Aaron Rodgers rallied after throwing two first-half interceptions, escaping an all-out blitz on fourth down and throwing a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randall Cobb with 38 seconds remaining to lift the Green Bay Packers to a 33-28 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, winning the NFC North division title.
It was the third consecutive fourth-down conversion on the winning drive by the Packers, the first a one-yard run by running back Eddie Lacy on 4th-and-1 from the Green Bay 22-yard line and the second a 6-yard pass from Rodgers to wide receiver Jordy Nelson on 4th-and-1 from the Packers' 44.
Nelson caught a game-high 10 passes for a game-high 161 yards.
The winning touchdown pass came on 4th-and-8 after two incomplete passes and a 2-yard run, with Rodgers escaping the blitz by rolling to his left and finding Cobb wide open inside the 10-yard line.
Rodgers, who had missed seven games with a broken collarbone, was rusty during a first half in which the Packers dominated - driving inside the Bears' 20-yard line four times and reaching the 26 on another drive.
Two of the drives ended in interceptions thrown by Rodgers and another stalled when he badly overthrew Nelson in the end zone on third down. In fact, the Packers' only first half touchdown came when Rodgers fumbled while being sacked and the Bears' defense, thinking it had been an incomplete pass, ignored the loose ball before wide receiver Jarrett Boykin of Green Bay picked it up and ran 15 yards into the end zone.
But with Green Bay leading, 13-7, starting the second half, Chicago scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions.
After a 49-yard punt return by Devin Hester set the Bears up at the Packers' 30-yard line, Chicago called five consecutive running plays, all of them by Matt Forte, the last for a five-yard touchdown and 14-13 lead.
Green Bay matched that score immediately, a 41-yard run by James Starks - after safety Craig Steltz missed a tackle that would have made it a short gain - setting up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Cobb to lead, 20-14.
Chicago came right back, a 67-yard bomb from quarterback Jay Cutler to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery setting up Forte's third touchdown, a one-yard run and 21-20 lead.
And after the Packers failed to advance the ball following the kickoff, the Bears drove 68 yards to stretch their lead to 28-20, Forte gaining 33 yards with a short pass and neat juke, leading to a five-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Brandon Marshall on the first play of the first quarter.
It became a 28-27 game after Tim Jennings missed a tackle on Nelson that turned a short pass into a 34-yard gain following the kickoff. Three plays later, tight end Andrew Quarless made a great diving catch for a 22-yard gain at the 6-yard line, and Lacy ran in for a touchdown on the next play.
With 11:38 remaining, Green Bay eschewed the two-point extra point attempt and settled for one, closing the gap to 28-27.
Chicago's attempt to increase its lead failed after the Bears crossed midfield, and the Bears punted the ball back to the Packers to begin the winning drive with 6:24 remaining. Green Bay covered 87 yards in 15 plays.
NOTES: Rodgers, who completed 25 of 39 passes for 318 yards, is now 10-3 as a starter against Chicago, while Cutler, who was 15 of 24 for 226 yards, is 1-8 as the Bears' starter against the Packers. ... Forte rushed for 110 yards for the Bears, but Chicago, with the league's worst run defense, allowed 160 on the ground. ... Chicago lost a starting offensive tackle, Jordan Mills, to a foot injury in the first quarter and he did not return. ... The Bears became the second highest-scoring team in Chicago history with 445 points this season, small consolation as they sit out the playoffs. ... The Packers have won nine of the last 11 meetings.