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Packers Move Chains But Suffer Costly Turnovers


Poised to take a 14-6 lead into the second half, the Green Bay Packers had all the momentum.

But then Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman picked off a pass intended for Robert Ferguson with 24 seconds left in the first quarter and returned it 95 yards.

The Packers never scored or led again in a 19-7 loss to the Bears.

Another Bears interception helped seal the victory. Down 12-7 with 3:06 to go, Nathan Vasher jumped a Brett Favre pass intended for Donald Driver and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown, the game's final score and the Bears' only touchdown.

Although Favre threw those two interceptions, he helped move the ball against a Bears defense, which entered the game as the top-ranked unit in the NFL. He completed 31-of-58 passes for 277 yards and displayed his trademark toughness. Starting his 217th consecutive game, he endured a roughing-the-passer penalty from 300-pound defensive tackle Tank Johnson. Tillman and Tommie Harris jarred him with fumble-inducing hits. On an 11-yard end around to Antonio Chatman, Favre even served as the lead blocker, taking out Vasher.

The loss was only Favre's second in Soldier Field and ended his streak of 11 consecutive wins at that venue. The Packers, however, contained the Bears offense all day. They held them to 188 total yards. They did not allow a touchdown. They flustered rookie quarterback Kyle Orton; Orton completed 6-of-17 passes for 68 yards and an interception in posting an anemic 23.7 passer rating. Michael Montgomery, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Cullen Jenkins each sacked Orton. The Bears never converted a third down, going for 0-10.

The Bears had more success on the ground, gaining 139 yards on 31 carries. Thomas Jones gained 93 of those yards on 19 rushes. His longest gain of the day -- a 27-yard run - - set up a 21-yard field goal, giving the Bears a 3-0 lead. Adrian Peterson also ran hard, rushing 11 times for 48 yards.

The Packers rushing offense also was effective. Samkon Gado rushed 20 times for 75 yards and scored a two-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a 7-3 lead with 7:03 left in the first half. That Gado touchdown matched the team's record (five) for rookies, shared by Brent Fullwood (1987) and Gerry Ellis (1985). Gado helped the Packers offense post 358 total yards and control possession for 34:47.

Although the Packers outgained the Bears by 170 yards, excellent field position aided the Bears all day. Their average start was on their own 47-yard line. They started five drives on the Packers' side of the field but came away with a total of six points on those possessions.

The Packers' defense repeatedly made plays to stop those drives. Mark Roman intercepted a pass intended for Desmond Clark, halting a Bears possession at the Green Bay 31-yard line. Nick Barnett recovered a fumble on a second-quarter series that reached the Packers' 38-yard-line. Robbie Gould missed on a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, nullifying a drive that started at the Packers 30-yard line.

But the Bears were equally effective in stopping Packers drives, forcing four turnovers. Tillman's interception thwarted a Green Bay drive to the Chicago seven yard-line and led to a Gould 25-yard field goal.

After the final turnover, a Vasher interception, Brett Favre looked for his 35th fourth quarter comeback. He completed three passes to Donald Driver on the drive, but the march ended at the Bears' 14-yd line with a three-yard pass to Tony Fisher as time ran out.

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