Packers lose, hand Dallas NFC's top seed

CHICAGO, IL -- Brett Favre's frustration flowed as freely as his tears did a year earlier.

The three-time MVP was at his worst, and now, Green Bay can forget about the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a touchdown for the first time in his career, Adrian Peterson ran for 102 yards, and the Chicago Bears beat the Packers 35-7 on a frigid Sunday afternoon. The loss wiped out the Packers' shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Packers needed to win this game, beat Detroit next week and have Dallas lose to Washington to capture the No. 1 seed. Instead, it goes to the Cowboys, with Green Bay locked in at No. 2.

"I've been playing 17 years, and that was the worst condition I've ever played in," Favre said. "Excuse? No excuse. It was, but they handled it better than we did. We have historically handled it well. It's kind of our ace in the hole, but today, obviously, it wasn't."

Favre was at his worst on a bone-chilling, windy and at times snowy afternoon, and the Packers (12-3) took their most lopsided loss of the season.

He passed for just 9 yards in the first half and 153 overall, giving him 4,058 this season and putting him over the 4,000-yard mark for the fifth time.

He was 17-for-32 and threw two interceptions. Alex Brown picked him off on the first possession of the third quarter, setting up a touchdown that made it 21-7, and Urlacher ran one back 85 yards early in the fourth after juggling the ball.

"He's had two great, back-to-back games," coach Lovie Smith said of Urlacher, who had two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery in Monday's loss at Minnesota.

Favre said "it was a tossup" every time he unleashed a pass: "Just when you thought you had it figured out, it would switch around on you."

But Favre, who left Soldier Field in tears after leading the Packers to a win last New Year's Eve, wasn't the only one to have a rough afternoon. The Bears blocked two punts by Jon Ryan, who also dropped a snap and booted a 9-yarder.

The Packers had gone 12 years and 929 punts without a block before Darrell McClover knocked one down in the second quarter. More damaging was Charles Tillman's block midway through the third quarter. Corey Graham recovered at the 7 and ran it in for a 28-7 lead.

"It was difficult just to catch it back there, but that being said, I knew it was going to be like that in the warmup," Ryan said. "I just have to make better adjustments to that."

The Bears (6-9) had little to celebrate this season, but they got some consolation by knocking off their archrivals twice. And the 35 points were their most against Green Bay since a 61-7 win on Dec. 7, 1980.

Peterson carried 30 times and scored on an 8-yard run in the final minute of the second quarter that gave the Bears a 13-7 lead.

Kyle Orton was steady enough, going 8-for-14 for 101 yards and a 3-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Clark in the third quarter.

Green Bay's Ryan Grant ran for 100 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but with the gametime temperature at 16 degrees and a gusty wind, the Packers never got going.

It was a stark contrast from what happened the last time they visited Chicago.

The Bears already had the No. 1 seed and were about to embark on a run to the Super Bowl. The Packers won their fourth straight that night and carried the momentum into this season after Favre decided not to retire. Now, they'll try to regroup before the playoffs.

"We've got a lot of things to look at this week, filmwise," cornerback Charles Woodson said. "A lot of guys have to evaluate themselves on how they handled the conditions, being down."

Favre was 2-of-7 in the first half, and Brown, starting for the injured Mark Anderson, quickly put to rest the notion the quarterback would turn things around in the second half when he picked off a pass at the 35.

Brown joked he'll embellish the story of that interception over the years, saying, "It'll get better as I get older. Give me 20, 25 years, I'll score on that play. I'll shake three people. I'll stiff-arm Donald Driver. Oh, yeah, it'll get better as the years go on."

History, however, will say the interception set up the touchdown pass to Clark. And that things just got worse for Favre and the Packers, who were missing a key part of their run defense, with defensive tackle Ryan Pickett nursing a groin injury.


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