CHICAGO – Aaron Rodgers is back leading the Green Bay Packers and that could be bad news for every other playoff team.
He returned from a broken collarbone and is taking aim at a postseason run, even if it took one big pass to get there.
Rodgers fired a 48-yard touchdown to Randall Cobb in the final minute, and the Packers beat the Chicago Bears 33-28 to capture the NFC North championship on Sunday.
“This is a special group of guys who’ve been through a lot,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a roller coaster.”
Back after missing seven games with a broken left collarbone, Rodgers found a wide-open Cobb on fourth-and-8 to wipe out a one-point deficit with 38 seconds left.
Green Bay will host San Francisco Sunday in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bears had one final drive, but Jay Cutler’s deep pass to Alshon Jeffery was intercepted by Sam Shields on the final play.
That gave the Packers (8-7-1) their third straight division title and fifth postseason appearance in a row. It also kept the Bears (8-8) out of the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.
Things weren’t looking great for the Packers after Chicago’s Brandon Marshall spun away from Tramon Williams in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 28-20. But Green Bay answered with a touchdown drive.
Eddie Lacy ran in from the 6 after a 22-yard pass from Rodgers to Andrew Quarless went through safety Chris Conte’s hands, making it a one-point game.
Then, on the winning drive, Green Bay converted twice on fourth-and-1 before Rodgers eluded pressure and unleashed that winning pass to Cobb.
A block by John Kuhn on Julius Peppers helped Rodgers roll to the edge and find Cobb by himself down the field.
Packers 33, Bears 28
Chi—Forte 4 pass from Cutler (Gould kick)
GB—FG Crosby 33
GB—Boykin 15 offensive fumble return (Crosby kick)
GB—FG Crosby 27
Chi—Forte 5 run (Gould kick)
GB—Cobb 7 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
Chi—Forte 1 run (Gould kick)
Chi—Marshall 5 pass from Cutler (Gould kick)
GB—Lacy 6 run (Crosby kick)
GB—Cobb 48 pass from Rodgers (pass failed)
|Total Net Yards||473||345|
|Time of Possession||35:09||24:51|
RUSHING—Green Bay, Starks 11-88, Lacy 21-66, Rodgers 1-5, Kuhn 1-1. Chicago, Forte 22-110, Bush 2-11.
PASSING—Green Bay, Rodgers 25-39-2-318. Chicago, Cutler 15-24-1-226.
RECEIVING—Green Bay, Nelson 10-161, J.Jones 6-41, Cobb 2-55, Quarless 2-31, Lacy 2-15, Boykin 2-8, Starks 1-7. Chicago, Marshall 6-74, Forte 4-47, Jeffery 3-80, M.Bennett 1-15, Wilson 1-10.
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