The Green Bay Packers broke open a close game in the fourth quarter, knocking off the Chicago Bears 35-16 on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Packers secured the top seed in the NFC, giving them a week off. They won’t play again until the divisional playoff round either Jan. 16 or 17.
The Packers put 21 points up on the board in the first half and had what looked like another touchdown to start the third quarter, when Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped what would have been a 53-yard touchdown pass.
After a slow start to the second half, Aaron Jones finally put the game away with a 4-yard touchdown run with 3:47 left. On the very next possession, Davante Adams caught his 18th touchdown pass of the season, tying Sterling Sharpe’s franchise record. He also broke Sharpe’s franchise record for single-season receptions.
Aaron Rodgers tossed four touchdown passes, giving him a career-best and franchise-record 48 for the season. It likely put the wraps on Rodgers bid for his third NFL MVP award. It also sets the Packers to host any NFC playoff games at Lambeau Field, as long as they win in the divisional playoffs.
Rodgers finished the season with 4,299 yards and 48 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He completed 70.7% of his passes.
One of the key’s to the game was red zone efficiency. The Packers scored touchdowns in all four of their red zone chances, while the Bears spent their time kicking field goals and finishing just 1 for 5.
The Packers played without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who was lost to a season-ending knee injury in practice on Thursday. Billy Turner moved over to left tackle to take Bakhtiari’s place and Rick Wagner made the start at right tackle.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur wrapped up his second straight 13-3 season. He’s the second head coach in NFL history to guide a team to a first-round bye in each of his first two seasons, joining George Seifert.
The Bears, despite the loss, still earned a spot in the NFC playoff field as the number-7 seed. They will open the postseason at New Orleans against the Saints on Sunday. Chicago gained the playoff spot after Arizona lost to the Los Angeles Rams.