Packers edge Bears, pull within one game of Lions
Chicago — It wasn’t the 1967 Ice Bowl between Green Bay and the Dallas Cowboys, or even the coldest game ever played at Soldier Field.
Yet, both the Chicago Bears and Packers withstood harsh conditions, and Green Bay came up with the victory Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson with a 60-yard pass and Mason Crosby kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Packers to 30-27 victory on a day when the game-time temperature was 11 and the wind chill minus-4.
“I think we watched The Weather Channel all week and the wind wasn’t quite as bad as we thought, and I was very thankful the sun was out and that made it more manageable,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
The 12-mph wind failed to hurt passing games as Rodgers completed 19 of 31 passes for 252 yards.
“It was uncomfortable at times,” he said. “But I think it was warmer than most of us were expecting.”
The Bears (3-11) and Packers (8-6) combined for 900 yards, their highest combined total since 1940 — a span of 152 games.
Bears quarterback Matt Barkley led a fourth-quarter comeback from a 27-10 deficit and completed 30 of 42 for 362 yards with two touchdowns — but had three interceptions.
Barkley did it wearing a wet suit to stay warm.
“I have (worn one) in the water, but not on a football field,” Barkley said. “It ended up working out well. It did not restrict my play.”
The Bears hosted Green Bay in 3-degree temperatures and a minus-15 wind chill on Dec. 18, 1983. The coldest game at Soldier Field in terms of pure temperature was Bears against the Packers Dec. 22, 2008, when it was 2 degrees, with a minus-13 wind chill.
A total of 44,601 braved the conditions. There were 16,536 no-shows.
“Just from my experience, it wasn’t in my top 10,” Bears coach John Fox said of the cold. “I think both teams reacted well to it, responded well to it.”
The payoff for weathering the cold for Green Bay was moving within a game of Detroit in the NFC North after the Lions lost to the New York Giants.
A week after four Packers defensive backs combined for five interceptions against Seattle, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix got two of his own.
The Packers safety didn’t make an interception against Seattle, but ended successive Bears possessions with interceptions in the third quarter.
“I saw a lot of my guys make plays last week,” Clinton-Dix said. “I felt out of the loop a little bit. I was in the right place at the right time and made plays.”
Packers receiver Davante Adams has made strides in the offense, but either the cold got the best of him or he took a step back by dropping two easy touchdown passes.
“You get those days every once in a while,” Nelson said. “You don’t wish that upon anyone. He’s played extremely well for us, making huge plays — still came back and made a big play on the sideline, making a guy miss.”