CHICAGO (AP) Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were rolling along with a big lead, looking as though they would take another step toward a playoff spot and the top of the NFC North.
Once it disappeared, they still found a way to pull out the victory.
Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson with a 60-yard pass to set up Mason Crosby’s 32-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Green Bay Packers to a 30-27 victory over the Bears in one of the coldest games ever played in Chicago on Sunday.
Wide receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns. Micah Hyde broke up a potential go-ahead touchdown pass, and the Packers (8-6) earned their fourth straight victory despite blowing a 27-10 lead in the fourth quarter.
They also moved ahead of Minnesota for sole possession of second place in the NFC North and pulled within a game of division leader Detroit, with the Vikings getting pounded by Indianapolis and the Lions losing to the New York Giants.
”I think we have a lot of grit as a team,” Rodgers said. ”We stick together in adverse situations. There wasn’t any finger pointing after 27-10 turned into 27-27 for either side. We just knew we had to go out and make something happen. It’s fun to be standing here at 8-6. We all know what 4-6 felt like. It was tough.”
For the Bears (3-11), it was more of the same.
They had tied it on a field goal by Connor Barth with 1:19 left. The Packers took over at their 27, and on third-and-11 at the 26, Rodgers unleashed a deep pass down the middle of the field to Nelson, who got behind Cre’Von LeBlanc.
With no timeouts, the Packers downed the ball before Crosby booted his winner.
”The team has a lot of character,” Chicago defensive end Akiem Hicks said. ”The team has a lot of players who are willing to fight to the end, put everything on the line. This is our life. This is what we do.”
All that happened on a day when the game-time temperature was 11 degrees with a minus-4 wind chill.
Chicago hosted the Packers in 3-degree temperature and a minus-15 wind chill – the lowest ever for a Bears home game – on Dec. 18, 1983. The Bears’ coldest home game, temperature-wise, was against Green Bay on Dec. 22, 2008, when it was 2 degrees with a minus-13 wind chill.
Rodgers threw for 252 yards despite problems his left hamstring and right calf that kept him out of practice during the week.
Montgomery had several big runs, including a 61-yarder, after coach Mike McCarthy announced he is now a full-time running back. He also scored from the 4 on the game’s opening possession and added a 3-yard TD in the third quarter that made it 20-10.
Christine Michael ran for a 42-yard touchdown . Julius Peppers had a strip-sack that led to a field goal. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix added two interceptions, and the Packers tied the NFL’s oldest rivalry for the first time since 1933 at 94-94-6.
Chicago’s Matt Barkley threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off three times.
Alshon Jeffery came on strong near the end to finish with 89 yards on six catches in his return from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
Deonte Thompson led Chicago with 110 yards receiving. Cameron Meredith added nine catches for 104 yards, but the Bears lost for the fifth time in six games.
Green Bay was clinging to a three-point lead in the closing minutes when Hyde reached in front of Meredith at the goal line on third down at the Packers 4. Chicago chose to have Barth kick a field goal rather than try again for a touchdown.
”To have it even out all those years is pretty crazy.” – Nelson on tying the rivalry.
The Packers and Bears combined for 900 yards in their 152nd regular-season meeting since 1940. It’s their highest total in that span, according to the NFL.
Packers: RB James Starks sat out because of a concussion. McCarthy said the veteran running back was in a car crash Monday.
Bears: NT Eddie Goldman was inactive after leaving last week’s game at Detroit because of an ankle injury. … LB Jerrell Freeman served the final game of a four-game suspension for a PED violation.
Packers: Host Minnesota on Saturday.
Bears: Host Washington on Saturday.
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