Green Bay Packers (8-6) 30, Chicago Bears (3-11) 27
Sunday December 18th 2016 (at Chicago)
Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) kicks the game-winning field goal through Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (92) and the line to end the fourth quarter. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
(CHICAGO) - Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson with a 60-yard pass to set up Mason Crosby's 32-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Green Bay Packers to a 30-27 victory over the Bears in one of the coldest games ever played in Chicago on Sunday afternoon.Wide receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns, and the Packers (8-6) earned their fourth straight victory despite blowing a 17-point 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. The Bears (3-11) had tied it on a field goal by Connor Barth with 1:19 left. The Packers took over at their 27, and on third down 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 game-time temperature for their matchup against Green Bay on Sunday 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. Green Bay, of course, played the coldest NFL game on record when it beat Dallas in the 1967 NFL championship game — the "Ice Bowl." 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. The Packers as though they were on their way to an easy win after that huge third quarter. But the Bears came storming back. An 8-yard touchdown catch by Jeffery and 9-yard run by Jordan Howard midway through the fourth cut it to 27-24. The Bears took over on their 21 with 5:42 remaining and had a third down at the Packers 4 when Micah Hyde reached in front of Meredith at the goal line, forcing Chicago to settle for Barth's tying field goal.
INJURY REPORT: 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.
                         GREEN BAY       CHICAGO
First downs                     20            29
Rushes-yards                23-226         19-95
Net Passing yards              225           354
Passing (Att-Comp-Int)     31-19-0       43-30-3
Sacked-Yards Lost             4-27           1-8
Punts-Average               4-42.0        2-44.0
Fumbles                        0-0           1-1
Penalties-Yards               8-64          6-40
Time of Possession           32:47         27:13
GREEN BAY -  7   3  17   3 - 30
CHICAGO   -  0  10   0  17 - 27
1st - GB - Ty Montgomery, 4-yard run (Mason Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
2nd - CHI - Connor Barth, 26-yard field goal GREEN BAY 7-3
2nd - CHI - Joshua Bellamy, 10-yard pass from Matt Barkley (Barth kick) CHICAGO 10-7
2nd - GB - Crosby, 34-yard field goal TIED 10-10
3rd - GB - Crosby, 18-yard field goal GREEN BAY 13-10
3rd - GB - Montgomery, 3-yard run (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 20-10
3rd - GB - Christine Michael, 42-yard run (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 27-10
4th - CHI - Alshon Jeffery, 8-yard pass from Barkley (Barth kick) GREEN BAY 27-17
4th - CHI - Jordan Howard, 9-yard run (Barth kick) GREEN BAY 27-24
4th - CHI - Barth, 22-yard field goal TIED 27-27
4th - GB - Crosby, 32-yard field goal GREEN BAY 30-27
GREEN BAY - Ty Montgomery 15-162 2 TD, Christine Michael 4-45 1 TD, Aaron Rodgers 3-19
CHICAGO - Jordan Howard 17-90 1 TD, Jeremy Langford 1-4, Ka'Deem Carey 1-1
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 31-19-252
CHICAGO - Matt Barkley 43-30-362 2 TD 3 INT
GREEN BAY - Jordy Nelson 7-124, Jared Cook 6-85, Davante Adams 2-25, Ty Montgomery 2-1, Richard Rodgers 1-10, Geronimo Allison 1-7
CHICAGO - Cameron Meredith 9-104, Deonte Thompson 8-110, Alshon Jeffery 6-89 1 TD, Jordan Howard 4-23, Jeremy Langford 1-18, Josh Bellamy 1-10 1 TD, Daniel Brown 1-8
Indianapolis 34, MINNESOTA 6 - Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts were left for dead after a deflating home loss to the Houston Texans last week. Slicing and dicing one of the league's best defenses on the road breathed some life right back into them. Luck threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns and the Colts rolled to a 34-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Robert Turbin rushed for two touchdowns, Mike Adams forced a fumble and added an interception for the Colts (7-7). Frank Gore rushed for 101 yards and Indianapolis won on the road for the fourth time this season in surprisingly easy fashion over the league's second-ranked defense. ''We understood where we were, that we needed to come out and win and that's our job as professionals,'' Luck said. ''It's a duty to each other and we managed to do that.'' Adrian Peterson had just 22 yards on six carries and lost a fumble in his first game back from a knee injury for the Vikings (7-7). The Vikings entered the game believing they needed to win the final three games of the season to make the playoffs. Sam Bradford threw for 291 yards with one interception and one lost fumble for Minnesota. After a critical home loss to Houston last week, the Colts entered the week trailing the Texans and Titans in the AFC South and facing a daunting road matchup against coach Mike Zimmer's defense. The Vikings ranked second in the NFL in yards and points allowed and had made star quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford look ordinary with their relentless, attacking scheme. But Luck completed 21 of 28 passes and was barely touched all afternoon, hitting Erik Swoope for a 27-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Colts a 17-0 lead. The big play seemed to sap some of the Vikings' spirit on defense, a rarity in Zimmer's three seasons at the helm. They showed little fight on Turbin's second TD run of the game, a pin-balling 6-yard score in which he bounced off two attempted tackles by Everson Griffen and ran through half-hearted attempts from Brian Robison and Captain Munnerlyn that made it 24-0 just before halftime. ''I want to find out who is going to fight,'' Zimmer said. ''That was not a fighting performance there. They were more physical than us today. They played with more tenacity than we did. That's usually not how it goes. So we'll find out.'' Luck capped the day with an easy 50-yard strike to Phillip Dorsett.
NY GIANTS 17, Detroit 6 - ​Defense wins championships, and right now the New York Giants are convincing many that they might be the NFL's best. Forget that they are ranked in the middle of the league. In the past two games, Steve Spagnuolo's group has limited division leaders Dallas and Detroit to a total of 13 points, and Sunday's 17-6 win over the Lions on Sunday came in a game where top cornerback Janoris Jenkins left early in the second quarter with a back injury. Add in another Odell Beckham Jr. one-hand touchdown catch to delight replay fanatics and the Giants have inched closer to their first playoff berth since 2011, and maybe more, with a win that snapped the NFC North-leading Lions' five-game winning streak. ''This is really exciting, I don't even know the word to use,'' linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. ''It's
starting to be a beautiful thing. Thirteen points the last two weeks, we like where we're at now.'' The win was the eighth in nine games for the Giants (10-4) and it gave them their best record through 14 games since 2008, when they opened 11-3. The formula was the one the team has followed in Ben McAdoo's first season: Just enough offense and a tough stingy, pass-rushing defense that has now come up with big back-to-back efforts against two division leaders in Dallas (11-2) and Detroit (9-5), giving up 13 total points. Eli Manning (20 of 28 for 201 yards) threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard on a 75-yard opening drive and then iced the game with a 4-yard TD pass that Beckham caught with his left hand and then pranced into the end zone for a 11-point lead with 5:20 to play. ''Norm,'' veteran receiver Victor Cruz said of Beckham's one-hander, which still paled in comparison to the fully extended TD catch against Dallas in his rookie year. ''The norm. I wasn't even surprised.'' Beckham said catches like that ''just kind of happens'' for him. ''You practice it and practice it,'' he said. ''That's why you practice right hand layups and left hand layups. It's just kind of, I don't know.'' Beckham, who had six catches for 64 yards, almost wasn't done. He reversed field about three times on a 63-yard punt return that brought the remaining fans to their seats less than a minute later. The electrifying return was nullified by an illegal block, but was simply a thrill to watch. The Lions, who had rallied in the fourth quarter to win eight of their nine games, never came close to a comeback in this one as the Giants made them play on a long field all day. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford didn't show any major issues playing with an injured middle finger on his throwing hand. He finished 24 of 39 for 274 yards and an interception , finding Golden Tate eight times for 122 yards. ''They're a good team,'' Stafford said. ''Their secondary is probably the best we've played all year. They've got a really good defensive line. We knew it was going to be a challenge going into the day. We just didn't make enough plays.'' The biggest play for the Lions was a 67-yard throw from Stafford to Tate that gave the Lions first-and-10 at the Giants 11, trailing 7-3 in the second quarter. On first down, Zach Zenner fumbled at the end of a 7-yard run after being hit by Leon Hall and Olivier Vernon recovered in the end zone. ''Obviously, we lost the turnover battle, lost the rushing battle. It's tough to win on the road when you do that,'' Stafford said. ''We've got to look in the mirror and correct what we did wrong today.'' Matt Prater accounted for the Lions' points with field goals of 48 yards in the second quarter and 33 in the third. The second cut the deficit to 10-6 - New York had gotten a 47-yard field goal from Robbie Gould late in the second quarter. However, the Lions never got closer as New York limited Detroit to 5 of 14 on third down and 324 yards.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson makes a 60-yard reception to set up the game-winning field goal ahead of Bears cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc in the fourth quarter.
 (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
Bears cornerback Tracy Porter (21) is unable to stop Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery (88) from scoring a touchdown in the first quarter. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)