Hunt sacked, KGB sacks

Cletidus Hunt was benched. Or maybe not. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila got three sacks. Or maybe it was four. Grady Jackson was given the day off to rest his ailing knee.

However you look at it, the Green Bay Packers' defensive line had one of its best days of the season in a 31-14 dismantling of the Chicago Bears in Sunday's regular-season finale at Chicago.

The Bears, with the league's worst offense, were held to 246 yards. Seventy-six of those came on the game-opening drive. Seventy-eight of those came in a third-quarter touchdown drive that was kept alive when the Packers gave the Bears a first down by putting 12 men on the field during a punt.

All in all, for the defense-impaired Packers, it was a great springboard into the playoffs against high-powered Minnesota.

"It's awesome we were able to do that and it gives us the confidence we need going into the playoffs," said Gbaja-Biamila. "We need that little extra edge going into the playoffs."

It started with Gbaja-Biamila, who spent enough time in the Bears' backfield that he should have worn a navy-blue-and-orange jersey. Depending on what version of the NFL's stat sheets you look at, he had either three or four sacks. Either way, he was a one-man wrecking crew as the Packers piled up a team-record nine sacks. Not bad for a team that entered the game with 31 sacks in the first 15 games.

Gbaja-Biamila's first sack was the biggest. With the scored tied at 7, Chicago's R.W. McQuarters returned a punt to the Packers' 40-yard line. With Chicago nearly in scoring position, Gbaja-Biamila stormed around lead-rooted left tackle Marc Colombo and dropped Chad Hutchinson for a 7-yard loss before he could even get planted in the pocket. That forced a Bears punt, and the Packers scored the go-ahead touchdown with a two-play, 86-yard scoring drive.

Gbaja-Biamila added two sacks — officially, at least — in the fourth quarter. The first came when Gbaja-Biamila ran around Colombo again. On the final drive, Gbaja-Biamila picked up two more sacks, although one was credited by mistake to Colin Cole. Just before the two-minute warning, Gbaja-Biamila bull rushed Colombo, pushing the beleaguered left tackle into Hutchinson before Gbaja-Biamila shed Colombo and dropped Hutchinson. After the two-minute warning, Gbaja-Biamila ran around Colombo again for the fourth sack. That one was credited to Cole, though it was clearly Gbaja-Biamila.

"I thought I had four. I had three in the second half, I had one in the beginning of the game," Gbaja-Biamila said. "Assuming I had four, that's the most I ever had in a game."

It also gave him 13 1/2 for the season — assuming he's credited with four sacks — marking the fourth consecutive year he reached double digits.

"I think it shows I'm a force and that I'm being consistent," said Gbaja-Biamila. "It means a lot. I couldn't do it with great coaches. I've been blessed by God and by working with Jethro (Franklin) and the other coaches. They kind of put the quarterback in my area to get those sacks."

Reggie White is the only other player in Packers history to post 10 or more sacks in four seasons, turning the trick in 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1998.

Gbaja-Biamila said he was inspired by White, who died a week ago at the age of 43.

"We had a locker set up for Reggie White, with his jersey hanging there, helmet and everything as if he was going to play," Gbaja-Biamila said. "Coach Sherman kept saying, ‘Play the way he would have played the game.' I tried. He inspired our team, our whole organization."

As for Hunt, Sherman said he benched the defensive tackle for his lackluster play last week at Minnesota. Hunt didn't even show up on the final stat sheet in that game.

"I didn't think he played well enough last week to warrant a start this week," Sherman said.

That was news to Hunt, or he has selective memory.

"Just resting for next week," Hunt said. "I'm not injured at all. They just decided to do it."

Hunt was benched in favor of Cullen Jenkins. If Sherman intended to light a fire under Hunt, it worked. He finished with three tackles, a batted-down pass, a sack and at least one pressure, and also set up Corey Williams for a sack.

"It looked like he made a few plays out there," Sherman said. "Hopefully that got him going again."

Jackson's benching was meant to give his ailing knee a break. Jackson injured his knee in the season opener and underwent surgery and missed several games. He has fought through the pain for the rest of the season, but hasn't practiced in about a month as Sherman has tried to keep Jackson ready for game day.

Cole started for Jackson and made three tackles. Jenkins finished with two tackles and a sack.

According to the official stats, the Packers' sacks were registered by Gbaja-Biamila (three), Cole, Jenkins, Hunt, Williams, Mark Roman and R-Kal Truluck.

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