Following their convincing 30-13 rout of NFC North foe Minnesota last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers (7-4) seemed have recovered from their recent three-game skid.
However, the woes of the 'Pack were revived on Thanksgiving night, as the team struggled to garner any offensive momentum, falling to the archrival Chicago Bears (5-6), 17-13, in front of a raucous Lambeau Field crowd in the midst of a bruising rainstorm.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled under the gaze of his predecessor, Brett Favre, who was honored with a number retirement ceremony at halftime. After tossing two touchdown passes in the Packers' victory over the Vikings on Sunday, Rodgers completed 22 of his 43 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and a costly interception late in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers garnered a 62.3 passer rating, the lowest mark of his career at Lambeau Field, while committing a crucial error with 3:23 remaining in the game as a slant pass to wide receiver Devante Adams near midfield sailed awry, falling into the arms of Bears cornerback Tracy Porter to stymie a promising drive.
On the other side of the docket, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler captured his first career win in Green Bay in his fifth attempt, completing 19 of his 30 attempts for 200 yards and a touchdown on the night. 90 of those yards went to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who caught seven passes on the night.
The Bears split rushing duties between running backs Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford, with Forte receiving 15 carries for 44 yards and Langford racking up 48 yards and a touchdown on 12 rushes.
Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy emerged on the night, gaining 105 yards on 17 carries for his second consecutive 100-yard game. Wideout Randall Cobb lead his squad with 74 receiving yards on six catches.
After a pair of fruitless possessions for both teams opened up the contest, the Packers finally broke through for a score, traveling 49 yards in five plays with their drive concluding in a 25-yard touchdown reception by Lacy with 5:20 remaining in the first quarter.
Green Bay continued their momentum into the second quarter, however, a fumble by Lacy at the GB 34-yard line after a 15-yard gain set up Chicago with lucrative field position with 10:55 left in the second quarter.
The Bears capitalized on the opportunity, with Cutler hitting wide receiver Marc Mariani on two consecutive third down plays before connecting with tight end Zach Miller on 3rd-and-goal for a three-yard touchdown to knot up the score at seven apiece with 6:03 remaining in the first half.
The Packers quickly responded, as kick returner Jeff Janis returned the ensuing kickoff 64 yards to the Bears 33-yard line. Consecutive first downs by running back Jeff Starks set up Green Bay with a 1st-and-goal at the Bears six-yard line, however, Rodgers was unable to convert on the chance leading to a 22-yard Mason Crosby field goal to provide the Packers with a 10-7 lead with 1:58 remaining in the first half.
Chicago refused to let the game escape from its grasp, as kick returner Deonte Thompson returned the following kickoff 37 yards to the Bears 42-yard line, setting up a seven-play, 58-yard touchdown march by Cutler & Co. which concluded in a one-yard score by Langford with 30 seconds left in the second quarter.
Despite a 50-yard field goal by Crosby on the subsequent Green Bay possession, which cut the Bears lead to 14-13 heading into halftime after Rodgers connected with Cobb on a 23-yard reception to set up the score as time ran out in the half, the Bears strangled the momentum from the Packers in the second half, driving 83 yards on 15 plays over 7:28 to set up a 21-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould to push their lead to 17-13 early in the fourth quarter.
After a Bears punt with 4:18 remaining in the contest, the Packers appeared to be threatening following consecutive first down scrambles by Rodgers and a 12-yard catch by tight end Richard Rodgers. However, Rodgers' attempt at a slant pass to Adams landed in the grasp of Porter, ending the drive.
However, a Chicago three-and-out set Green Bay up at their own 20-yard line with 2:45 remaining, and the Packers took advantage, driving 72 yards in nine plays to set up a 1st-and-goal at the Bears nine-yard line with a minute remaining.
Following consecutive incompletions, Rodgers appeared to find receiver James Jones in the end zone, however, Jones was unable to haul in the potential game-winner with 36 ticks left on the clock. On fourth down, Rodgers attempted to thread the needle to a covered Adams over the middle, however, the pass sail over the outstretched arms of the wideout, ending the contest.