Jay Cutler, ineffective for much of the game and injured at the half, was benched by the Chicago Bears at the end of the third quarter, leaving third-stringer Caleb Hanie in charge of Mike Martz’s offense in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game. Hanie, who came into this game with eight career pass completions, marched the Bears downfield, and Chester Taylor put the Bears on the board, trailing the Green Bay Packers 14-7.
Hanie, a Colorado State University alum who was undrafted out of college, was 2-for-2 with 40 yards passing, including a perfect, looping lob-shot that got the Bears to the goal line for Taylor’s touchdown run up the middle. Those 40 yards are nearly half of the Bears’ pass offense to date, and his pass to Johnny Knox was only their second completion to a wide receiver all day.
The Packers had a chance to finish the Bears off in the third quarter, but Aaron Rodgers was intercepted by Brian Urlacher near the end zone.