Packers pip Bears for NFC North title

THRILLER::Down one point with 38 seconds left, Aaron Rodgers threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to give Green Bay their third straight division title


Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - Page 19

Aaron Rodgers fired a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the final minute as the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 33-28 to capture the NFC North championship.

Back after missing seven games with a broken left collarbone, Rodgers found a wide open Cobb on fourth-and-eight at the 48 to wipe out a one-point deficit with 38 seconds left.

Green Bay will host San Francisco in the playoffs next weekend.

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 post-season appearance in a row. It also kept the Bears (8-8) out of the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.


In Oakland, California, Peyton Manning set the NFL single-season record for yards passing and threw four first-half touchdown passes to help the Denver Broncos clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs with a win over the Oakland Raiders.

Manning needed just one half to add the yards record to the touchdown mark he set last week and assure that the Broncos (13-3) will not have to leave home again until the Super Bowl if they make it that far.

He threw touchdown passes to Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno in the first quarter and added two to Demaryius Thomas in the second quarter. He broke Drew Brees’ record of 5,476 yards set in 2011 with a 5 yard pass to Thomas with 13 seconds left in the half to make it 31-0.

That ended Manning’s day having completed 25 of 28 passes for 266 yards. He finished the season with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes.

The Raiders (4-12) ended their 11th straight non-winning season with six straight losses and big questions about the future of second-year coach Dennis Allen.


In Arlington, Texas, Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes, while NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had 131 yards and a receiving score as the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys in a win-or-go-home game for the NFC East title.

The Cowboys (8-8), with Kyle Orton filling in two days after Tony Romo had back surgery, lost to a division rival with a playoff berth on the line for the third straight year.

The Eagles (10-6) will host New Orleans in a wild-card game on Saturday night.

Dallas trailed 24-16 when Orton threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. Orton went back to Bryant for the 2-point conversion, but Cary Williams dove to punch the ball away.

The Cowboys got another chance with a stop from their beleaguered defense, but Orton’s pass was intercepted by Brandon Boykin on the first play to seal the win.

McCoy finished the season with 1,607 yards rushing.


In Cincinnati, Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and set a pair of Bengals passing records, leading Cincinnati to a victory that eliminated the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

It was an erratic performance by the third-year quarterback, who also threw four interceptions for AFC North winner Cincinnati (11-5).

The Ravens (8-8) lost their past two games, denying them a chance to make the playoffs for a sixth straight season. They could not avoid the Super Bowl slump that is so common. The Ravens became the 15th Super Bowl champs who failed to reach the playoffs the following season, and the sixth in the past 12 years.

In Cincinnati, there is only one thing in mind: finally win a playoff game. The Bengals have not done that since the 1990 season.

They lost opening-round games in Houston each of the past two seasons as wild cards.

In other NFL action, it was:

‧ Saints 42, Buccaneers 17

‧ Chargers 27, Chiefs 24, OT

‧ Seahawks 27, Rams 9

‧ Jets 20, Dolphins 7

‧ Steelers 20, Browns 7

‧ Panthers 21, Falcons 20

‧ Patriots 34, Bills 20

‧ 49ers 23, Cardinals 20

‧ Colts 30, Jaguars 10

‧ Titans 16, Texans 10

‧ Giants 20, Redskins 6

‧ Vikings 14, Lions 13