Facing a fourth-and-8 with 38 seconds remaining, Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for a 48-yard touchdown to take a 33-28 lead.
The score capped a 15-play, 86-yard drive that stretched over most of the game's final six minutes. Rodgers went 5-of-8 on the drive, which saw the Packers convert three fourth-down attempts.
Rodgers had not played since fracturing his collarbone in Week 9 against the same Bears. The Packers had limped along without him, going 2-4-1, but doing just enough to stay in contention for the division title. Chicago missed a prime opportunity to clinch the division last week when it lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was also Cobb's first game back from a long injury stint. He broke his leg back in Week 6 and had not played since. He and Rodgers hooked up for scores twice on the day.
The Packers took the lead on one of the oddest plays of the year during the second quarter. On a first-and-10 on the Chicago 17, Rodgers had the ball batted from behind by Julius Peppers as he was attempting a pass. Everyone assumed it was an incomplete pass, and Packers receiver Jarrett Boykin trotted over and casually picked it up. With prompting from the sideline, he realized the play had not been blown dead and scampered into the end zone to put the Packers up 10-7.
The Packers would add a field goal to head into halftime with a 13-7 lead.
Things opened up in a back-and-forth second half as the two teams began trading scores. After Devin Hester set the Bears up on the Green Bay 30-yard line, the Bears cashed in with another Forte touchdown to take a 14-13 lead early in the third quarter.
Rodgers drove the Packers down for an answering score, finding Cobb in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown. It was Rodgers' first touchdown since Oct. 27, and the first since Sept. 15 for Cobb, who returned after missing the last 10 games with a broken leg.
The Bears then scored consecutive touchdowns to take an eight-point lead. Forte found the end zone for a third time on a 1-yard run with five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Brandon Marshall made an impressive spinning touchdown grab to make it 28-20.
The Packers answered yet again, with Eddie Lacy bouncing outside to score on a 6-yard run to pull Green Bay to within two points. Head coach Mike McCarthy elected to kick the extra point instead of going for the tie with a two-point conversion. Mason Crosby connected on the PAT to make it 28-27 and set up the thrilling finish.
Did they cover?
The Packers covered the 3-point spread listed at OddsShark.com.
Green Bay will host the San Francisco 49ers next week in the first round of the playoffs. Chicago's 2013 season is over.