(Reuters) - Aaron Rodgers became just the second quarterback to throw six touchdowns in a half as the Green Bay Packers handed NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears a 55-14 thrashing in the late game on Sunday.
The Packers led 42-0 at halftime with Rodgers having twice connected on touchdown passes to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who finished the game with 152 yards on six receptions.
After a one-yard pass to Brandon Bostick and a four-yarder to Andrew Quarless in the first quarter, Rodgers connected with Nelson twice in the second.
He found his favored receiver open but with some ground to cover for a 73-yard score and then produced a magnificent trademark pass on the run to find Nelson with a 40-yard pass into the end zone.
After a short pass to running back Eddie Lacy, who raced through the Bears defense, made it 35-0, Rodgers saved the most spectacular for last with a superb 18-yard effort to Randall Cobb, who produced a magnificent catch in the corner.
The 2010 Super Bowl winner and MVP was perfectly placed to join seven other quarterbacks to throw a record seven touchdowns in a game and had a real opportunity to become the first to reach eight against a demoralised Bears defense.
But Packers head coach Mike McCarthy took his starting quarterback out of the game early in the third quarter, no doubt to protect him from the possibility of injury, handing back-up Matt Flynn the reins.
Rodgers ended up completing 18-of-27 passes for 315 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.
Two active players have thrown seven touchdowns in a game -- Denver's Peyton Manning and Philadelphia's Nick Foles, who both recorded the feat last season.
The only other quarterback to throw six touchdowns in a half was Daryle Lamonica for the 1969 Oakland Raiders.
The 55 points equals the most scored by Packers at their Lambeau Field stadium.
The defeat marked the second straight game in which Chicago have conceded more than 50 points following their 51-23 loss to New England last week.
Green Bay moved to 6-3, behind NFC North leaders Detroit who have a 7-2 record. The Bears fell to 3-6.
(Writing By Simon Evans; Editing by John O'Brien)