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Packers got it done at 'winning time'

Fourth quarters like this one have been tough to come by

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gestures to the crowd at Soldier Field during Sunday's 28-19 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gestures to the crowd at Soldier Field during Sunday's 28-19 victory over the Chicago Bears.

It's something the Packers haven't been able to say enough this season.

"Fourth quarter's winning time and we played our best in the fourth quarter today," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.

That they did in beating the Bears, 28-19, on Sunday at Soldier Field.

It's so often what NFL games come down to. Remember the Packers' last win? They trailed the Cowboys 28-14 entering the fourth quarter and won the game in overtime.

This time, Green Bay was down 19-10, and it was the final play of the third quarter Rodgers felt became a catalyst. He connected with rookie phenom Christian Watson for 15 yards to convert a third-and-7 deep in Green Bay territory.

Rodgers called it maybe the most important play of the game because it "kind of settled things down."

Indeed, the Packers were in the end zone three snaps later following pass interference on a deep ball to Watson and AJ Dillon's TD run. At that point, it felt like a new game.

The Packers' only real bad play of the fourth quarter was the next one, as Jaire Alexander let N'Keal Harry get behind him on a scramble drill for a 49-yard gain.

But the proof in this game turning around was how the defense responded to the big play, unlike those that led to Chicago's 19 earlier points. This time, a three-down stop preceded Dean Lowry's blocked field goal.

From there, the Packers took command, driving for a go-ahead field goal, which was followed by Alexander's redemptive interception, Watson's 46-yard TD jet-sweep scamper, a clutch two-point reception by "Big Dog" Marcedes Lewis, and Keisean Nixon's game-ending pick.

That's a ton of fourth-quarter highlights, way more than they had in London, at Washington, at Detroit, against Tennessee … despite numerous opportunities late in all those games that went the wrong way.

"I told the guys in the locker room … we've played good enough to beat anybody in the league and at times played poor enough to lose to just about anybody," Rodgers said.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, and how the Packers have played in the fourth quarter has had a lot to do with that.

One thing about this team, for all its struggles, it's never quit. That was no more evident than last week when Rodgers exited the Philly game with an injury to his ribs and Jordan Love took over, down by 14, and led the offense to 10 points.

That fourth-quarter effort was marred by a defense that couldn't get off the field when it was most needed.

The opposite occurred the previous game against the Titans, when the defense turned around its rough night but the offense was rendered punchless at crunch time.

Winning games requires winning in the fourth quarter – by both sides of the ball – and the Packers finally did that.

See scenes from the Sunday matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Dec. 4, 2022.

"Just super proud of our guys to be resilient and truly embody and embrace that one-play mindset and battle right to the end," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said.

As for Rodgers and those ribs, he couldn't have been more grateful for an offensive line – which had rookie Zach Tom subbing for David Bakhtiari (appendectomy) at left tackle – that did not allow him to get sacked in 31 pass attempts.

Rodgers also will hit the eight-week mark with his thumb fracture over the upcoming bye, so if the Packers are going to put together any kind of late-season run, the QB's health is at least trending the right way.

"The line played really good today," he said. "I moved around a decent amount … and I went to the ground one time. So that's like a dream game for somebody in my position with a pretty sore rib cage.

"I feel good going to the bye week that maybe both of these things will be behind me."

Putting another win at Soldier Field behind him feels good, too, as Rodgers is now 11-1 in Chicago since the 2010 NFC title game.

He's found ways late in games on the Bears' turf plenty of times over the years. This one won't be as memorable as 2013 (fourth-and-8 from the 48 to Cobb) or '16 (third-and-long to Nelson), but even during a rough season, Rodgers admitted the venue that houses those memories gave him confidence.

Dominant fourth-quarter play, in all phases, showed up to get it done.

"There was probably a lot of people that felt good at 19-10," Rodgers said, taking another playful jab at the Chicago sports fans he admires and who wanted to make him eat the "I own you" taunt from last year.

"So did I."


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