- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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We're Black and Blue All Over:
Week 7 dawns with the NFC North mostly in disarray.
The Chicago Bears played right into the Seattle Seahawks' hands Sunday, forgetting about offensive balance in a 23-20 loss. In dropping a second consecutive overtime game, the Green Bay Packers were reduced to waving photographs of questionable officiating calls. The Detroit Lions were down to their third quarterback in a 28-20 loss to the New York Giants. And the Minnesota Vikings' offense continued its anemic ways in a 24-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, a game won by its special teams and defense.
We'll have much more to say about the state of the division as the week progresses, but for now I think it's clearly a wide-open race to be won by the team that gets more of its problems straightened out quicker.
Or something like that.
Let's take a late-morning spin around the division:
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on the Bears' decision to run only 12 times a week after accumulating 218 rushing yards at Carolina: "The Bears went from a 65-35 run-pass ratio to 80-20 pass-to-run. A football team cannot expect a carryover effect if it drops the ball mentally. Talk about an identity crisis. It was the short-term recall of the Bears' quarterback we were worried about, not the coaching staff, right?"
The Tribune's Dan Pompei: "The Bears asked Jay Cutler to do it all Sunday. And he did it all -- poorly. In Cutler's first game back from a one-game absence because of a concussion, he was asked to carry the offense. As well as the defense, special teams, Gatorade jugs, coaches' headphones and medical kits."
Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Offensive coordinator Mike Martz is so obstinate and defiant, he's putting Cutler -- and the Bears' season -- at too much risk and must be stopped."
Lost in the shuffle, writes ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson: Devin Hester tied an NFL record with his 13th career touchdown return, an 89-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.
ESPNChicago.com's Jon Greenberg on the Bears offense: "There's simply no mistaking the struggles of this offense for growing pains. A lack of protection for Cutler, a dearth of physical receivers and a here-today, ignored-tomorrow focus on the run game has resulted in a discombobulated unit."
Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press on the Lions: "And yet you don't want to throw a pie at these Lions. They work so hard. Then they shoot their own feet. They make great defensive stops. Then they draw a penalty. They move the ball. Then they fumble. They dedicate themselves to a fallen teammate ... Then they can't deliver."
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "The Lions are getting good at standing back up, especially with their punishing defensive line. Now, if they could just fix that part where they fall down and fall behind."
When the Lions return to the field in two weeks, writes Mlive.com's Tom Kowalski, Matthew Stafford is likely to be their starting quarterback.
The Packers had almost no pass rush Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers' offense has had no rhythm all season, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had two teeth chipped on another brutal hit, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Rodgers: "I took a shot in the chin and chipped two teeth ... and no call. That's all I have to say about that."
Vikings receiver Randy Moss, of all people, had some choice words for the Vikings at halftime, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "Funny thing is, the Vikings are looking more and more like they might end up being the team to beat in the NFC North. Or at least the one contender that's getting closer to having its act together, rather than falling apart at the seams."
This week will be wild on several fronts for quarterback Brett Favre, writes Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.