November brings out best in Packers-Bears rivalry
November once again is Packers-Bears month.
For years, the final regular-season game between the two teams landed between Halloween and the countdown to Christmas.
This week's game will be the 60th November meeting between the teams. The month has been home to more regular-season games between the teams than September (52), October (32), December (42) or January (2).
Not surprisingly, the first was in November. Chicago, then the Staleys, beat the Packers 20-0 on Nov. 27, 1921.
On that afternoon, Curly Lambeau opened at quarterback for the Packers. George Halas started at right end for the Bears and scored on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Chic Harley.
Just like that, a rivalry was born. And November has been special since.
From 1921 through 1963, 34 games were in November, including 14 straight from 1936-49. Chicago hosted them all, compiling a 23-10-1 record.
Green Bay secured its first win on its sixth try. Hurdis McCrary scored twice, on a 15-yard pass from Red Dunn and on a 40-yard interception return, in a 14-0 victory on Nov. 10, 1929.
In 1966, the city of Green Bay got in on the action. The Packers won that first November encounter on Wisconsin soil 13-6 after Zeke Bratkowski, who replaced Bart Starr (hamstring) in the second quarter, tossed a pair of TD passes to Carroll Dale.
And with that, a more equitable split of November games became the norm. Fourteen of the last 25 have been at Lambeau Field. One, in 1974, was at Milwaukee County Stadium.
The Packers are 13-12 since 1966.
Games between Green Bay and Chicago always are intense. November, however, often has elicited the best and the worst of the rivalry.
Injuries have been a constant. Packers lineman Cub Buck was forced to the sidelines by injury in 1925 and missed his only game as a pro the following week. Quarterbacks Lynn Dickey (shoulder) and Jim McMahon (shoulder) were lost for the season in 1976 and 1986, respectively.
The hit on Dickey was clean and legal, but teammate and defensive tackle Dave Roller nevertheless proclaimed he was "gonna throw out the rulebook when we play Chicago again."
The takedown of McMahon occurred well after the whistle and got the offending party, defensive tackle Charles Martin, ejected and suspended for two games. "I guess he ain't in no position to win the Nobel Peace Prize for intelligence," quipped the Bears' Steve McMichael in the locker room afterward.
Oliver Kuechle of the Milwaukee Journal described a memorable collision in 1937: "The Nag (Bronko Nagurski) was hit so hard by (Hank) Bruder on the opening kick-off, for instance, that he left the ground and actually trembled in midair."
Last-second scores have added spice. Bart Starr's scramble with 3 seconds left delivered a 20-19 Green Bay win in 1970. Kevin Butler's 52-yard field goal as time expired propelled Chicago to a 12-10 victory in 1987.
Quarterback Brett Favre passed for five TDs in 1995. Quarterback Bobby Douglass ran for four scores and 100 yards in 1973.
"The rivalry is the thing," Halas said in the week leading to the November meeting in 1962. "The Green Bay-Chicago series hasn't become famous because of any particular player, or coaches, or any era's team. The rivalry has been built up on four decades. The good players come and go; the rivalry goes on."
Overall: Chicago leads 92-89-6
At Lambeau Field: Packers lead 32-23
Packers: Aaron Rodgers (63-32 overall; 10-3 vs. Chicago)
Bears: Jay Cutler (59-53; 1-9 vs. Green Bay)
ONCE A BEAR, NOW A PACKER
Linebacker Julius Peppers (2010-13).
ONCE A PACKER, NOW A BEAR
Linebacker Terrell Manning (2012) is on the practice squad.
The top four rivalries in terms of the greatest number of regular-season encounters are Packers-Bears (187), Packers-Lions (168), Bears-Lions (168), and Giants-Redskins (163).
Circle the date
Months in which the Packers have played the most games against various teams in the NFL:
G Month Opponent Record
60 October Lions 39-19-2
59 November Bears 23-35-1
52 September Bears 24-24-4
50 November Lions 24-24-2
42 December Bears 25-16-1