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McCown grateful, great in start against Packers

Chicago Bears' Josh McCown drops back during first half an NFL football game against Green Bay Packers Monday Nov. 4

Chicago Bears' Josh McCown drops back during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

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Updated: November 5, 2013 12:27AM



GREEN BAY, Wis. — Given the time by his offensive line, the weapons at his disposal and the play-calling by coach Marc Trestman, backup quarterback Josh McCown played the part of starter exceptionally well against the Packers on Monday night at Lambeau Field.

McCown proved that the Bears remain in capable hands with Jay Cutler sidelined. Part of it has to do with the Bears’ offense proving it’s better equipped this season.

But McCown deserves the acclaim for directing it.

He completed 22 of 41 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and a 90.7 passer rating in the Bears’ 27-20 victory.

“It means so much to our team,” McCown said. “It’s for the division lead, all those things that factor into this.

‘‘It’s special. I’m very thankful.”

Cutler, meanwhile, strode the sideline with an earpiece in and play-call sheets in his hands and offered his thoughts on plays. When McCown sat with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh and went over photographs, Cutler peered over their shoulders.

Cutler was in tune with the game as much as an injured player can be. Torn groin muscle? There were no signs of it other than he wasn’t playing.

He said last week that he wanted to return earlier than his original four-week timetable.

“That’s the goal,” Cutler said.

And if that’s the goal, there’s no better time than Sunday against the Lions.

“We’re going to go with whatever the doctors say,” Trestman said. “When they approve Jay to play, then Jay will be back in there.”

Either way, the Bears are in good hands with McCown. The Packers with backup Seneca Wallace? Not so much.

McCown was good on third downs — the Bears were 6-for-14 — and consistently went to running back Matt Forte (179 total yards) on check-downs. He was efficient and smart with the football.

Interceptions? There were none. An 18-play, 8:58 drive — including a fourth-and-inches conversion on their 32 — to seal the victory with a field goal? The Bears pulled it off.

“Josh did a nice job of managing and changing the protections when we had to,” Trestman said.

McCown made starter-worthy plays all night, whether it was shrugging off would-be sackers on his 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall (seven catches, 107 yards), his falling-down completion to Martellus Bennett to set up Forte’s one-yard touchdown run or turning a possession that started on the Bears’ 1 into a 24-yard field goal by Robbie Gould to close out the first half.

After the Packers scored 10 consecutive points to open the second half, McCown fired a six-yard touchdown strike to Alshon Jeffery (five catches, 60 yards) in single coverage.

“It’s a gifted group,” McCown said, rattling off plays made by his teammates. “A guy like me can go out there and be successful because of those guys.”

But those guys are successful because of a guy like McCown, too.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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