Jones' TD catches put Packers on top
CHICAGO—Aaron Rodgers and James Jones rediscovered their old connection, and it paid off in a winning way for the Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers threw for three touchdowns, two to Jones, and the Packers beat Chicago 31-16 to spoil John Fox's debut as Bears coach Sunday afternoon.
The Packers got all they could handle from the rebuilding Bears but took control down the stretch to beat them for the 10th time in 11 games, including the postseason.
Rodgers improved to 13-3 lifetime against Chicago. The 2014 MVP completed 18 of 23 passes for 189 yards.
Jones, who spent seven seasons in Green Bay before signing with Oakland last year, caught four passes for 51 yards. That included a one-handed grab on a 13-yard score late in the first quarter and a 1-yard TD in the third—a good start after being released by the Raiders in the spring and by the New York Giants on the final roster cut. With Jordy Nelson (knee) out for the season, the Packers were quick to bring back Jones.
Randall Cobb, hampered late in the preseason by a sprained right shoulder, had 38 yards receiving. He caught a 5-yard touchdown that made it 24-16 early in the fourth quarter, and Clay Matthews sealed the win by intercepting Jay Cutler at the Green Bay 12.
Eddie Lacy ran for 85 yards and a late touchdown for the four-time defending NFC North champions.
The Bears, essentially starting over under Fox and new general manager Ryan Pace after a five-win season, kept this one close though Cutler had a rough afternoon. He was 18 of 36 for 225 yards, with that late interception by Matthews. He also threw a 24-yard touchdown to Martellus Bennett with 34 seconds left, but Green Bay recovered the onside kick.
Matt Forte ran for 141 yards and a touchdown. Alshon Jeffery caught five passes for 78 yards after missing the preseason because of a left calf injury. Robbie Gould kicked three field goals to give him 246 to surpass Kevin Butler as Chicago's all-time leader.
Green Bay, which outscored the Bears 93-31 over two games last season and beat them at Soldier Field for their 700th win, trailed 13-10 at the half. Rodgers finished a third-quarter drive with a 1-yard slant to Jones and Gould answered with a 44-yard field goal, cutting it to 17-16.
Rodgers made it 24-16 early in the fourth when he hit Cobb with a 5-yard pass, capping a 16-play drive.
But the Bears stalled at the 2 after Cutler's 50-yard pass to Marquess Wilson. Cutler overthrew Eddie Royal in the end zone on fourth down after Chicago opted not to try a field goal.