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Week 3: Rodgers leads Packers over Bears 27-17

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Boxscore: Packers 27, Bears 17
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Updated: September 26, 2011 10:35AM

A week after they showed they couldn’t close, the Bears reversed course against the Green Bay Packers and showed they couldn’t start.

The defense gave up a touchdown on the opening drive, with an interception by Charles Tillman in the end zone negated by an offsides penalty on linebacker Lance Briggs. But that wasn’t all. There was poor tackling, and the Packers controlled the line of scrimmage, providing quarterback Aaron Rodgers time to release quick passes to his weapons, namely Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings.

Rodgers needed just eight plays and three minutes and 35 seconds to move his team 80 yards, capping the scoring drive with a six-yard touchdown to tight end Jermichael Finley.

Then, despite gaining a first down, the Bears offense punted the ball away, then quarterback Jay Cutler tossed an interception on his third series.

The Bears lost the game at Soldier Field 27-17.

After the Bears allowed a three-point, third-quarter deficit against the New Orleans Saints to crumble into a 30-13 loss, the Bears offense had a chance to rebound against the Packers’ defense, a unit that had given up an astounding 932 passing yards in the NFL in the first two weeks.

What the Bears defense and special teams may not have been clear, but the Bears offense surely could take advantage of the league’s worst pass defense, one that was shredded for 432 passing yards in Week 2 by Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton.

Not exactly.

The Bears offense looked much like the unit for stretches of the 2010 season. An inability to consistently run the football. Their quarterback under duress. And receivers not making routine plays.

Through three quarters, Cutler completed just 12 of 26 passes for 199 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. His rating was 69.2, and he was sacked twice.

Surprisingly, an offense that has struggled this season attempted to get fancy late in the third quarter. After the first, first down of the second half, on the fourth offensive series, the Bears split Cutler to the right, and had Forte take the snaps. But receiver Devin Hester was called for a false start. Then, receiver Johnny Knox dropped a pass that would have gained about 20 yards. But he dropped the ball, as safety Charlie Peprah was hitting him. Then, on third down, a dump off pass to Matt Forte gained just nine yards.

The Bears punted the ball away.

In the fourth quarter, after Brian Urlacher intercepted a pass, the Bears offense went backwards with several penalties and punted the ball away.

The blame wasn’t the offense’s alone.

The Bears defense couldn’t contain Jennings or Finley, with the two players combining for 16 catches for over 200 yards.

But they did generate two turnovers, with the Bears capitalizing on a Lance Briggs forced fumble. Cutler completed a pass to tight end Kellen Davis, who wheeled around, dodged one defender and got into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown.

Ultimately, though, Rodgers made enough key completions to keep his team comfortably ahead.

He has now led the Packers to victory a 5-2 record in his last seven games against the Bears, including the NFC title game.

The Packers are 3-0, but they have some company because the Detroit Lions have the same record. The Lions rebounded from a 21-0 halftime deficit to force overtime and defeat the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome 26-23.

The Bears next face the Panthers, led by Newton, who earned his first NFL victory on Sunday over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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