass to Ahman Green, Favre overthrew tight end Bubba Franks over the middle and the ball sailed into the hands of safety Bobby Gray, who returned it 31 yards to the Packers 36.
Yet, the Packers still had life when Bears kicker Paul Edinger missed a 45-yard attempt wide left but Green Bay was unable to capitalize. When the Packers were down to their last gasp with 1:12 left, Favre was flagged for intentional grounding while under heavy pressure from middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.
"Every play is so crucial to a game and to a season," said Favre. " ... One play here or there. Today was a perfect example. We expect to play better than that. We should play play better than that. There's a fine line right there. We were not on our side of the line today."
The Packers were penalized six times for 50 yards, Chicago twice for 15 yards. The Packers turned the ball over three times to Chicago's two turnovers. The Packers were not able to turn any of the Bears turnovers into points.
Bears quarterback Rex Grossman completed 10 of 18 passes for 132 yards and was intercepted once.
Thomas Jones' 1-yard touchdown run early in the third gave the Bears a commanding 21-3 lead.
Jones pounded his way through the Packers' defense on Chicago's opening drive of the second half. His 54-yard run down the center of the field gave the Bears the ball at the Packers' 16. He followed that effort with 11- and 4-yard blasts through the heart of the defense to set up the touchdown.
Jones, a fifth-year pro who signed a long-term free agent contract the Bears in March after playing a season in Tampa Bay, rushed for 152 yards on 23 attempts (6.6 yards per carry).
Second-year pro James Lee started in place of the injured Grady Jackson, but got pushed around by Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz. Lee finished with three total tackles. Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt had one tackle and left the game late in the fourth quarter with a rib injury.
"He (Jackson) kind of controls that interior, him and Cletidus (Hunt)," said safety Darren Sharper. "I definitely feel his presence was missed today because of how good a player he is."
The Packers closed to 21-10 on Favre's 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Robert Ferguson, capping a 19-play, 89-yard drive that consumed 9 minutes, 45 seconds. The Packers actually scored twice on the drive. Two plays before Ferguson caught his first touchdown pass of the season, Favre hit tight end Bubba Franks over the middle, but the officials penalized Franks for pushing off on Urlacher, though, television replays showed that the contact was minimal.
Favre completed a 23-yard pass to Ferguson with less than 2 minutes left to Chicago's 13. It appeared that cornerback Charles Tillman grabbed Ferguson by the facemask as he was making the tackle, but there was no penalty on the play.
"I don't see how they could have missed that," Favre said. "From where I was, it looked bad."
Ryan Longwell's 25-yard field goal in the first quarter gave the Packers a 3-0 lead. Clifton was penalized for a false start on third-and-7 from the Bears' 10. Favre completed a nine-yard pass to Javon Walker to the 6, but the Packers had to settle for the field goal.
Walker led the Packers with seven catches for 102 yards.