GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Bears took advantage of an Aaron Rodgers injury and grabbed a share of the NFC North lead Monday night with a 27-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Behind an inspired performance by backup quarterback Josh McCown, the Bears won in Green Bay for the first time since 2007. The Packers lost starting quarterback Rodgers to what the team's website called a left shoulder injury in the first quarter, and backup Seneca Wallace played the rest of the game.
The Bears, Packers and Detroit Lions are each 5-3. The Bears host the Lions next Sunday at Soldier Field.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported that Jay Cutler would return to practice this week and, barring a setback, planned to start Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions.
"We're going to go with what the doctors say," coach Marc Trestman said when asked if Cutler would return Sunday. "When Jay is ready, he'll be back in there."
McCown completed 22 of 41 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
"This is neat, this is really neat," McCown said of the victory. "It means so much to our team, because it's a divisional opponent, it's for the division lead, it's all those things. So it's special, I'm very thankful."
Matt Forte rushed for 125 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown and had five receptions for 54 yards.
A 27-yard field goal by Robbie Gould capped the scoring, putting the Bears ahead 27-20 with 50 seconds to play. It capped an 18-play, 80-yard drive that took 8:58 off the fourth-quarter clock and included a fourth-and-one conversion from their own 32 with 7:50 left.
"It was just a well-executed drive," McCown said. "I don't know how many passes I threw. All I know is the line blocked their tails off."
Of the fourth-down conversion, McCown said, "It was a gutsy call by Marc."
"There was a sense we needed to stay on the field," Trestman said of the decision.
A six-yard touchdown pass from McCown to Alshon Jeffery [five catches for 60 yards] had put the Bears back on top 24-20 with 2:41 left in the third quarter.
The Packers fooled the Bears with an onside kick, recovered and took a 20-17 third-quarter lead.
The Packers drove deep into scoring range as a possible interception went through the hands of Bears linebacker James Anderson and into the arms of receiver James Jones. The Bears' defense stiffened and Mason Crosby kicked a 23-yard field goal for the lead with 8:45 left in the third quarter.
The Packers had tied the game 17-17 on a 1-yard run by Eddie Lacy. A 56-yard run by Lacy set up the score.
Gould's 24-yard field goal as time expired gave the Bears a 17-10 halftime lead.
A one-yard run by Matt Forte gave the Bears a 14-10 lead with 9:26 to play before halftime. The 60-yard drive included a 33-yard swing pass from McCown to Forte and a 27-yard pass to tight end Martellus Bennett to the Packers' 1.
Brandon Marshall (seven catches for 107 yards) caught a 23-yard touchdown from McCown, who was off balance with a defender draped over him, for a 7-3 lead with 9:55 left in the first quarter.
The Packers wasted little time attacking the Bears' vulnerable defense on their opening drive. Aided by a face mask penalty on the Bears' Stephen Paea, Green Bay marched to the Bears' 12 before Mason Crosby booted a 30-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 12:24 left in the first quarter. The drive covered 68 yards in eight plays.