Offense: Aaron Rodgers
The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback got off to a slow start, but went on to complete 23 of 36 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He was flushed from the pocket several times, but kept his eyes down the field and created a number of big plays. He escaped pressure twice on third down and found receiver Randall Cobb to keep drives alive. Overall, Rodgers completed eight of 12 attempts on third or fourth down with one touchdown. Rodgers’ quarterback rating of 116.8 was his fourth best of the season and the highest since Week 7 against St. Louis.
Defense: Clay Matthews
Welcome back, Clay Matthews. After missing the past four games with a hamstring injury, the outside linebacker made an impact against the Bears. Matthews contributed two of the teams’ four sacks and finished with four tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and one pass defended. While most think of Matthews as a pure pass rusher, his ability to stop the run has improved during his time in Green Bay. Several times, the Bears attempted to use a tight end to block him but he was able to hold the point of attack and limit Chicago’s running game.
Special Teams: Tim Masthay
It wasn’t a stellar day for this unit, as Mason Crosby missed a pair of field goals and an attempted throwback pass from Randall Cobb to Jeremy Ross resulted in a turnover. Fortunately, Masthay was solid. He averaged 41.6 yards per punt and on his fifth and final kick of the day he dropped one inside the Bears’ 3-yard line. Dangerous returner Devin Hester was generally held in check outside of a 24-yard return that ended with Masthay tackling him.
Tweet of the Game
GB/CHI game. It's a foul. He hit him in the head. There was helmet to helmet contact. The league wants that called!— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) December 16, 2012
--Former Vice President of Officiating in the NFL and current Rules Analyst for FOX Sports Mike Pereira, responding after Chicago’s Julius Peppers got called for a late hit on the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, extending a Green Bay drive in the fourth quarter.
Quote of the Day
"Mason needs to make those kicks. We’re at that time of year – we left points on the field today and the two missed field goals are definitely make-able field goals. Obviously, it factors into some of the decisions you make after that. It’s time for him to step up."
--Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy on kicker Mason Crosby’s struggles after he missed two more field goals against the Bears on Sunday.
In Case You Missed It
With his three touchdowns, Aaron Rodgers became only the third quarterback in NFL history with three 30-plus touchdown seasons before the age of 30. He joins Dan Marino and Brett Favre.
The Packers lined up in their inverted wishbone formation in the third quarter with backup offensive linemen Evan Dietrich-Smith and Greg Van Roten lined up as the fullbacks. They ran to the left with DeJuan Harris, who gained one yard.