The 2023 season ends for the Chicago Bears this Sunday, just as it began in September. Bears vs Packers. No two teams have played more games in their rivalry. This will be the 206th regular season meeting dating back to the league’s infancy.
In the first game of the season, Green Bay kicked a field goal as time expired in the first half, then scored on their first two possessions in the third quarter to turn what was a tight contest into a blowout. Green Bay added two more touchdowns in the 4th quarter, handing the Bears a 38-20 loss.
The 2023 Packers have mirrored the Bears ever since. Both teams are 7-8 since week one, and each team has a record of 5-3 in their last eight games.
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Not only is this game a rivalry game, there is a lot riding on the outcome. Green Bay controls their playoff destiny in their hands. A Bears win knocks the Packers out of the postseason.
The Bears-Packers rivalry is filled with great games. Here are just a few:
The Key Game of 1963 and the Last Championship of George Halas’ Career
Under their new coach, Vince Lombardi, the Packers were two-time defending champions entering the 1963 season. The Bears won the Western Division with a record of 11-1-2. Green Bay finished right behind Chicago with an 11-2-1 record. The Bears defeated the Packers on opening day, 10-3, in Green Bay. Chicago’s only loss was to the 49ers in week 6. The game in Chicago would be pivotal.
The rematch in Chicago was played November 17th at Wrigley Field, with the Bears winning 26-7. Halas’ Bears beat Green Bay twice, the Packers only 2 losses of the ‘63 season, and the Bears would win the Championship, defeating New York 14-10, 5 weeks later.
1968, Gale Sayers and Roger Leclerc?
On a day that saw one of the worst passing performances in Bears’ history, one Hall of Famer and a journeyman stole the show on a cold day in Green Bay on the first Sunday of November 1968. Bears QB Virgil Carter was horrific with a stat line of 5-14 for 51 yards, 2 INTs, and 2 sacks.
This game was memorable for two reasons; Gale Sayers’ best rushing game of his career and a little-known rule that proved key in a Bears win.
Sayers finished the day with 205 yards on just 24 carries, but the game was tied 10-10 at the two-minute warning. After holding the Packers, forcing a punt deep in Packer territory, Halas instructed the return man to make a fair catch. Taking advantage of a little-known rule, Bears kicker Roger Leclerc kicked a 43 field goal on a Direct Free Kick, which proved to be the margin of victory in the 13-10 Bears win.
1970, After 50 Years, Bears Say GoodBye to Wrigley Field
The Bears entered the 1970 season knowing it would be their last season at Wrigley Field. Their final opponent would be none other than the Green Bay Packers. December 13th marked the last game the Bears would ever play at Wrigley, their home for 50 years.
The star of this game was Bears QB Jack Concannon, who delighted the home crowd with a day! Concannon’s stat line was 21-34- 338 yards with 4 TDs; WRs George Farmer (9-142 1 TD) and Dick Gordon (7-92 2 TDs) benefitted from Jack Concannon’s stellar performance.
The game was never close, and the final score of the last game at Wrigley was Bears 35, Packer 17.
News and Notes
With a win on Sunday, coupled with a Minnesota loss to Detroit, the Bears would end the season in 3rd place in the NFC North. The Bears will play the teams finishing in the same spot in the standings from the NFC South (Home), AFC East (Home), and the NFC East (Away).
The Bears’ last game will kick off at 3:25 on CBS, with Nance and Romo in the booth.