Jordan Howard continued to be a beacon of light in an otherwise bleak season for the Bears, rushing for 90 yards and one touchdown in Sunday's 30-27 loss to the Packers.
In the process, the fifth-round pick from Indiana became the fifth rookie and 12th player overall in Bears history to run for at least 1,000 yards in a season. After not playing in the opener, Howard has rushed for 1,059 yards and six TDs on 211 carries in 13 games this season.
Howard ties Anthony Thomas for the third fastest Bears player to accomplish the feat, trailing only Beattie Feathers (11 games) and Matt Forte (12) and reaching that plateau quicker than Hall of Famers Gale Sayers (16) and Walter Payton (17).
Howard's 1,059 yards are the fourth most by a Bears rookie behind only Forte (1,238 yards in 2008), Thomas (1,183 in 2001) and Rashaan Salaam (1,074 in 1995). Howard needs 180 yards in the Bears' final two games against the Redskins and Vikings to break Forte's record.
Ups and downs: Matt Barkley's fourth straight start in place of the injured Jay Cutler was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish. The USC product completed 7-of-8 passes for 106 yards and one TD on back-to-back scoring drives in the second quarter. Barkley then committed turnovers on the next four possessions and followed by engineering three straight scoring drives.
"He kept his poise out there," said center Cody Whitehair. "He really didn't panic or anything. He just sat back in the pocket and did what he did. We never got the feeling that he was down. He never lost confidence in himself. He just kept doing what he was doing."
Barkley rebounded from his turnovers to lead scoring drives of 75, 78 and 75 yards in the fourth quarter as the Bears forged a 27-27 tie.
"I just kind of settled down and didn't try to force anything," Barkley said. "I stuck with my reads and guys were getting open. It was kind of one of those times where we sped things up with the tempo. We hurried up, got to the line quicker and got some calls out. It seemed to work out for us."
Welcome back: Returning from his four-game PED suspension, Alshon Jeffery caught six passes for 89 yards and one touchdown. All six of the catches came in the fourth quarter.
"I think they doubled him up some early," said coach John Fox. "Some other guys were highlighted. I think through the course of the game that lightened up some, so you I think you probably saw a little bit emergence of him. But a lot of what happens is they practice and get paid too."
All tied up: With Sunday's defeat, the Bears lost the lead in their all-time series with the Packers for the first time since 1933. The series is now tied 94-94-6.
The Packers haven't led the rivalry since they had an 11-10 series advantage entering the 1933 season. The Bears followed by winning five straight and have not trailed since. The Bears climbed as high as 24 games over .500 in 1960 (50-26) before the Packers closed the gap to 57-47 in 1974. Thanks in part to an eight-game winning streak from 1985-88, the Bears eventually reached a high-water mark of 25 games over in 1992 (81-56). But the Packers have tied it up by winning 38 of 51 meetings since 1992, including 12 of the last 14.
One-liners: Cameron Meredith (9 catches for 104 yards) and Deonte Thompson (8-110) became the first Bears teammates to record at least 100 yards receiving in the same game since Nov. 15, 2015 when Jeremy Langford (109) and Zach Miller (107) accomplished the feat. … The Bears held Aaron Rodgers without a TD pass for just the third time in 18 games. … The Bears defense had not allowed a rush of more than 30 yards this season but permitted runs of 61, 42 and 36 yards Sunday.