(Reuters) - Aaron Rodgers fired a barrage of short passes to set a team milestone, finishing 39-of-56 for 326 yards and three touchdowns as the Green Bay Packers breezed past the Chicago Bears 26-10 at Lambeau Field on Thursday.
“It’s fun to win,” said Rodgers, who set a franchise record for completions, surpassing Brett Favre’s 36 against Chicago in 1993.
“Whether we throw it that many times or have to pound it a little bit more. I think this is closer to how we’re going to have to play moving forward, but I‘m proud of the way we responded after the touchdown that put us behind.”
The touchdown Rodgers alluded to came just 30 seconds into the third quarter when Rodgers was sacked and stripped by rookie outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who pounced on the loose ball in the end zone to give Chicago a 10-6 lead.
It was the fourth fumble by Rodgers that was returned for a touchdown in his past eight regular-season games.
Maybe it was a coincidence but Rodgers was on fire from that point and capped each of the next three drives with touchdown passes that was more than enough to send Green Bay (4-2) past Chicago (1-6).
“It’s one game. It’s a one-game victory,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “And that’s really the reflection of how you plan for a season. You do what you have to do, you play how you have to play.”
For the Bears, quarterback Brian Hoyer made a fifth consecutive start in place of Jay Cutler (thumb injury) but sustained a broken left arm in the second quarter as Matt Barkley finished the game.
Barkley never stood a chance and by the time Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for the third consecutive score, Green Bay had advantages of 26-10 on the scoreboard, 372-138 in yards, 75-36 in plays and 31-10 in first downs.
Rodgers had more completions than the Bears had plays.
“If you lose your starting quarterback, it can be disruptive,” Bears coach John Fox said.
“It’s not an excuse. It’s just reality. When you play an explosive offense like Green Bay, it kind of helps to maybe be out there a little more offensively, which I think was a problem in the second half.”
Editing by John O'Brien