The Chicago Bears clinched the National Football Conference North and helped knock Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers out of playoff contention.
They could not have asked for a sweeter scenario.
Mitchell Trubisky on Sunday threw for two touchdowns and Eddie Jackson ended Rodgers’ NFL-record streak without an interception as Chicago clinched the division with a 24-17 victory over the Packers.
Photo: Quinn Harris-USA Today
The Bears (10-4) secured their first playoff appearance since the 2010 team won the National Football Conference North and even better for them, they did it with a rare victory over their archrivals.
“We’ve accomplished a lot, but I think I’m most proud of just the type of guy that we have in our locker room, the culture that we’ve kind of created,” Trubisky said.
“We know that nobody really believed in us on the outside in the pre-season — or even throughout the season — but we knew what type of team we had and we knew we were just gonna keep getting better every single week,” he said.
The loss coupled with Minnesota’s 41-17 victory over Miami keeps the Packers out of the post-season for the second consecutive year.
Chicago had dropped nine of 10 against Green Bay (5-8-1), but the Bears secured their first trip to the playoffs in eight years with their seventh win in eight games.
For a team that came into the season with four straight last-placed finishes, it is quite a turnaround, but with the hiring of coach Matt Nagy and trade for Khalil Mack in a busy off-season the Bears made a huge jump.
“You could feel it all year long that we knew we had the talent,” Nagy said.
The Bears blew a 20-point lead in a season-opening loss at Green Bay, with an injured Rodgers rallying the Packers, but they have been climbing ever since.
The Packers are 1-1 since offensive coordinator Joe Philbin replaced fired coach Mike McCarthy on an interim basis.
“The expectation is competing for championships,” Rodgers said.
“It’s a good football team, but like I told some of the guys, I look forward to the battles over the years,” he said. “I like our chances in this division moving forward.”
In Sunday’s other games it was:
‧ Steelers 17, Patriots 10
‧ Eagles 30, Rams 23
‧ Colts 23, Cowboys 0
‧ 49ers 26, Seahawks 23
‧ Vikings 41, Dolphins 17
‧ Titans 17, Giants 0
‧ Ravens 20, Buccaneers 12
‧ Redskins 16, Jaguars 13
‧ Falcons 40, Cardinals 14
‧ Bengals 30, Raiders 16
‧ Bills 14, Lions 13
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