CHICAGO - A little creativity from Green Bay's special teams helped set up one touchdown and a kick return put the Packers in position for the winning field goal, but they also were responsible for a few errors that played a part in the team's 20-17 overtime loss to the Bears.
With the game scoreless early in the second quarter, the Packers lined up in punt formation at the Chicago 37 on 4th-and-2. Backup quarterback Matt Flynn, lined up in the blocking position behind the line, took the snap from Brett Goode rather than punter Jeremy Kapinos.
Flynn rolled out to his right looking to pass, but found a hole and ran the ball six yards for the first down. After four runs from running back Ryan Grant picked up 24 yards down to the Chicago 7, quarterback Aaron Rodgers found wide receiver Greg Jennings for a 7-yard touchdown on third down to give Green Bay a 7-0 lead.
The Bears answered the score with a big play of their own on special teams as Danieal Manning returned the ensuing kickoff from Mason Crosby 70 yards to the Green Bay 29. The 70-yard kickoff return was the longest given up by the Packers this season, but the Packers defense managed to hold Chicago to a 31-yard field goal from Robbie Gould.
With the Packers leading 14-3 at the break, it was another special teams play that proved to play a big part in the final outcome. After Green Bay forced a three-and-out by the Bears to start the second half, punter Brad Maynard's kick hit the back of cornerback Jarrett Bush's leg as he was blocking wide receiver Rashied Davis down the field, and Bears fullback Jason Davis recovered at the Packers 27.
Bears quarterback Kyle Orton completed a 21-yard pass to tight end Desmond Clark, and capped the drive off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen.
The Packers' kickoff return unit, which has struggled all year as they rank last in the league with a 19.9-yard average, provided the offense with great field position after the Bears tied the game at 17 late in the fourth quarter. Will Blackmon took Robbie Gould's kickoff 32 yards out to midfield, and a 15-yard late-hit penalty on running back Adrian Peterson moved the Packers even closer to field goal range.
But Crosby's 38-yard kick toward the end of regulation was blocked, his second miss of the day, as the special teams unit couldn't come up with one more play when the Packers needed it most.
"I thought it came off OK and I thought it had a chance," Crosby said. "It was just one of those again where it just didn't happen at the end."
Collins goes into the record book
Safety Nick Collins made Packers history on Monday night with his 28-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.
The pick of Orton, Collins' sixth interception on the year, gave him 258 interception return yards this season, a new team record.
Defensive back Bobby Dillon held the franchise record with his 244 interception return yards in 1956, and Collins also trailed safety Darren Sharper, who posted 233 yards on interception returns in '02.
"It doesn't mean much to me," Collins said. "If we would have won the game it would have been different. All I can say about that is I'm glad I had the opportunity to play with these guys and break a record."
Collins, who was named to his first career Pro Bowl last Tuesday, leads the league with the 258 return yards and remains the only players in the league to return three interceptions for touchdowns. Baltimore safety Ed Reed (220) is the only other player in the league to have 200-plus yards on interception returns.
Collins leads the NFC with his career-high six interceptions. Cornerback Charles Woodson, who also picked off Orton on Monday night, is tied with Collins for the conference lead. Woodson's six-interception season is the second-best of his 11-year career, trailing only his eight in 2006 in his first season in Green Bay.
Stack of sacks
Green Bay's defense sacked Orton three times on Monday night, which was the most in a game by the Packers since they recorded three of quarterback Charlie Frye in their Week 6 win at Seattle.
Defensive end Michael Montgomery, starting his sixth straight game at right defensive end, posted a career-high 1.5 sacks, bringing Orton down for a 2-yard loss in the second quarter and sharing another sack with defensive tackle Ryan Pickett in the third quarter.
Defensive Jason Hunter registered the other sack, the first of his career, when he brought Orton down for no gain in the second quarter.
The Packers now have four games on the season with three-or-more sacks, with the other two coming early this season in Week 2 at Detroit (5) and Week 3 vs. Dallas (3).
Green Bay's offensive line did not allow a sack of Rodgers, the fourth time this season they have accomplished that feat, and the first since the Week 11 win vs. Chicago.
Spreading the wealth
Rodgers completed passes to 10 different players on Monday night, a season and career-high for the first-year starting quarterback.
Rodgers' previous high came vs. both Chicago and Houston this season when he connected with nine different players.
Part of history
Monday night's game-time temperature was 2 degrees, making it the coldest Bears home game since the team began recording temperatures in 1963. It was also the second-coldest wind chill (minus-13) in Bears history since '63.
The last time the Packers played in a game in temperatures that low came in the NFC Championship game vs. New York last season when it was minus-1 at kickoff.
Wide receiver Donald Driver banged his knee attempting to make a diving grab on a long pass from Rodgers in the second quarter but did return.
Safety Aaron Rouse sustained an ankle injury on fourth-quarter kickoff return but returned to the field after missing just one play. Charlie Peprah filled in for Rouse at strong safety on the one snap.
Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly suffered an ankle injury on Matt Forte's game-tying touchdown run late in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Wide receiver James Jones banged his knee on a 9-yard grab late in the fourth quarter and did not return. Cornerback Joe Porter, making his NFL debut, sustained a concussion late in the game and also did not return.
Green Bay's inactives on Sunday were Brian Brohm (third quarterback), running back Brandon Jackson, fullback Korey Hall, linebacker Danny Lansanah, guard Nevin McCaskill, tackle Breno Giacomini, defensive tackle Anthony Toribio and defensive tackle Justin Harrell.