Bears adjust to wintry weather, notch another victory against Packers

Reed Schreck

Ron Turner was awakened at 3 a.m. Sunday.

The wind.

"OK," the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator thought while staying at the team's Hilton. "It's time to change the game plan a little bit. 'Oh, boy. Here we go. It's going to be one of those Chicago days.'"

Two teams accustomed to Mother Nature's worst wintry wallops met Sunday with different motivations. Green Bay wanted to win to still have a chance to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs; Chicago wanted to play spoiler, get a season sweep of the Packers and get a jump-start on next season.

Chicago's 35-7 victory at Soldier Field, where it was minus-18 degrees wind chill to begin play thanks to swirling 40 mph winds, says the Bears derived the only satisfaction on a brutal weather day.

"We always want to make sure we beat our division teams," Chicago wideout Bernard Berrian said. "They're going to the playoffs. For us to go out and be undefeated against them is OK; it's all right."

It's about all they can feel good about in a 6-9 season coming after a trip to the Super Bowl. They also knocked off Green Bay 27-20 in October at Lambeau Field.

If only they could figure out a way to play everyone else the same way.

"We're 2-0 against the Packers," Bears backup running back Garrett Wolfe said. "Nobody can take that away from us. It's something I'm very proud of, and I'm proud of the way we came out and performed today.

"I hope we can end it on strong note."

The Bears close the season at home next Sunday against New Orleans. Green Bay (12-3) goes home to take on Detroit before enjoying a bye week and then a home playoff game.

"In the big picture, it's not a setback because our focus is really about improving," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "And I felt that was important as we prepared for the playoffs. We need to clean our house starting Wednesday and need to go out and perform well against Detroit."

Green Bay had won 16 of its last 18 games, and quarterback Brett Favre had been 12-2 at Soldier Field. Instead, Green Bay suffered its worst defeat against Chicago in Favre's career and worst since losing 61-7 in 1980.

"They've been on an absolute tear," said Wolfe, the former Northern Illinois star, of Green Bay. "Nobody other than Dallas has been able to do anything with them -- that says a lot about us."

The win certainly said Chicago did the best job making adjustments.

Sunday's early unwanted wakeup call left an obvious impression on Turner. He said the Bears still stuck to the script at the outset -- for one play.

"We got off the script and ran some different runs than we had on the script because of the conditions," said Turner, adding he normally doesn't wake up that early.

Chicago ran on its first 12 first-down plays, and on 15 of its first 19 snaps.

"I knew it was (going to change)," said Chicago running back Adrian Peterson, who had 102 yards on 30 carries, of the offense's approach. "It doesn't take a genius to figure out we're going to run the ball with how hard the wind was blowing. You just have to have your mind right, and then go out there and get it."

While Chicago dominated all phases, including the clock ((33:33 to 26:27), Favre didn't pass for his team's third first down of the day until 5:45 remained in the third quarter. His team already was down 28-7.

"Well, had Chicago handled the weather a little worse, I don't think anyone would've complained," said Favre, who finished with a 40.2 passer rating (17-32, 153 yards, two interceptions). "I've been playing 17 years and those were the worst conditions I've ever played in. Excuse or not, they were. But they handled it better than we did."

Green Bay led 7-6 on a 66-yard scoring run by Ryan Grant 3:08 before halftime. Chicago had tacked on 31- and 35-yard field goals by Robbie Gould, but squandered a chance to go up 10-0 when Muhsin Muhammad dropped a four-yard pass in the end zone early in the second quarter.

It didn't matter.

Peterson put Chicago ahead 13-7 on an 8-yard run with 48 seconds left in the half. Chicago added three second-half touchdowns via offense (Kyle Orton's 3-yard pass to Desmond Clark), special teams (Corey Graham's 7-yard return of Charles Tillman's blocked punt) and defense (Brian Urlacher's 85-yard interception return).

The Bears also made defensive adjustments to make Favre feel the kind of heat he didn't want to feel.

"We tied a bluff package with the pressure," Bears defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. "Our guys did a good job executing what we implemented this week.

"I'm not sure if it confused Brett. He's a seasoned quarterback.

"Initially, we wanted to see what they were going to do. We played a little more eight-man front than we anticipated. Once they got away from running the ball, we changed it up a little bit."

Quotes transcribed by the Chicago Bears media relations staff contributed to this report. Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or