American Football: Bears roar past Green Bay

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The Independent Online

Rex Grossman came up with some big quarterback plays and the Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs returned an interception 10 yards to score a touchdown as the Chicago Bears clinched the National Football Conference North Division title with a 24-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The Bears who, with 11 wins from 15 matches, have reached the post-season for the first time since winning the NFC Central in 2001, also sealed a play-off bye.

"I don't think you can change the magnitude of winning in Green Bay or clinching the division in Green Bay," Briggs said. "It's the Packers. They're our biggest rival."

Grossman completed 11 of 23 passes for 166 yards and threw for two touchdowns in his first start since 26 September 2004. He missed the first 13 games this season while recovering from a fractured ankle.

In the other NFL match played on Christmas Day, Kyle Boller threw for three touchdowns as the Baltimore Ravens posted a 30-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, who were eliminated from play-off contention as a result.

After seeing their NFC North Division title hopes end earlier in the day when Chicago won, Minnesota needed to win the last two games and hope that other teams slipped up to gain a wild-card berth.

"We're sick to our stomachs for not getting this win," said the tight end, Jim Kleinsasser.

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