The Chicago Bears were able to take advantage of an early injury to Aaron Rodgers and hold on for a crucial 27-20 win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Monday night.
Bears win at Lambeau Field for first time since 2007— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 5, 2013
Josh McCown, who hardly looked like a backup, threw for 272 yards and two scores. Brandon Marshall was the recipient of 107 of those yards and Matt Forte racked up 179 total yards, as the Bears made a mess of the NFC North.
Both squads are now 5-3, creating a three-way tie with the Detroit Lions at the top of the division.
For the Packers, staying in the division race will depend on the health of Rodgers.
The All-Pro quarterback was forced from the game in the first quarter when his left shoulder was slammed into the ground on the first of Shea McClellin's three sacks. There are whispers of a broken collarbone, via CBS Chicago, but the official diagnosis is still unknown:
UPDATE: Aaron Rodgers left tonight's game with a left shoulder injury. The exact extent of the injury is unknown, according to team.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 5, 2013
With Seneca Wallace (114 yards, one interception) struggling in relief, Green Bay turned to the run game, and for the most part, it worked to a tee for Mike McCarthy's squad.
James Starks ran through a cavernous hole for a 32-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and Eddie Lacy gashed the Bears for 150 yards on 22 carries, including a touchdown of his own.
Overall, the Packers totaled 199 rushing yards as a team on 6.9 YPC.
Who will win the NFC North?
But it wasn't enough, as McCown found Alshon Jeffery for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter, and then led the Bears on a fourth quarter drive that lasted nearly nine minutes and resulted in a Robbie Gould field goal that gave Chicago a touchdown lead with less than a minute left.
Wallace took over looking to lead an improbable game-tying score, but was sacked twice to end the game.
Josh McCown, Bears: A-
His final completion percentage (53.7) is nothing to write home about, but McCown played very well on Monday night, especially when you consider it was his first start of the season, and it was on the road at Lambeau.
The 34-year-old journeyman made some really nice throws under pressure, created extra time with his legs (20 yards rushing) and limited mistakes on his way to 272 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
His impressive 6.6 yards per throw average wasn't just a product of YAC, either, as he was quite accurate on throws down field, putting several balls exactly where they needed to be.
Seneca Wallace, Packers: C
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke summed up Wallace's performance:
Every Seneca Wallace pass is like watching some random character walk into a dark room during a horror movie.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) November 5, 2013
Yeah, that's pretty accurate (unlike Wallace).
Granted, Wallace was never expected to play in this game, and being suddenly tossed into action is a difficult situation for any quarterback. But he struggled to make much of dent in the passing game, forcing the Packers to turn to the running game as their primary source of offense.
He also threw an interception, and should have had another one in the red zone, but it went right through linebacker James Anderson's hands.
Julius Peppers, Bears: A
Peppers has been mostly invisible this season, but he reappeared on Monday night with a huge game.
The veteran defensive end had one sack and two pass deflections—one of which he deflected to himself for an interception. He may be having a rough season, but Peppers showed that he still has plenty of athleticism and scary physical traits.
Eddie Lacy, Packers: A
With the Packers needing a big game from their rookie more than ever, Lacy came through in a massive way.
Credit needs to be given to the offensive line for opening up some big holes, but the youngster out of Alabama showcased the entire package. He started runs with patience, elusiveness and burst, and he finished with strength and power, almost always lowering his shoulder and fighting for a few extra yards.
When the Packers opened up a running lane, Lacy ate up huge chunks of yardage. When the Bears created penetration, Lacy turned what should have been negative yardage into one- or two-yard gains.
The Bears host the Lions on Sunday in a game with huge NFC North implications, while the Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles.