Packers' Tom Crabtree celebrates with fans after scoring a touchdown on a pass from holder Tim Masthay during the first half against the Bears on Thursday night. (AP Images)

It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was mostly ugly. It was the kind of physical, low-scoring, rough-and-tumble rivalry game you expect between the Packers and Bears in mid-December, not mid-September. In the end, and for the first time since the 2010 Super Bowl season, it was Green Bay’s defense that bailed out the offense, leading a marauding charge to a 23-10 win over Chicago on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

The Packers sacked Bears QB Jay Cutler seven times and intercepted him four times. Four of those sacks and three of the interceptions came in the decisive fourth quarter, when the Bears offense imploded. That coincided with the Packers’ vaunted offense finally becoming competent; Green Bay scored 10 points in the final quarter to put Cutler and the Bears out of their misery.

The win really was earned on defense for Green Bay. Reigning MVP QB Aaron Rodgers was far from stellar, finishing 22 of 32 for just 219 yards with one touchdown and one interception for an 85.3 passer rating. But the Packers clearly had game-planned to establish the run early and stick to it -- they carried the ball 28 times for 106 yards. It was a more balanced attack than has been seen in Green Bay in a long time.

For the Packers it was an unattractive but acceptable win, evening their record at 1-1 and raising hope that the Week 1 loss to the 49ers was anomalous. For the Bears, also 1-1, it was a sobering reminder that last week’s 41-point outburst against the Colts was, well, against the Colts.

When the game turned: Tramon Williams’ second interception of the game, early in the fourth quarter. Down less than two scores, Cutler heaved a deep pass intended for Brandon Marshall. Williams, who’d blanketed Marshall all game and intercepted Cutler earlier, leaped up, juggled the ball slightly, came down with it and returned the pick 38 yards to the Bears’ 26-yard line. On the very next play, Rodgers delivered a strike to WR Donald Driver for a touchdown that put the Packers up 23-3.

For the Packers, the sequence of events and their impact on the game were eerily reminiscent of last week, when Rodgers threw a fourth-quarter interception against the 49ers, who, on their next play from scrimmage, scored a 21-yard touchdown to ice the game.

The interception initiated the sack-and-turnover-filled, fourth-quarter meltdown of Cutler and the Bears offense. The game was never close again after that.

Highlight moments: Besides Williams’ interception and Driver’s touchdown, which was followed by a celebratory cowboy dance reminiscent of Driver’s “Dancing with the Stars” TV days, the game’s biggest highlight came in an otherwise dull first half.

The Packers, not known for trickery, pulled off a fake field goal and scored the game’s first touchdown in the second quarter. Up 3-0, P Tim Masthay took the long snap and flipped the ball to TE Tom Crabtree, who followed a clutch block from fellow TE Ryan Taylor and ran 27 yards for a touchdown. He completed the requisite Lambeau Leap, and Masthay finished his night as the game’s most accomplished passer.

For the Bears, the highlight moments were mostly lowlights. Many of them involved Cutler prying himself off the turf. One critical play stands out, though, that could have turned the game. In the third quarter, with the Packers leading 13-0, Cutler finally had enough time to pick out a receiver. Open in the end zone was Marshall, who had been a ghost until that point but got free because Williams fell down. The pass was a tad long, but Marshall should have caught it. He didn’t. It fell incomplete, and the Bears had to settle for a field goal.

Top-shelf performances: OLB Clay Matthews was a beast. The “Claymaker” is clearly back to his old, devastating self. He had 3.5 sacks against the Bears, a career single-game high, and almost singlehandedly destroyed Chicago’s offense. After registering 2.5 sacks last week, he now has six in two games. He had six all of last season. Bears LT J’Marcus Webb never stood a chance. On offense for the Packers, there wasn’t much to applaud. But RB Cedric Benson looked good, rushing 20 times for 81 yards.

Green Bay’s coaches said the team needed to run more and run better after last week’s dismal performance. The Packers clearly intended to make that point, and Benson brought balance to the offense that eventually resulted in some second-half passing success.

For the Bears, DE Julius Peppers finished with two sacks, both coming in the first half. That was all he contributed, however, disappearing for much of the second half. On offense, no one had a top-shelf performance.

What they said about LB Clay Matthews:

  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy: “I thought Clay was off the charts with the energy and the production he gave.”
  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “Clay was incredible. Defense causing turnovers -- if they play like that, we're going to be tough to beat.”

Numbers you should know: The Bears had just 74 net passing yards and were plagued by a fourth-quarter deluge of sacks and interceptions. Cutler finished 11 of 27 for 126 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions for a 28.2 passer rating. He was physically abused all night, getting hit 12 times, including seven sacks. For the Packers, Driver had one catch, his first of the 2012 season after hardly playing at all last week. And it was a touchdown, the 60th TD reception of his career.

On defense, Chicago rookie DE Shea McClellin had 1.5 sacks. That’s interesting to note because the Packers were reportedly very high on McClellin entering the draft and might have picked him at No. 28 if Chicago hadn’t selected him 19th. Instead, Green Bay chose Nick Perry, who started Thursday but was replaced early and didn’t register a single statistic.

Injury update: Chicago RB Matt Forte left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.

Going forward: Both teams now have a bit of a rest after playing two games in four days. The Packers have 11 days off before they play at Seattle in a Monday Night Football game against the Seahawks, who will have former University of Wisconsin star Russell Wilson or ex-Packers backup Matt Flynn starting at QB. After that, the Packers return to Green Bay to face the explosive Saints in a Week 4 matchup that closes out a difficult first month of the season.

Chicago returns home and plays St. Louis in 10 days. Then the team finishes out its first month with a Week 4 game at Dallas. By then, the Bears hopes to have figured out a way to protect Cutler. The next two games they will be going against the Rams’ Chris Long and the Cowboys’ DaMarcus Ware, two of the league’s best pass rushers.

Follow Packers reporter James Carlton on Twitter @CBSPackers.