CHICAGO – Defense carried the Chicago Bears to their eighth straight victory. So, what else is new?

Charles Tillman returned one interception of Brett Favre 95 yards to set up a field goal, and Nathan Vasher carried a fourth-quarter pick 45 yards for a clinching touchdown as the Bears beat the Packers 19-7 and ended Green Bay’s domination at Soldier Field.

On a day when their offense relied on four field goals by Robbie Gould, Chicago prevented Favre from throwing a TD pass against them – he’d done so in an NFL-record 26 straight games.

The Bears (9-3) got their first home victory against the Packers since 1993 and extended their winning streak to eight – their longest since the 1985 Super Bowl team started 12-0.

The Packers were driving for the lead near the end of the first half when Tillman intercepted a poorly thrown Favre pass in the end zone and raced 95 yards before Tony Fisher saved a touchdown and knocked him out at the 7 with 6 seconds left in the half. Gould’s third field goal, a 25-yarder, gave the Bears a 9-7 halftime lead.

Favre had never looked better than just before the interception, completing 7 of 8 passes to move the Packers from their own 18 to the Bears 7, even throwing a nice block to lead Antonio Chatman’s 11-yard reverse against the NFL’s top-rated defense.

But with Chicago’s Mike Brown in his face, Favre lofted up a weak pass for Robert Ferguson and Tillman picked it off easily.

Trailing 12-7 late in the game after Gould missed a field goal, the Packers tried to mount a final drive when Favre hit back-to-back passes.

But Vasher – who earlier this season returned a missed field goal 108 yards, the longest play in NFL history – was there again, stepping in front of a sideline pass and racing in for the TD with 3:06 left.

Green Bay (2-10), already ensured of its first losing season since 1991, had the ball for nearly 10 minutes longer than the Bears, but couldn’t score in the second half.

Favre, who banged his throwing hand on the helmet of Chicago’s Ian Scott in the third quarter on a follow through, finished 31-of-58 for 277 yards. He is now 21-6 in his career against the Bears and 11-2 at Soldier Field.

Chicago’s Kyle Orton was 6-of-17 for 68 yards, while Thomas Jones ran for 93 yards and passed 1,000 for the first time in his career.

Nick Barnett’s recovery of a fumble by Jones got the Packers started on an eight-play 60-yard drive, the biggest play an 18-yard Favre-to-Chatman pass and a roughing-the-passer call on Chicago’s Tank Johnson that moved the ball to the 16.

Donald Driver made a great catch of a third-and-2 pass and Samkon Gado ran in on second down for a 7-3 lead – the Packers’ only score.

Going for it on a fourth-and-1 from the Bears 34 in the first quarter – four plays after a 23-yard run by Gado to the 20 was wiped out by a holding penalty on Driver – Favre rolled left and then at the last second threw a pass behind Donald Lee.

The Packers lost tight end Bubba Franks on the first series of the game when he was hit and suffered an arm stinger. Later in the opening quarter, Chicago rookie safety Chris Harris was knocked out with a knee injury.

AP-ES-12-04-05 1641EST


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