Chicago gears up for Bears, Packers showdown

January 16, 2011

By Associated Press & City Room

(Getty/Jonathan Daniel)
A Chicago Bears fan holds up a sign previewing next week's NFC championship game between the Bears and the Green Bay Packers.
Jay Cutler (Photo by AP)

The Chicago Bears are gearing up to face their archrivals in the NFL playoffs for the first time in 70 years. The Bears will host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday for the NFC championship, and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Jay Cutler ran for two touchdowns, threw for two more, and the Chicago defense manhandled Seattle early for a 35-24 victory Sunday, lifting the Bears into the NFC championship game against their archrivals, the Green Bay Packers.

"Now that we've beaten the Seahawks, it just doesn't get any better ... than for the NFC championship to come down to the Packers coming down on our turf this time. ," Bears Coach Lovie Smith told reporters after Sunday's game. "The Packers and Bears to finish it up - that's how it should be."

The Bears (12-5), who edged the Packers for the NFC North title, will host the title game next Sunday - their first meeting in the postseason since 1941. Chicago leads the NFL's longest series 92-83-6, and each team won at home this season.

Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler said he's trying to break through the hype as Chicago prepares for Sunday's game.

"Doesn't get any bigger than this.  You know, to be in an NFC Championship in the situation we're in, at home - and then to bring Green Bay in on top of it - just adds to it ... So, they're used to the road, and I'm sure that their confidence is just sky-high," Cutler said.

Against Seattle, Cutler had TD runs of 6 and 9 yards, Chester Taylor added a 1-yarder and Greg Olsen caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Cutler on Chicago's third offensive play. Kellen Davis caught a 39-yarder with 4:40 remaining.

The Bears' defense did the rest as Seattle (8-10), the first division winner with a losing record, couldn't score until the outcome no longer was in doubt.

Back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2006 Super Bowl season, Chicago harassed Matt Hasselbeck and held Seattle to 276 yards Sunday.  Hasselbeck, who'd engineered the upset of the New Orleans Saints in the first round with four touchdown passes, was 26 of 46 for 258 yards, much of that coming after the game was out of reach. He threw all three TD passes in the fourth quarter.

Seahawks tight end John Carlson was taken from the field on a cart after landing on his head following a reception about three minutes into the game. Seahawks corner back Marcus Trufant also was taken from the field on a cart after an apparent head injury in the third quarter.