The Chicago Bears improved to 5-3 on the season after a 27-20 victory against the Green Bay Packers Monday night.
The Bears exploded for 442 yards of total offense, and quarterback Josh McCown filled in admirably for the injured Jay Cutler. An injury to Aaron Rodgers forced the Packers to turn to veteran Seneca Wallace, but they ultimately came up short.
The Bears now share the lead atop of the NFC North division and will prepare for a showdown next week with the 5-3 Detroit Lions.
Here are my five takeaways from the Bears' 27-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
After a solid performance against the Washington Redskins a couple of weeks ago, and with some time off with their bye week, Josh McCown had ample time to prepare for the Green Bay Packers. A combination of his preparation, as well as tremendous play-calling from Marc Trestman, allowed McCown to lead the Bears to a victory against the Packers on Monday night.
McCown finished the game going 22-of-41 for 272 yards and two touchdowns, all while handling himself like the old wily veteran that he is.
He consistently put his team in a good position all night and all while not committing any turnovers. His most impressive drive came in the fourth quarter where they had an 18-play, 80-yard drive that took 8:58 off the fourth-quarter clock and included a 4th-and-1 conversion from their own 32 with 7:50 left.
After the game McCown said, via Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, "This is neat, this is really neat. It means so much to our team, because it's a divisional opponent, it's for the division lead, it's all those things. So it's special, I'm very thankful."
Just as McCown was thankful, Bears fans are thankful for the performance he put in on Monday night and how his strong game allows the Bears to not rush back the injured Cutler.
Audible gasps were heard on the Monday Night Football telecast following Shea McClellin's sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter.
Rodgers left the field and headed to the locker room and was later announced to be out for the remainder of the game with a shoulder injury.
Seneca Wallace replaced the injured Rodgers and was never able to get into a solid rhythm in the passing game. He finished the game with 114 yards through the air going 11-of-19 with one interception along with getting sacked four times.
The Packers were still able to gain consistent yardage in the running game, but without Rodgers leading their offense, the passing game fell flat when it was needed the most.
While much of the praise will go to Josh McCown and his solid play Monday night at Lambeau Field, Matt Forte quietly had yet another strong game for the Bears.
Forte rushed for 125 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown and had five receptions for 54 yards.
He was able to provide consistency and stability in the running game and gave McCown a safety valve in the passing game when the pressure was bearing down on him.
He took a short-yardage swing pass for a 33-yard gain that eventually helped set up his one-yard touchdown run following a 27-yard reception from Martellus Bennett at the 1-yard line.
For weeks, Chicago's Shea McClellin has been vilified for his lack of production at defensive end for a guy who was chosen in the first round during the 2012 draft.
Bears fans quickly started to appreciate McClellin after his sack of Rodgers in the first quarter led to the All-Pro quarterback not returning for the rest of Monday night's game.
Prior to Monday night, McClellin had registered just three sacks in his career but matched that total against the Packers as he played one of his best games of his career.
While his three sacks are certainly impressive, he and the rest of the defensive line struggled against the run. But for a guy who has struggled mightily throughout his short tenure in Chicago, McClellin showed a little bit of promise on Monday night.
Following the injury to Rodgers in the first quarter, the Packers turned to their running game to try to keep the football away from the Bears offense.
With a battered defensive line and a linebacking core forced to start two rookie linebackers, the defense struggled all night to slow down the running attack of Eddie Lacy and James Starks.
Lacy finished the night with 150 yards on 22 carries with one touchdown while Starks rushed for 40 yards on just six carries also scoring one touchdown.
Lacy was seemingly able to rush at will Monday night, fighting off tackles and slipping past Bears defenders.
The linebackers at times seemed to struggle with being in the right gaps, and both safeties struggled to square up the ball-carriers and to make tackles. The Bears got lucky with the Rodgers injury and were able to stack the box at times with eight defenders but will need to shore up their run defense in the coming weeks.