Packers clinch NFC's top seed, first-round playoff bye with 35-16 win against Bears
CHICAGO - For years, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has said he wanted an NFC championship game inside Lambeau Field.
If the Packers win their first playoff game this month, they’ll finally get it.
Rodgers delivered another virtuoso performance against Green Bay's archrivals, potentially securing a third career MVP in leading the Packers to a 35-16 win against the Bears. The victory clinched the NFC’s top overall seed, and with it the Packers will receive a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout.
The Packers needed a win or Seattle Seahawks loss to secure the No. 1 seed. The Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers 26-23, meaning the victory against the Bears was necessary.
The Bears still made the playoffs by virtue of the Arizona Cardinals losing to the Los Angeles Rams.
Rodgers, who completed all 10 of his passes in the first half, finished 19-for-24 for 240 yards, four touchdowns and a 147.9 rating. On the season, Rodgers finished with a career-high 48 touchdown passes, eclipsing his 45 in 2011. His five interceptions were one fewer than he had that season.
Davante Adams had six receptions against the Bears, his 12th consecutive game with at least six. He finished with 115 catches, eclipsing Sterling Sharpe’s franchise record of 112 set in 1993. Adams’ final catch was a 6-yard touchdown, pulling him into a tie with Sharpe (1994) for most catches in a single season with 18. It took Adams just 14 games to set the franchise’s single-season catch record and tie the touchdown catch record. Adams had an outside chance at reaching Jordy Nelson’s receiving yards record of 1,519 set in 2014, but his 46 yards Sunday left him 145 short.
Robert Tonyan tied Paul Coffman’s single-season record (11) for touchdown catches among Packers tight ends in the first quarter. Tonyan caught a 3-yard pass from Rodgers, who on the same play became the second quarterback in NFL history with multiple seasons of 45 touchdown passes, joining Peyton Manning.
Tonyan, who controversially was not selected to the Pro Bowl, is among only three Packers tight ends with double-digit TDs in a season, joining Keith Jackson (1996) and Coffman. Coffman had stood alone with the record since establishing it in 1983.