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February 21, 2024

Packers Top Rival Bears 17-9 to Clinch Playoff Berth

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Jan 8, 2024

The Green Bay Packers defeated their longtime division rivals, the Chicago Bears, by a score of 17-9 on Sunday to clinch the NFC’s final wild card playoff spot. Led by young quarterback Jordan Love in his first season as a full-time starter, the Packers continued their decade-long domination of Chicago to extend their playoff streak to four straight seasons.

Back-and-Forth Battle Comes Down to Fourth Quarter

In a low-scoring defensive struggle where neither team could pull away, the game ultimately came down to crunch time late in the fourth quarter. After the Bears took a 6-3 lead into halftime, Green Bay responded with two second-half touchdowns from running back A.J. Dillon while leaning on a stifling defensive effort that held Chicago to just 9 points.

Trailing 17-9 with two minutes remaining, Bears quarterback Justin Fields drove his team deep into Packers territory before throwing a game-ending interception in the endzone to seal Green Bay’s victory.

Love, making just his ninth career start, managed the game well by minimizing mistakes and connecting with his playmakers at key moments, finishing with 178 yards passing, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Meanwhile, Dillon powered the ground attack with 81 bruising yards.

Quarter 1 2 3 4 Final
GB 0 3 7 7 17
CHI 0 6 0 3 9

Packers Extend Dominance Over Bears, Make Playoffs

The win marks the Packers’ seventh straight victory over Chicago dating back to 2019. Green Bay has now won 48 of the last 59 meetings between the teams.

More importantly, by improving to 9-8, Green Bay captured the NFC’s third and final wild card spot to continue a remarkable run of consistency. The Packers have made the postseason 12 out of the past 15 seasons, missing out only in 2018, 2022 and 2023 when Aaron Rodgers was injured.

“It feels great,” said Love after clinching a playoff trip in just his first season at the helm. “This team fought through adversity all year…I told the guys I’m proud as hell of them.”

Additionally, at just 25 years old, Love becomes the youngest quarterback to lead Green Bay to the playoffs in franchise history. And by qualifying this season, the Packers now tie New England for the most postseason appearances (12) since 2008.

Looking Ahead: Pack Travel to Face Cowboys Next Week

By earning the NFC’s 6th seed, Green Bay is positioned to play the Dallas Cowboys on the road next weekend in the Wild Card round. The two historic franchises have never before met in the playoffs despite their numerous postseason trips over the decades.

Dallas rolled to a 12-5 record this season behind a high-octane offense led by quarterback Dak Prescott. But the unit has slowed in recent weeks after Prescott injured his hand, leaving questions around his health entering the matchup with the Packers.

Still, winning in Dallas will be no easy task for Green Bay’s largely inexperienced roster. If the Packers hope to notch their first playoff victory since 2020, they’ll need major contributions from their emerging nucleus of young playmakers including Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and others beyond just Love and Dillon.

Bears’ Season Ends with More Questions Than Answers

While the Packers now gear up for playoff football, the Bears head towards an earlier than hoped end to what was an encouraging season in some respects under new head coach Matt Eberflus. Though Chicago flirted with an improbable postseason berth late into the year, the team couldn’t come through in crucial games down the stretch.

Finishing at 3-14, the Bears concluded 2024 similarly to recent seasons — struggling to capitalize on strong play from Fields while plagued by a lack of offensive firepower. But Eberflus’ focus on transforming the defense did yield better than expected results, raising hopes that brighter days could be ahead.

Still, with Fields entering his third season in 2025 without a true #1 wide receiver target, many questions linger about whether Chicago’s offense can take the steps necessary to complement rising talents such as tight end Cole Kmet or breakout rookie Velus Jones Jr.

GM Ryan Poles and the front office face challenging roster-building decisions in the coming months. Will they supply Fields with more talent? Can Eberflus build an elite defense? Bear fans will anxiously watch to see if one of football’s flagship franchises can reemerge as a contender.

Key Takeaways

  • Packers beat Bears 17-9 to clinch NFC’s final wild card playoff spot, continuing their dominance of the rivalry
  • Jordan Love steps up in first year as starter, guides largely young team to playoffs at 25 years old
  • Packers keep 4-year postseason streak alive and tie Patriots for most playoff trips since 2008 (12 each)
  • Green Bay headed to Dallas for tough Wild Card bout with Cowboys next weekend
  • Bears show defensive progress under Eberflus but still plagued by offensive issues
  • Offseason questions loom about Fields’ supporting cast and future direction

It remains to be seen how far these Packers can advance in January powered by an emerging young core. But in vanquishing their archrivals to continue a hot streak over Chicago, Green Bay showed that reports of their demise in a post-Rodgers era may have come prematurely. This mentally tough group has weathered steep expectations to usher in the Jordan Love era emphatically — by returning the Packers to the tournament that truly matters.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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