Josh McCown writes his own chapter in Bears-Packers rivalry

Josh McCown writes his own chapter in Bears-Packers rivalry
November 5, 2013, 1:15 am

Scott Krinch

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Lambeau Field is full a legendary stories from the Bears, Packers rivalry. On Monday night, the latest chapter was written by a quarterback that hadn't started a game since the 2011 season.

Josh McCown came into Green Bay and did something Jay Cutler hasn't been able to do with the Bears: beat the Packers at Lambeau. It was a win the Bears desperately needed to avoid falling two games behind their NFC North counterpart.

[RELATED: Could Jay Cutler return to the Bears next week?]

"It would be hard to find one better than this," McCown said. "They're all special though at every level, from back in high school to Sam Houston State, to now, they're all special. This is neat, this is really neat because it means so much to our team, it's a divisional opponent, it's for the division lead, all those things that factor in to this. So it's very special, I'm very thankful. Right now, I'm just enjoying it."

It wasn't a victory many people expected when Jay Cutler went down with a groin inury in the Bears' Week 7 loss to the Redskins. McCown is a journeyman quarterback who has played for seven different NFL teams. He was coaching high school football when he was contacted in 2011 by Chicago. There's no way the Monsters of the Midway would leave the "Frozen Tundra" with a W, right?

McCown made sure that wasn't the case.

The 34-year-old veteran looked poised from the start. On the Bears' first possession of the evening, McCown led the team on an eight-play, 71-yard drive that was capped off by a play that will be on highlight reels all week. McCown shook off two Packers defenders and threw a strike to Brandon Marshall at the back of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. The score silenced the Green Bay faithful, who were already reeling after Aaron Rodgers was taken to the locker room on the previous drive. 

"I feel like somebody hit me in the head or something because I remember stepping up and I threw it and I don't know if I got hit again," McCown said. "I can't remember, I don't know if I had a clean view of it, but I know he was fighting with a guy when I let it go so I knew he must have made a great play."

McCown's ability to answer each Packers' score and sustain drives were two of the focal points to Monday's victory. Less than five minutes after James Starks torched the Bears for a 32-yard touchdown run, the Bears quarterback rallied his troops.

In four plays, McCown took the Bears down to the Packers 1-yard line. A 33-yard completion to Matt Forte and 27-yard strike to Martellus Bennett highlighted the series for McCown, which was capped off by a short Forte touchdown scamper.

[MORE -- Week 9 Bears Grades: Quarterbacks]

It wasn't just McCown staying in the pocket making plays. His offensive line only allowed one sack, but his ability to keep the play alive with his feet and side step defenders were crucial in his big night. His success outside the pocket even surprised a few Packers' defenders.

"He was actually better than what I thought he was," Green Bay defensive end Datone Jones said. "A lot of times, those passes, he wasn't just sitting back in the pocket completing them. We got him off the spot running and was completing long passes. A lot of times, it wasn't like we weren't getting pressure. We were getting pressure, but he was just moving, which a great quarterback does. He stepped up tonight."

The spectacular night McCown had could be summed up in one series.

[MORE -- Week 9 Bears Grades: Running Backs]

With the Bears leading by four points with less than 10 minutes to go in the contest, he led the team on an 18-play, 80-yard drive that took almost nine minutes and resulted in a Robbie Gould 27-yard field goal. McCown was 3-for-5 for 28 yards on the drive, but his lobbying to head coach Marc Trestman on a fourth-down call was ultimately the decisive blow in Chicago's upset of Green Bay.

On 4th-and-inches at the Bears' own 32-yard line, Matt Forte took a handoff off the left end for three yards. The run allowed the Bears to continue to chew up most of the remaining clock.

"I was just kind of letting Marc process it," McCown said. "I do a lot more lobbying when I'm not playing than when I am playing because you're thinking about certrain situations and feeling out what we're going to do. You're just sitting there saying, 'man if we can't get an inch to put this game away,'  we got bigger problems than just that. We knew we needed to get it, it was a gutsy call by Mark to do it ... We did it together and we got the first down."

[RELATED: Trestman takes season-altering gamble in Bears' win]

McCown finished the game 22-for-41, throwing for 272 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers and 90.7 QB rating.

With a short week and uncertainty if Cutler will be back against the Lions in Week 10, McCown is taking the victory one step at a time, but will be more than ready if he gets another opportunity.

"This is the way this game goes, you never know and you just got to be ready when your number is called," he said.