Back following a three-game absence, Forte touched the football 16 times for 53 all-purpose yards in 37 plays. He averaged only 2.9 yards per rushing attempt with a long run of 7 yards.
“I don’t know if I had any extra adrenaline being back out there. I mean, I always have adrenaline, but it felt good to be on the field again,” Forte said. “This was a big-time win. It’s hard to win out here at Lambeau Field. I’ve played here a lot and haven’t won much. It feels great to get a full team win. The defense played great, obviously, and as an offense we moved the ball sometimes and capitalized in the red zone when we got turnovers from the defense.”
Rookie Jeremy Langford played 30 total snaps (50 percent), rushing the ball 12 times for 48 yards and one touchdown. Langford caught one pass for 5 yards, but he also had some bad drops over the course of the game.
It remains to be seen if offensive coordinator Adam Gase can devise a game plan to better utilize both tailbacks at the same time. The Bears have sporadically lined up Forte and Langford together on the field, but most often the running backs rotate series.
Chicago’s commitment to the run, however, is strong. The Bears rushed for over 100 yards (101 yards on 31 carries) for the fifth time in 2015.
Players can be seen enthusiastically embracing coach John Fox before he awarded game balls to the team.
It was just their third victory at Lambeau Field since 2006.
The Bears (5-6) trail the Packers (7-4) and Vikings (7-3) by just two wins in the NFC North standings.
"Well, I'm sure there have been times in the past when he's played well here and he hasn't had guys who have his back," Long said. "We have Jay's back. And he knows that. And he was excited."
For good reason.
Chicago's stunning 17-13 victory against Green Bay on Thanksgiving is a milestone win for Cutler. Not only did he win for the first time ever at Lambeau (his record is now 1-4), but Cutler didn't throw an interception against the Packers. That's never happened before for Cutler in a Bears' uniform.
In his four previous games at Lambeau, Cutler completed 51 percent of his pass attempts and averaged three interceptions, according to ESPN's Stats & Information.
The 32-year old quarterback connected on 61 percent of his throws and had zero turnovers Thursday night.
"First one here for Jay," Bears tight end Zach Miller said. "I think it's a little icing on the cake for him to get his first one here. This is an unbelievable place to play football. This is unbelievable, I mean, take a step back. We are here at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night; so for him to get his first one here under these circumstances is pretty special.
"His game right now ... he's just so confident leading us in the right direction."
Supported by a strong defensive performance, Cutler aided the team by protecting the football in adverse weather conditions. He also stepped up numerous times in the pocket to avoid Green Bay's pass rush to extend plays down the field. Even without Martellus Bennett (ribs) and Eddie Royal (knee), Cutler still passed for 200 yards and posted a quarterback rating above 90.0.
"That's what I'm used to with Jay," Long said. "That crowd was super crazy, super loud at the beginning of the game. If you noticed the decibel level kind of went down as the night wore on. But to be able to stay poised through that and mentally tough as the leader of the offense, that's a testament to Jay's mental toughness and his leadership abilities."
At this rate, Cutler is going to be the Bears' quarterback in 2016. With a 5-6 record, plus winnable games on the horizon versus San Francisco and Washington, it seems highly unlikely the Bears will be drafting high enough to select one of the top quarterbacks in next year's draft class.
That's not to say the Bears shouldn't be looking for their quarterback of the future, but with so many other holes to fill, Chicago may have the luxury of waiting to make a final long-term decision on the roster's most important position.
Tracy Porter: The veteran's best game in a Bears' uniform. Porter made life difficult for Aaron Rodgers, intercepting a pass and breaking up four others. Porter had another interception taken away because of an iffy penalty.
Jay Cutler: Cutler's first career victory at Lambeau Field. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown (90.8 quarterback rating). However, the most important statistic: zero picks. That's unheard of for Cutler versus the Packers.
Lamarr Houston: Houston made a definite impact. He finished the game with seven tackles, one sack, two tackles-for-loss and one fumble recovery. And Houston even shook Brett Favre's hand after the legendary Green Bay quarterback's halftime ceremony. He was all over the place.
Charles Leno: The left tackle had a rough outing. Leno allowed several pressures and missed the key block that led to Green Bay's only sack of the night. He seemed the exchange words with Cutler after he botched the pass-protection.
Kickoff coverage: The Bears allowed Jeff Janis to return two kickoffs for 82 yards. That's unacceptable. Special teams are still a major work in progress.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Jay Cutler threw for 200 yards and a score and the Chicago Bears held off the Green Bay Packers on fourth-and-goal from the 8 with 22 seconds left for a 17-13 victory Thursday night.
Cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted Rodgers' pass with 3:19 left at the Bears 45 on the Packers' previous drive.
The highlight of the night for Green Bay turned out to be the return of Brett Favre, whose name and No. 4 was unveiled at halftime next to the team's other retired numbers.
Chicago (5-6) has won three of its last four. The Packers (7-4) lost a second straight home game.
Jeremy Langford ran for a touchdown for Chicago.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Jay Cutler finally notched career win No. 1 (1-4) at Lambeau Field, fighting though nasty conditions to spoil Thanksgiving for the 78,488 in attendance on the night the Green Bay Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. The Chicago Bears' 17-13 upset victory is also just the second time Cutler has defeated his team's arch-rivals since he entered the NFL in 2006.
Cutler completed 19 of 31 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions -- his biggest problem against the Packers -- but his contributions went beyond the box score. He consistently kept important drives alive because of his unique ability to sidestep Green Bay's pass-rush. On Chicago's first scoring drive, Cutler went 4-of-5 and delivered a touchdown strike to rapidly emerging tight end Zach Miller.
Cutler received plenty of help from the defense. Veteran Tracy Porter's fourth-quarter interception of Aaron Rodgers, followed by a nail-biting red zone stand with less than one minute left to play sealed the dramatic victory. But whenever the Bears needed to convert on a critical third down, Cutler usually delivered.
In a rebuilding year, Cutler's growth is obvious. Helping the Bears win at Lambeau Field is a personal milestone for the 32-year-old quarterback.
Better late than never.
What it means: This is a huge win for the Bears. Huge. Forget for a moment about the playoff chase. At 5-6, the Bears still have tons of work to do on that front. This season, however, is mainly about building a foundation for the future. Knocking off the Packers -- on Favre’s special night nonetheless -- is a signature victory for the new regime. The march to eight or nine wins is realistic with the 49ers, Redskins, Vikings, Bucs and Lions left on the schedule.
What were they thinking? Another lousy moment on special teams. Just as the Bears clawed their way back in the game, Green Bay’s Jeff Janis runs back a kickoff 64 yards that put the Packers in scoring position. We’ve reached the point that the Bears need to have a special teams intervention. It seems the third phase commits a costly mistake every week. And where are the impact plays? Bears head coach John Fox lauded special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers on Tuesday. Maybe Rodgers is working hard behind the scenes, but as Fox likes to say, the NFL is a performance-based business. Where are the results?
One reason to get excited: Did I mention the Bears beat Green Bay at Lambeau Field. It’s only the third time since 2006. The defense really tightened up after Eddie Lacy’s 25-yard touchdown reception. Pernell McPhee, Lamarr Houston, Adrian Amos, Willie Young and Chris Prosinski (forced fumble) all made impact plays. Vic Fangio is a quality defensive coordinator, capable of adjusting on the fly. This is not a perfect unit, mind you. The Bears give up too much on the ground. And they still get crossed up over the middle on occasion. But Chicago's defense is night and day better compared to a year ago. That final defensive stand was special. It's hard to turn Rodgers away on four downs that close to the end zone.
One reason to panic: Penalties. Way too many penalties. The Bears, remember, had zero infractions last week, which was first time since 1995. But on Thursday, the officials caught the Bears five times in the first quarter. Porter had a touchdown-saving interception erased due to illegal contact (the call looked pretty weak on the replay). Then after halftime, the Bears were flagged for three fouls on their opening drive of the third quarter. The Bears finished the game with 12 penalties.
Fantasy watch: The return of Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery provided the Bears with a modest bump on offense. Forte ended the night with 53 all-purpose yards. Jeffery caught seven passes for 90 yards. Cutler had the 200 yards and one touchdown (90.8 quarterback rating).
Ouch: The Bears did not suffer any significant injuries on Thursday. With extra time to rest until next Sunday’s home game against San Francisco, the club is expected to reevaluate tight end Martellus Bennett (ribs) and Antrel Rolle (knee) when practice resumes on Monday.
A lifetime contract for Adam Gase: The Chicago Bears would love for Gase to stick around permanently after the work he’s done with quarterback Jay Cutler. Gase is the first Chicago offensive coordinator to click with Cutler, who developed the reputation as a coach-killer following strained relationships with ex-playcallers Ron Turner, Mike Martz, Mike Tice, Marc Trestman and Aaron Kromer. Unfortunately, Gase is a strong candidate to land a head coaching gig in 2016. That is, of course, unless the Bears can lock him up forever.
An Oscar-worthy Hollywood script for Aaron Rodgers: The Packers quarterback is the bane of Chicago’s existence. What the Bears need is for Rodgers to follow the career path of Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, who left football early to pursue a career in acting. With Rodgers out of the picture, the Bears’ chances of winning the NFC North would improve drastically. What better way to entice Rodgers to retire prematurely than to offer him the lead role in a soon-to-be box office smash hit. That’s better than State Farm commercials and semi-regular appearances on "Celebrity Jeopardy." It’s a win-win for Rodgers and the Bears.
Forte missed the previous three games with a knee injury, and Jeffery was questionable going into the night with a groin injury. The team's top receiver, Jeffery has missed five games this season with groin and shoulder ailments.
Other Bears inactives include RB Ka'Deem Carey
A little more than two hours before kickoff, Lambeau Field remained covered.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) November 26, 2015
It wouldn't be the first time the Packers and Bears have played a prime-time game in monsoon-like conditions. The memorable Halloween game in 1994 at Soldier Field turned into a mudbath.
That night, the Bears honored their two Pro Football Hall-of-Famers during a soggy halftime ceremony, retiring Dick Butkus’ No. 51 and Gale Sayers’ No. 40.
“It was awful. Awful,” recalled former Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle, who played in that game and now co-hosts “Waddle & Silvy” on ESPN Chicago. “They retired their jerseys and the Glad bags they had over them, trying to keep the water off them.
“I’ve said this a number of times: That was the most miserable conditions I’ve ever played in at any level because it was just warm enough so it wasn’t snowing. So it was the coldest, hardest rain you could imagine. It was awful.”
It started raining hard in Green Bay at around 2 p.m. local time and has not let up.
According to Accuweather, the temperature at kickoff on Thursday night will be in the upper-30s with wind chills in the low-20s and upper teens during the game. It's possible the rain will turn to snow by the time Favre's retired No. 4 is unveiled on the Lambeau Field fašade during a halftime ceremony that also is expected to include an appearance by Bart Starr.
Starr's wife, Cherry, said earlier on Thursday that her ailing husband is “going to walk on that field tonight.”
Jason Wilde contributed to this report.