Bears lose to Panthers

The Chicago Bears had a 21-14 lead coming out of halftime but the offense seemed to sputter and the team only managed three points in the entire second half of a game against the now NFC South leading Carolina Panthers.  The Panthers utilized a no huddle offense to get them back in the game and kicker Robbie Gould added the finishing kick to win the game 24-31.

“The no-huddle offense has been our edge,” said QB Cam Newton, who threw for 255 yards. “It was not panic time, because we have been in these situations before.”

The Bears (2-3) will have the opportunity to get back to  .500 on the road as they take on the Atlanta Falcons.  Plenty of cheap tickets and great seats are still available so be sure to get yours today and help cheer on your Chicago Bears!

 

Rodgers Leads Packers Past Bears to Top N.F.C. Seed

With the Packers nursing a 4-point lead early in the third quarter and the Lambeau Field crowd nervously quiet, Rodgers led the Packers on three straight touchdown drives to put the game out of reach.

The victory gives Green Bay (14-1) home-field advantage for the playoffs. The Bears (7-8), who have lost five in a row since losing quarterback Jay Cutler to a broken right thumb, were eliminated from playoff contention, clearing the way for the Atlanta Falcons to qualify as at least a wild card.

“To be able to be a part of something special like this has been incredible,” Rodgers said in a television interview after the game. “Great night tonight for us, securing that No. 1 seed.”

Chicago was able to stay in the game until the third quarter with solid defense and tough running by the third-string running back Kahlil Bell, who had 89 yards in the first half and finished with 121.

With the Bears trailing by 14-3 at halftime, quarterback Josh McCown found Earl Bennett wide open for a 49-yard gain to set up first-and-goal on the 1. Bell fumbled on the next play, but offensive lineman Edwin Williams recovered the ball for a touchdown, and the Bears cut the lead to 14-10.

Rodgers answered by dropping deep and throwing a rainbow pass to Jordy Nelson, who blew past Bears safety Major Wright and hauled in the ball for a 55-yard touchdown.

Rodgers showed his running ability on the Packers’ next possession, juking his way between Bears linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs on a scramble. Rodgers finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown to James Jones. A few minutes later, after an interception by Packers safety Charlie Peprah, Rodgers connected with Nelson for a 2-yard score, giving the Packers a commanding 35-10 lead.

Rodgers was 21 of 29 for 283 yards with no interceptions when the backup Matt Flynn took over for Rodgers with 7 minutes 54 seconds left in the game.

“Now we’re going to enjoy the rest of our Christmas with our families,” Rodgers said.

Playing with a patchwork offensive line because of injuries, the Packers used their no-huddle offense and bootlegs by Rodgers to keep the Bears’ pass rush off balance early.

Rodgers started quickly, driving the Packers 80 yards on their first possession and finishing with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jermichael Finley. The Bears responded with a drive featuring Bell, who started with Matt Forte and Marion Barber out injured. Chicago drove into Green Bay territory, but then committed back-to-back penalties. Robbie Gould missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt wide right.

The Packers’ offense slowed down from there, and some more hard runs by Bell had the Bears threatening to score again early in the second quarter. Clay Matthews picked a pass by McCown out of the air for an interception on a second-and-5 play at the Green Bay 22, ending the drive.

The Packers have beaten the Bears four times this year. Green Bay beat Chicago in the 2010 regular-season finale, in the N.F.C. championship game and at Soldier Field on Sept. 25.

PETERSON HAS TORN A.C.L. Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson tore a ligament in his left knee Saturday when he took a direct hit in a 33-26 win over the Washington Redskins. A magnetic resonance imaging exam showed the anterior cruciate ligament tear after the team returned to Minnesota.

Peterson said that he knew “it was something bad” the moment he was hit and that he was in “severe pain.” He was hurt when tackled by Redskins safety DeJon Gomes at the end of a 3-yard gain on the first offensive play of the second half.

The injury will probably sideline Peterson for nine months; he probably will not return for the start of next season.

Bears Out of Playoffs With 35-21 Loss to Packers

It didn’t turn out quite as badly as it sounded going in. Bell rushed for 121 yards, and McCown made enough plays to keep the game close into the third quarter.

But it wasn’t good enough to keep the Bears in the playoff chase. Aaron Rodgers threw five touchdowns, and the Green Bay Packers beat Chicago 35-21 on Sunday night.

“Yeah, that’s what this business is all about, getting a chance to showcase your abilities,” said Bell, a third-year player out of UCLA. “Tonight, I had a good shot and a good chance to get out there and play and try to make some plays for our team. Just unfortunate that we fell short.”

With the win, the Packers nailed down the No. 1 seed in the NFC and claimed another round of bragging rights in the NFL’s most storied rivalry. The loss eliminated the Bears (7-8) from postseason contention and put the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs.

The Bears trailed by only four points early in the third quarter, but Rodgers drove the Packers for touchdowns on their next three possessions to put the game out of reach.

“When you play the Super Bowl champions, you have to be on top of your game,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Offensively, we did enough things to keep us in the game and have a chance to win the game at the end. But defensively we just didn’t have it.”

The Bears have lost five straight games since losing quarterback Jay Cutler to a broken right thumb in a Nov. 20 victory over San Diego. Chicago was 7-3 then.

The Bears started McCown on Sunday after backup Caleb Hanie struggled to fill in for Cutler. McCown’s most recent start came with the Oakland Raiders in 2007, and he was out of the NFL last season.

McCown was 19 of 28 for 242 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

“All I know is, my number was called tonight and I played as hard as I could,” McCown said. “The bottom line is, we still came up short. We have to protect the football better. You can’t have those two (interceptions).”

To make matters worse for the Bears’ offense, Barber was inactive because of a calf injury. Chicago already was without Forte, who missed his third straight game because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Chicago did have Devin Hester, who played despite a lingering ankle injury, but he didn’t look like himself.

The Bears were able to stay in the game early, with solid defense and tough running by Bell and Armando Allen. Rodgers’ second-half fireworks proved to be too much for Chicago.

“Thirty-five points on that defense, that’s a good night,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

The victory was the Packers’ fourth over the Bears in 2011. Green Bay also beat Chicago in the 2010 regular-season finale, the NFC Championship game, and at Soldier Field on Sept. 25.

With the Bears trailing 14-3 at halftime, McCown found Earl Bennett wide open for a 49-yard gain to set up first-and-goal on the 1. Bell fumbled just short of the goal line on the next play but offensive lineman Edwin Williams recovered the ball for a touchdown.

With the Packers nursing a four-point lead, and the Lambeau Field crowd nervously quiet early in the third quarter, Rodgers answered by dropping deep and throwing a rainbow pass to Nelson, who blew through the Chicago secondary and hauled in the ball for a 55-yard touchdown.

Rodgers then showed his running ability on the Packers’ next possession, juking his way between linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs on a scramble. Rodgers finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown toss to Jones, giving the Packers a commanding 28-10 lead.

Packers safety Charlie Peprah came up with an interception, and Rodgers found Nelson for another score to give Green Bay a 35-10 lead.

McCown finally answered with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kellen Davis — then drew the ire of the Lambeau crowd by scrambling for a two-point conversion and spiking the ball over the goalpost with his team trailing 35-18.

“I was overcome with Christmas joy, I guess,” McCown said.

Now the Bears will be home for the playoffs.

“It’s tough,” offensive lineman Roberto Garza said. “We had a lot of big goals for the season. We had a lot of injuries, but that doesn’t matter. We have to step in, guys have to step up and make plays. We haven’t done that. We haven’t been able to score enough points. We haven’t been able to finish plays. Obviously, it falls squarely on us. We have to go out and do a better job of that.”