BBAO: Bears nearing record for TD returns


We're Black and Blue All Over:

Two NFC North teams rallied for fourth-quarter victories Sunday and a third hung on for dear life. Of all the dramatic stories and events to emerge from the day, to me here is the wildest: Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings' 25-yard interception return for a touchdown was the team's sixth in seven games. Already, they are within three of tying the NFL single-season record set 51 years ago.

Here's what the record book shows:

1961 Chargers: nine

1998 Seahawks: eight

1999 Rams: seven

1984 Seahawks: seven

Jennings' touchdown capped the Bears' comeback from a 19-7 fourth-quarter lead, but the game wasn't secure until Robbie Gould's 41-yard field goal on the final play. It was that kind of day in the NFC North. Let's continue with our morning stroll:

  • Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com: "[T]hat was Grand Theft NFL and we all know it. And guess what: There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's pretty great."

  • Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler: "But while Cutler may sometimes fail in big moments, he doesn't shrink in them."

  • Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune: "Whether you want to call him Mr. Clutch or Mr. Double Clutch probably depends on whether you call the glass half-full or half-empty. Truth be told, Jay Cutler was a little of both Sunday."

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "[T]hese Bears remain who everyone thinks they are despite the obvious letdown: A team capable of playing in the Super Bowl."

  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I still can’t believe it as I write this, but they won."

  • Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press on the Detroit Lions' victory over the Seattle Seahawks: "They've memorized the script through constant repetition. Never dominate. Hang close. And hope for a little closing-seconds magic."

  • Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has turned into "Megadrop," writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News.

  • Lions receiver Titus Young on his mentality earlier this season, before Sunday's breakout game, via Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com: "I had a couple of games this season where I struggled, and really wasn't getting all the plays I wanted to get. I really was kind of a little down. Honestly, I was down for a little bit. This is the NFL. You want to do good every week."

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the Green Bay Packers' victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars: "It wasn’t pretty, and against almost anyone other than the 1-6 Jaguars, the Packers would have gone down in flames."

  • Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "The Green Bay Packers’ running game is still going next to nowhere -- and coach Mike McCarthy may have to consider bringing James Starks out of mothballs."

  • The Packers' lack of energy was troubling, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • The Minnesota Vikings' ability to bounce back is about to be put to the test, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.

  • The first round of the 2012 draft has defined the first half of the Vikings' season, for better and worse, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.