Week 1: Vs. Chicago Bears
|Week One: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – Game Summary|
The Packers' 2009 season started at home against their hated division rival, the Chicago Bears, on Sunday Night Football.
The Packers received the ball first but had to settle for a 49-yard field goal attempt on their first drive of the season, but kicker Mason Crosby failed to convert the kick wide left. After the missed attempt the Packers new 3–4 defense took the field for the first time in the regular season and held Jay Cutler and the Bears to a 3 and out. After a minimal drive by the Packers, following the Bears punt, the Bears retook possession of the ball at the Chicago 18-yard line. After moving the ball to the Bears 31-yard line, Cutler forced a throw into coverage intended for tight end Desmond Clark. Safety Nick Collins intercepted the pass and returned the ball to the Packers 43-yard line.
Both teams continued to trade fairly ineffective offensive series throughout the first half up until 8:22 in the second quarter where Mason Crosby converted a 52-yard field goal to give the Packers the early 3–0 lead. On the Bears next drive, Cutler completed a 68-yard pass to wide receiver Johnny Knox down to the Packers 8-yard line. With the Bears looking to score in the red zone, the Packers pressured Cutler enough to force an errant throw into the Packers defensive line. Defensive end Johnny Jolly intercepted the pass and returned the ball for two yards to the Packers 14-yard line. Though the interception prevented a possible Bears touchdown, three plays later Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked in the end zone by safety Danieal Manning for a Bears safety decreasing the Packers lead to a 3–2 advantage.
After the safety, the ball was punted back to the Bears and returned to the Bears 44-yard line by return man Devin Hester. On third down of the Bears next possession, cornerback Tramon Williams intercepted another forced Cutler throw and returned the ball to the Bears 1-yard line. On the next play, Packers running back Ryan Grant rushed left end for 1 yard and scored the Packers first touchdown of the season to take a 10–2 lead. Both teams exchanged offensive possessions for the last 4:40 of the half but neither managed to add any more points to the score. The Packers went into the half with a 10–2 lead.
After the half, the Bears received the ball. Ten plays into the Bears drive, Jay Cutler connected with Devin Hester on a 36-yard pass down the right sideline for their first touchdown of the season. With the touchdown and the extra point, the Bears decreased the Packer lead to 10–9. After the Bears touchdown, the Packer offense still seemed to have trouble moving the ball and had to settle for punting the ball after a sack and two incomplete passes. On the next Bears drive, the Bears converted a 47-yard field goal to take a 12–10 lead over the Packers. The Packers offense took the field aiming to retake the lead, but stalled again around midfield.
In the fourth quarter, with the Packers offense unable to move the ball and the defense lacking the plays that it made in the first half, it looked like the tides were turning in the Bears favor. The Bears then took over the ball at their own 27-yard line, but the Packers defense held stout and forced the Bears to punt. Before the punt though, the Bears center was watching rookie first round pick Clay Matthews III run of the field. Thinking that there were 12 Packers on the field, he snapped the ball to the Bears running back Garrett Wolfe who then tried to advance the ball, but was stopped by the Packers. Bears coach Lovie Smith challenged that the Packers had too many players on the field, but instant replays showed that Matthews got off the field of play before the ball was snapped thus giving the Packers the ball at the Bears 26-yard line. After a couple of plays and a holding penalty on the Packers, they had to settle for the field goal in which Mason Crosby converted to give the Packers a slim 13–12 lead. On the Bears next drive, they matched the Packers recent score on a 21-yard field goal to regain the lead from the Packers at 15–13.
With 2:35 remaining in the game, the Packers received the ball. after a couple of decent gains the Packers offense looked slightly more confident than their previous series in the game. The dagger was then put into the Bears heart when quarter back Aaron Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings on a 50-yard touchdown pass paired with a Jennings two-point conversion reception gave the Packers a 21–15 lead in the dying minutes.
The Bears offense took the field in a last attempt to win the game, but Jay Cutler's debut start for the Bears would get even worse when his first pass of the drive was intercepted by cornerback Al Harris and returned to the Bears 14-yard line.
The Packers then lined up in the victory formation to take a nail biting and sloppy 21–15 win against their division rival Chicago Bears to start the season with a 1–0 record.
During the contest, Packers starting safety Atari Bigby injured his knee and is expected to miss at least four weeks. Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher also dislocated his wrist and will reportedly miss the remainder of the season.
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