Plays of the game: Picks into points

Interceptions returned for touchdowns by Nick Collins and Patrick Dendy spark the Packers' season-ending victory over rival Chicago.

As you read this, Chicago Bears fans will still be ripping their hair out.

How can the Bears, the obvious cream of the dreadful NFC, even get to the Super Bowl — much less win it — with Wrecks, er, Rex Grossman as their quarterback?

Grossman's problems resurfaced after a three-game stretch of impressive play, and his two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns were the key plays of Sunday night's 26-7 Packers victory at Soldier Field.

The first one was especially critical. The Packers were ahead 7-0, but momentum was beginning to shift toward Chicago. Nathan Vasher thwarted a potential Packers scoring drive by intercepting Brett Favre, and the Bears' running game began to find its legs.

But on a third-and-2 play late in the first quarter, the game changed. A backpedaling Grossman starred at Desmond Clark the entire time, and floated a pass to his tight end in the left flat. Safety Nick Collins, who had obviously seen the play during his film study, charged forward, stepped in front of the pass, and easily scored a 55-yard touchdown that gave the Packers a 13-0 lead.

Late in the second quarter, after the Packers had just extended their lead to 16-0, the defense delivered again.

Defensive tackle Corey Williams, who had spent much of the night in the Bears' backfield, was stopped in his effort to get to Grossman again, but had the presence of mind to raise his hands and deflect Grossman's pass intended for Rashien Davis. Davis did Grossman no favors by stopping his route upon Williams' deflection, and nickel cornerback Patrick Dendy intercepted and ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown.

That made it 23-0 with 34 seconds left in the half. Not surprisingly considering the Bears' offensive woes, that margin was far too much for them to overcome.

The Packers wound up winning 26-7. Favre called it the Packers' "Super Bowl," and Green Bay, while falling short of the playoffs, finally got the big win it had been seeking the entire season.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

Packer Report Top Stories