Packers sack Bears, 31-14

The Green Bay Packers could not have honored the late, great Reggie White much better than they did Sunday against the Chicago Bears. After a sluggish start, the Packers dominated the Bears offensively, then the defense took over to shut down hapless Chicago and prepare for the Minnesota Vikings.<p>

Quarterback Brett Favre threw for two touchdowns in limited action and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila got four of a team record-tying nine quarterback sacks as the Packers bolted to a 28-7 lead en route to a 31-14 victory at Soldier Field. The Packers, who started 1-4 this season, finished 10-6 an on top of the NFC North Division.

The Packers will host a first-round NFC playoff game against the Vikings Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (CT) at Lambeau Field. The Packers beat Minnesota twice this season by identical scores of 34-31 on last-second field goals by Ryan Longwell.

"We know the Vikings, we're very familiar with them and vice versa," said Favre. "But it really doesn't matter."

"We're pleased to be in, considering where we started," Favre said.

The No. 3 seed in the playoffs, the Packers had nothing to gain or lose in their finale against the Bears. But the Packers, who have been inconsistent this season, wanted to leave Chicago with some momentum heading into the playoffs, and rest some of their injured players and starters if at all possible. Green Bay was able to do both.

The Packers did not suit up nose tackle Grady Jackson (knee), running back Najeh Davenport (hamstring) and wide receiver Robert Ferguson (neck) because of injuries. Coach Mike Sherman then was able to pull Favre and running back Ahman Green from the game after the offense scored touchdowns on two of its first four possessions.

"These type of games are tough to play," said Sherman, whose team finished with 10 or more regular season wins for the fourth straight season. "You're damned if you do and damned if you don't in many ways. I was able to get guys out of the game and still balance the logistics of the game and win the football game.

"We really wanted to win the football game for a number of reasons: To get the ninth win out of 11 ballgames; it is the Bears – we don't want to get swept by the Bears this year – and we talked about playing this game for Reggie White and honoring him on the field."

The Packers were able to avenge a 21-10 loss to the Bears in Week 2 this season, which turned out to be the start of a four-game losing streak. Green Bay, which set up a special locker for the late defensive end Reggie White in their locker room at Soldier Field, also won the game in his honor. White died on Dec. 26 of a lung ailment while he slept.

The Packers scored 28 unanswered points over about 11 minutes of the first and second quarters to take a 28-7 halftime lead.

Favre completed 9 of 13 passes for 196 yards and threw touchdown passes of 17 yards to tight end Bubba Franks and 38 yards to give the Packers a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. The two touchdown passes gives Favre 30 for the season, the eighth time he has thrown for 30 or more touchdowns. Favre also surpassed the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth time in his career.

Sherman pulled Favre after his fourth series of the game and inserted backup Craig Nall. But not before safety Darren Sharper made his fourth interception of the season and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown with 11:52 left in the second quarter, to put Green Bay up 21-7.

Green Bay's defense stumbled out of the blocks, giving up a touchdown after the fourth play of the game. But Green Bay buckled down and sacked quarterback Chad Hutchinson five times and held the Bears to 112 yards of offense in the first half. Gbaja-Biamila, Cletidus Hunt, Cullen Jenkins, Mark Roman, and Corey Williams each had sacks in the first half. Gbaja-Biamila had three sacks in the second half.

Nall, in his first series of the game, led the Packers on a nifty 5-play, 71-yard scoring drive, highlighted by Javon Walker's impressive 25-yard touchdown catch as the Packers made it 28-7 with 6:14 left in the half. Walker jumped over cornerback Jerry Azumah in the end zone for his 12th touchdown of the season.

Thomas Jones, who scored on a three-yard run early in the game to give the Bears a 7-0 lead, closed the Bears to 28-14 on a 1-yard plunge midway through the third quarter.

Hutchinson's 63-yard pass to wide receiver David Terrell, the Bears' longest play from scrimmage this season, set up Jones' first touchdown.


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