GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Lovie Smith didn't take long to fulfill
his No. 1 goal of beating Green Bay.
But the man who helped him do it wasn't around afterward to
Mike Brown, whose 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown sparked
the Bears' 21-10 victory over the Packers on Sunday, was lost for
what could be an extended period with a right Achilles tendon
injury in the waning minutes.
When Smith was hired as Bears coach on Jan. 15, he declared his
top priority was knocking off the Packers, the two-time defending
"I've never been in a fight where some guy told me he was going
to beat me up and he beat me up," Packers linebacker Nick Barnett
Not only did Smith declare the Packers his top prize, but said
he knew just how to beat them. The last two times he'd faced Green
Bay was as the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator and the
Packers committed a combined 10 turnovers in those games.
On first down from the 2 just after the 2-minute warning,
linebacker Brian Urlacher stormed into the backfield and stripped
Green. Brown scooped it up and rumbled 95 yards down the Bears'
jubilant sideline to give Chicago a 14-3 halftime lead instead of a
It was Brown's fifth defensive score, a team record, and the
second-longest fumble return in Bears history, surpassed only by
team founder George Halas' 98-yard return in 1923. It was also the
second-longest fumble return for a score ever given up by Green
The Packers weren't demoralized by the 14-point swing, Barnett
insisted, but Green Bay never recovered in losing its second
straight home opener.
"I was just trying ... to get a fumble and return one for a
touchdown, too," Barnett said.
"I just got tripped up," Barnett said. "If he would have
missed me, it would have turned the whole game around, that's how
close it was."
Green declined comment after the Packers lost to their
archrivals for just the third time in the last 21 meetings.
Brown was carted off the field with 3:54 remaining and on the
next play, backup safety Bobby Gray picked off a high throw from
Smith, who looked distraught, said Brown was scheduled for more
medical tests Monday.
"It's a tough break for Mike," Smith said. "Mike is our
captain. He's a big part of what we'll do around here. He's got to
hope for the best right now."
With nose tackle Grady Jackson (knee) out and James Lee making
his first NFL start, Thomas Jones carried 23 times for 152 yards
and a touchdown as the Bears (1-1) evened their record after
allowing Detroit to end the longest road losing streak in the NFL a
Jones accounted for all 79 yards on a six-play drive to open the
third quarter that he capped with a 1-yard run for a 21-3 lead.
The Packers (1-1) finally got into the end zone on Favre's
18-yard strike to Robert Ferguson that capped a 19-play, 89-yard
drive that took almost 10 minutes. That made it 21-10 with 1:46
left in the third quarter.
With that, Favre broke Dan Marino's NFL record of 24 touchdowns
against a single opponent.
The Packers had 234 yards and just three points in the first
After Ryan Longwell banged the ball off the right upright on a
45-yard field goal attempt, Chicago's Rex Grossman hit fullback
Bryan Johnson, who bullied his way over cornerback Michael
Hawthorne for an 11-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead the Bears would
"Lovie put everybody out there and we backed him up," Grossman
said. "That's what builds team chemistry, and I think we grew
today as a team."
CB Mike McKenzie, who ended his 46-day holdout Wednesday
without retracting his trade request, played a handful of snaps in
the Packers' dime defense and was booed upon his return. ... Bears
OL Mike Gandy (hamstring) and DT Alfonso Boone (knee) were hurt.
... Packers C Mike Flanagan, replaced by Grey Ruegamer in the
second half, indicated his knee injury that limited his offseason
work was bothering him. ... Favre (3,999) surpassed Warren Moon
(3,988) for third place on the NFL career completions list. ...
Green (24 carries for 128 yards) tied Jim Taylor's team record of
26 100-yard games.
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