Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is tackled by Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (right) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The game couldn’t have started out better for the Bears. Devin Hester took the opening kickoff back 39 yards, but with an unnecessary roughness penalty, the Bears started in Packers territory and the 43 yard line. That’s where the good stops. The Bears went 3 and out and an Adam Podlesh touchback (where is that 25 yard punt when we need it. More on that in a minute) set the Packers up to march down the field.
Rodgers was clearly a bit rusty coming into the game but thanks to Eddie Lacy and a willing Bears defense, the Packers moved the ball the length of the field before Chris Conte picked off an Aaron Rodgers pass to stall the Packers drive and give the Bears the ball back. The Bears cashed in on the takeaway and Cutler, Marshall and Matt Forte drove the Bears down the field, capped off by a short 4-yard Cutler to Forte TD pass. Things looking good in Bearsland.
The very next Packers drive ended like the previous one did – with an Aaron Rodgers INT, his second of the day. After the Bears failed to cash in, the Packers were able to go on a 10 play scoring drive capped off by a Mason Crosby field goal, to pull to within 7-3. This is where things started to get weird – the first of many questionable calls by the referees.
Following a Lance Briggs sack on a 3rd and 5 that would have put the Packers back at the Bears 33 yard line, Shea McClellin was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty, a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down. Free points for the Packers to continue the drive.
After another skunky Bears possession and an even skunkier Adam Podlesh 31-yard punt, the Packers were in business in Bears territory. Things got weirder. As the Packers marched down the field, Julius Peppers flashed for one of his 7.5 sacks and forced a fumble. It appeared to be an incomplete pass but no whistle sounded and everyone on the field just stopped until the Packers sideline was able to urge Jarrett Boykin to scoop it up and run for the end zone.
Say what you want about Lovie Smith – and I’m far from a Lovie apologist – but his defenses always gave an excellent effort and rallied to the ball. There is ZERO chance that that ball would not be been picked up by a Lovie Smith coached defense. James Anderson practically kicked it but was too lazy to bend over a pick it up. As my auto-correct fixed my original tweet: Unreal. #Bears trail 10-7 because they’re a bunch of lazy ducking apples on defense. I’ll let you figure out what I was trying to express. This concludes the Lovie Smith portion of this post.
The Bears headed to the halftime locker room trailing the Packers 13-7 and things looked pretty bleak for the Beloved. Then they came out playing inspired football at the start of the third quarter.