Bears Place Cutler, Forte on IR

The moves on Tuesday were hardly surprising given Chicago’s recent struggles. The Bears (7-8) have lost five straight since Cutler broke his right thumb late in a win over San Diego on Nov. 20, and things took another bad turn two weeks later when Forte sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee against Kansas City.

Cutler, who was scheduled to have surgically inserted pins removed Tuesday, threw for 2,319 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Forte finished with 997 yards rushing and 490 receiving.

The Bears elevated defensive tackle Jordan Miller from the practice squad and signed guard Mansfield Wrotto.

Cutler’s injury sent Chicago into a tailspin, knocking out of contention a team that appeared on its way to the playoffs after last year’s run to the NFC title game. The Bears were mathematically eliminated with a loss at Green Bay on Sunday, but they probably weren’t going to make it by the time they arrived at Lambeau Field.

One reason for that was the lack of a reliable backup quarterback.

Chicago put in a waiver claim on Kyle Orton after Cutler went down, but Kansas City had priority and got him. The Bears wound up signing Josh McCown, who was coaching quarterbacks at a North Carolina high school, and passed on going after Donovan McNabb after Minnesota let him go.

Meanwhile, backup Caleb Hanie struggled in a big way and went 0-4 as the starter. McCown got the nod against the Packers and performed better, throwing for 242 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in his first NFL appearance since 2009, but the Bears saw their playoff hopes vanish in a 35-21 loss.

A healthy Forte might have made a difference, but his season ended when he took a hit to the knee against Kansas City. It didn’t help that backup Marion Barber committed costly mistakes in losses to the Chiefs and Denver the following week.

He had a touchdown catch in a 10-3 loss to Kansas City called off because he lined up illegally, forcing Chicago to settle for a field goal, and things only got worse for him the following week. Barber got pushed out of bounds on a run near the end of regulation, helping give Denver enough time to tie the game. In overtime, his fumble led to the winning field goal.

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.