GREEN BAY, Wis. - The snake-bitten Bears lost another game and more key players to injuries on a forgettable Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
After taking a 10-6 lead early in the second half on their first defensive touchdown in 35 games, the Bears allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw three short TD passes to cap consecutive drives of 85, 88 and 74 yards as the Packers rallied for a 26-10 victory.
Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was making his fifth straight start in place of the injured Jay Cutler, sustained a broken left arm early in the second quarter when he was hit by Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers while throwing an incomplete pass.
View photos from the game as the Bears take on the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Hoyer exited after completing just 4 of 11 passes for 49 yards and a 50.9 passer rating. The Bears did not cross the 50 on his three possessions, all of which ended with punts.
Replacement Matt Barkley struggled in making his season debut, connecting on 6 of 15 passes for 81 yards with two interceptions and an 18.3 rating.
Already playing without quarterback Cutler (thumb), running back Jeremy Langford (ankle), receivers Kevin White (leg) and Eddie Royal (toe), center Hroniss Grasu (knee) and left guard Josh Sitton (ankle), the Bears also lost right guard Kyle Long to an arm injury in the first half.
Depleted by injuries, the Bears offense never advanced beyond the Packers' 21 all game.
"If you lose your starting quarterback, it can be disruptive," said coach John Fox. "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 bit more offensively, which I think was a problem in the second half."
The Bears trailed 6-3 at halftime, but it could have been a lot worse if not for three key plays by defensive back Cre'Von LeBlanc.
LeBlanc knocked a sure touchdown pass out of the hands of Randall Cobb in the end zone, stopped Ty Montgomery for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and shoved Cobb out of the back of the end zone as he caught a pass, preventing him from getting both feet in bounds.
Mason Crosby's 32-yard field goal gave the Packers a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter before Connor Barth countered with a 39-yarder, tying the score with 1:56 left in the second quarter. Crosby followed with a 40-yarder to make it 6-3 with :17 remaining in the half.
Rookie Leonard Floyd then gave the Bears a huge boost early in the third quarter, sacking Rodgers and forcing a fumble that Floyd recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. The Bears' first defensive TD since Sept. 22, 2014 gave them a short-lived 10-6 lead.
The boos that rained down on the Packers at that point may have served as a wakeup call. Rodgers followed by leading three long scoring drives capped by touchdown passes of 5 and 4 yards to Davante Adams and 2 yards to Cobb.
Rodgers avenged last year's Thanksgiving night loss to the Bears in Green Bay by completing 39 of 56 passes for 326 yards, three TDs and a 102.2 passer rating.
Three receivers caught at least 10 passes from Rodgers—Adams (13 for 132 yards), Cobb (11-95) and Montgomery (10-66), who rushed for a game-high 60 yards on nine carries for a Packers offense that played without injured running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks.
With the Bears forced to play inexperienced cornerbacks Jacoby Glenn and De'Vante Bausby because of injuries, Rodgers repeatedly targeted the young players. Bausby struggled, drawing three penalties for pass interference, illegal contact and holding.
"There were a lot of penalties out there," Bausby said. "We had a good scheme and plan, but we just didn't finish in the second half as a group. Facing Rodgers is a challenge, but I felt like our play-calling was excellent. We just didn't finish."
With the loss, the Bears fell to 1-6, their worst seven-game start since they were also 1-6 in 2000. They return to action a week from Monday night when they host the NFL's lone remaining undefeated team, the 5-0 Vikings, at Soldier Field.