Packers top Bears to Win First Game of '12
By CHRIS JENKINS, AP Sports Writer
Photo: Image by John Klein
GREEN BAY, Wis. -(AP) Backup tight end Tom Crabtree scored on a fake field goal as Green Bay beat Chicago 23-10 on Thursday.
With the Packers facing fourth-and-26 on the Chicago 27-yard line, holder Tim Masthay and kicker Mason Crosby appeared to line up for a field goal attempt. But Masthay took the snap and flipped the ball to Crabtree, who ran through a huge hole and streaked all the way to the end zone with 1:50 left in the first half.
Cutler then threw an interception to Tramon Williams near midfield with just over a minute left in the half and the play was upheld on a replay review, giving the Packers one last chance to score. Aaron Rodgers marched the Packers into scoring range, and Mason Crosby hit a 35-yard field goal.
Crosby hit a 48-yarder earlier in the second quarter, as both offenses struggled to score.
Clay Matthews led a ferocious Green Bay pass rush that sacked Cutler three times and kept the Bears' new-look passing offense in check. Brandon Marshall did not catch a pass with Williams providing tight coverage in the first half, and Cutler had only four completions and 37 yards passing.
The Packers also struggled on offense while featuring running back Cedric Benson — a former Bears first-round pick.
Rodgers was sacked four times in the half, and Green Bay got a scare when the NFL MVP appeared to hurt his right arm while being sacked during the Packers' second possession.
The ball slipped out of Rodgers' hand awkwardly as he tried to throw a pass on the next play, and backup Graham Harrell started warming up on the sideline, but Rodgers went back in on the next possession.
Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings was inactive after hurting his groin late in Sunday's loss to San Francisco.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman played despite a shin injury, and Brian Urlacher was on the field despite having surgery on his left knee during training camp.
It's the 185th edition of the NFL's oldest rivalry. Coming into Thursday night, Chicago held an overall 92-86-6 edge in the series, including a pair of playoff games. The Packers had won four straight and six of the last seven, including the playoffs.
The Packers were coming off a 30-22 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay struggled to stop the 49ers' balanced offense and came into a short week of preparation still looking for answers in the secondary.
On offense, the 49ers' dominant defense held the Packers to seven points in the first three quarters before a late rally attempt came up short.
Chicago came into the season with high expectations for a beefed-up passing attack, and the arrival of Marshall was a hit right away. Renewing his partnership with Cutler from their days in Denver, Marshall caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown and the Bears put up 41 points in their season-opening victory over Indianapolis.