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Rodgers returns, lifts Packers into playoffs

CHICAGO - Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb came back just in time to lift the Green Bay Packers to the NFC North title.

CHICAGO - Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb came back just in time to lift the Green Bay Packers to the NFC North title.

Rodgers fired a 48-yard TD pass to Cobb in the final minute, and the Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 33-28, to capture the division title on Sunday.

Back after missing seven games with a broken left collarbone, Rodgers found a wide-open Cobb on the fourth-and-8 play to wipe out a one-point deficit with 38 seconds left.

Green Bay will host San Francisco next Sunday in the wild-card round.

The Bears had one final drive, but Jay Cutler's deep pass to Alshon Jeffery was intercepted by Sam Shields on the final play.

That gave the Packers (8-7-1) their third straight division title and fifth postseason appearance in a row. It also kept the Bears (8-8) out of the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.

Jordy Nelson had 161 yards receiving for the Packers. Eddie Lacy, hobbled by an ankle injury, finished with just 66 yards.

Two unusual plays late in the first half turned a 7-3 deficit into a 13-7 advantage for the Packers.

Green Bay had a first down at the Chicago 17 when a sack and strip against Rodgers by Julius Peppers turned into one unusual touchdown. Jarrett Boykin ran across the field and picked up the loose ball as play stopped. One thing, though: The whistle never blew.

With Rodgers standing nearby, Boykin turned and headed 15 yards to the end zone. Rodgers then threw his hands up to signal a touchdown, and after a replay review, it stood.

That stunned the crowd and gave the Packers a 10-7 lead.

Green Bay caught another big break on the Bears' next possession when Jeffery fumbled a pass at the Chicago 41. Morgan Burnett picked up the ball and lateraled to Sam Shields, who returned it to the Chicago 28. That led to a 27-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to make it a six-point game at the half.

Packers 33, Bears 28

Green Bay 0 13 7 13 - 33

Chicago 7 0 14 7 - 28

First quarter

Chi-Forte 4 pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 2:07.

Second quarter

GB-FG Crosby 33, 7:59.

GB-Boykin 15 offensive fumble return (Crosby kick), 3:28.

GB-FG Crosby 27, :02.

Third quarter

Chi-Forte 5 run (Gould kick), 10:46.

GB-Cobb 7 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 7:27.

Chi-Forte 1 run (Gould kick), 5:04.

Fourth quarter

Chi-Marshall 5 pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 14:55.

GB-Lacy 6 run (Crosby kick), 11:38.

GB-Cobb 48 pass from Rodgers (pass failed), :38.

A: 62,708.

GB   Chi

First downs 25   17

Total Net Yards 473   345

Rushes-yards 34-160   24-121

Passing 313   224

Punt Returns 1-0   1-49

Kickoff Returns 2-40   7-138

Interceptions Ret. 1-7   2-3

Comp-Att-Int 25-39-2   15-24-1

Sacked-Yards Lost 3-5   1-2

Punts 2-40.0   4-34.3

Fumbles-Lost 2-0   2-1

Penalties-Yards 1-15   5-40

Time of Possession 35:09   24:51


Rushing: Green Bay, Starks 11-88, Lacy 21-66, Rodgers 1-5, Kuhn 1-1. Chicago, Forte 22-110, Bush 2-11.

Passing: Green Bay, Rodgers 25-39-2-318. Chicago, Cutler 15-24-1-226.

Receiving: Green Bay, Nelson 10-161, J.Jones 6-41, Cobb 2-55, Quarless 2-31, Lacy 2-15, Boykin 2-8, Starks 1-7. Chicago, Marshall 6-74, Forte 4-47, Jeffery 3-80, M.Bennett 1-15, Wilson 1-10.

Missed Field Goals: None.