Rodgers, Packers clinch NFC top seed

December, 26, 2011
12/26/11
2:16
AM ET

David Banks/Getty ImagesAaron Rodgers throws one of his five touchdown passes against the Bears tying a team record for passing touchdowns in a game.
One week after the Kansas City Chiefs spoiled their perfect record, the Green Bay Packers got back on track clinching the number one seed in the NFC playoffs with their franchise-record 14th win. The Christmas night 35-21 win over the Chicago Bears was the Packers' 20th in their last 21 games including the playoffs and assured them home-field advantage throughout the postseason. It also eliminated the Bears from postseason contention.

Aaron Rodgers continued his spectacular season completing 21 of 29 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns. The five touchdowns tied a Packers franchise record most recently done by Brett Favre 13 years ago. It was his fifth game this season with at least four passing touchdowns.

Rodgers now has 45 passing touchdowns this season, the fourth-highest season total in NFL history behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino. He also set the Packers' single-season record for passing yards moving past Lynn Dickey. Rodgers now has 4,643 passing yards on the season.

Rodgers struggled last week against “small” defenses, completing a season-low 48.4 percent of his passes against five or more defensive backs. The Packers turned to larger personnel groupings on Sunday, forcing the Bears into their base 4-3 defense on all 14 of Rodgers' pass attempts with two or more tight ends on the field.

It was the Packers' first game without an accepted penalty since November 25, 1990 when they did it against the Buccaneers.

The Elias Sports Bureau tells us the Packers became the first team in 39 years to score at least 30 points in a game while committing no turnovers or penalties. Two teams did that during the 1972 season: the Lions, in a 38-24 win over the Bears and the Vikings, in a 45-41 victory against the Rams.

Since the current playoff format was adopted in 1990, only seven of the 21 NFC number one seed teams have won the Super Bowl including the 1996 Packers. In three of the last four seasons, the number one seed in the NFC has been eliminated in the divisional round including the Falcons last season who lost to the Packers.

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