Gould’s late FG for Bears beats penalty-prone Pack

The Chicago Bears were going nowhere and hearing it from the

crowd. Good thing the Green Bay Packers were intent on giving this

one away.

”I’d rather have an ugly win than an ugly loss,” Bears

linebacker Brian Urlacher said.

This one certainly wasn’t pretty, even if the Bears remained

unbeaten and established themselves as NFC contenders.

Robbie Gould kicked a 19-yard field goal with 4 seconds left

after Urlacher forced a fumble in the closing minutes, and Chicago

took advantage of a Green Bay team-record 18 penalties to beat the

Packers 20-17 on Monday night.

Packers receiver James Jones lost a fumble on a hit by Urlacher

before Green Bay’s Morgan Burnett was called for pass interference

on Earl Bennett, setting up the winning kick.

Jay Cutler threw for 221 yards for the Bears (3-0), who kept

insisting they were contenders through a sloppy preseason and

less-than-inspiring opening win over Detroit. Since then, they

turned heads with a win at Dallas last week and opened some more

eyes against Green Bay – with lots of help from the Packers.

Urlacher jarred the ball out of Jones’ hands after he caught a

pass from Aaron Rodgers near midfield. Tim Jennings recovered,

giving Chicago the ball on the Packers 46 with 2:18 remaining.

”Any time a play like that comes up, that’s a play you need to

make,” the Packers’ Nick Barnett said. ”Luckily for them they

didn’t have any penalties on that call and they were able to get

the ball.”

Soon after, another penalty cost the Packers (2-1) in a big

way.

On second down at the 33, Cutler tried to hit Bennett deep along

the right sideline and Burnett basically hammered him, wiping out

an interception by Nick Collins and putting the ball at the 9.

Three plays later, Chicago walked away with a wild win and the only

undefeated record in the NFC.

”This is where we want to be and we’re going to have to fight

to stay there,” linebacker Lance Briggs said.

The Packers will have to cut down on the penalties and general

sloppiness that haunted them in the end.

”I don’t feel bad about the penalties,” Rodgers said. ”That’s

not the way we play. That’s disappointing. We’re a better

team.”

Devin Hester delivered his first touchdown return in three years

when he ran back a punt 62 yards in the fourth quarter, giving the

Bears a short-lived 14-10 lead.

Rodgers threw for 316 yards and a touchdown and scored on a

3-yard run that gave the Packers a 17-14 lead in the fourth

quarter. Jermichael Finley had nine catches for 115 yards, but the

sloppiness simply caught up with the Packers in the end.

Cutler completed 16 of 27 passes with a touchdown and an

interception. Johnny Knox had four catches for 94 yards.

Chicago held its longtime rival to 63 yards rushing, but the

Bears had only 77, turning it into an air game for much of the

night.

Hester had just put the Bears ahead in the opening seconds of

the fourth quarter when the Packers responded with a 62-yard

touchdown drive.

A roughing-the-passer penalty on Henry Melton gave them a first

down at the 3. Rodgers, who cramped up a few plays earlier, rolled

to his right and lunged into the end zone, making it 17-14.

Then the Packers basically gave it away.

Frank Zombo got called for a helmet-on-helmet hit against Cutler

on the next drive that erased an interception by Barnett. On second

down, Collins got called for a late hit on Matt Forte after a

15-yard reception, putting the ball on the Packers 29.

Gould made a 25-yard field goal to tie it at 17 with 3:59

left.

Hester’s return eased the sting after the Bears again were

stopped at the goal line for the second time this season when

choosing not to go for the field goal. The Bears had fourth and

inches late in the third when coach Lovie Smith decided to go for

the end zone, and they failed to score again, just as they did

against Detroit in the opener. This time, Desmond Clark dropped a

potential TD pass.

Hester, however, showed his old explosiveness. He took a punt at

the 38, broke up the right sideline and didn’t stop until he

reached the end zone in a familiar scene, albeit one that hadn’t

played in a while.

”My first few years it looked far too easy,” Hester said.

”Once or twice, every three weeks. It’s been a long time but I’m

happy with what happened today. I feel confident in my teammates

and I let them know that.”

It was 12th time he’s returned a kickoff or punt for a touchdown

and the first since Dec. 30, 2007. He is now tied for second with

Dante Hall and Eric Metcalf, one behind Brian Mitchell’s 13.

”It’s been a little bit since Devin has really been electric

back there,” Cutler said. ”So to get him going again, get him

feeling it and energized, he brings a whole new feel to the

game.”