At no point did they make it look pretty, but the Green Bay Packers are in the playoffs after a 10-3 victory over the Chicago Bears.
The Bears were true to their word and played their starters until the final minutes, which is when the Packers finally sealed the win after a Nick Collins’ interception.
The Packers didn’t bother to get on the board until the third quarter, when Mason Crosby hit a 23-yard field goal to tie a sloppy game. The Packers would finally take the lead in the fourth on a one-yard Donald Lee touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense looked tight for most of the day, but the defense carried the team and ultimately sealed the deal.
Erik Walden, who the Packers picked up off waivers earlier in the season, played like a man possessed, finishing with a team-high 11 tackles and two sacks. Even when Frank Zombo returns from injury, it might be tough for him to reclaim his starting job after Walden’s performance, Sunday.
Charles Woodson was all over the field and the Packers blitzed him heavily. Woodson came up with one sack and six tackles.
The biggest defensive plays were made by the Packers maligned safeties, Charlie Peprah and Collins.
Peprah came up with the day’s first interception of Jay Cutler, picking that mouth breather in the end zone to snuff out a Chicago scoring opportunity. Collins then ended it with the Bears driving for the tying score with under a minute left.
Perhaps the player who came up the biggest on the day was punter Tim Masthay, who consistently kept the ball away from the Bears’ biggest weapon, Devin Hester. Masthay netted 36.6 yards on eight punts and Hester only had two returns and was never a threat.
The Packers will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday to start what will hopefully be a long playoff journey.
Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.