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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Peterson's fumbles

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

CHICAGO -- Good (late) morning to everyone in the NFC North. I’m still processing the events and implications of the final "Monday Night Football" game of the year, one that secured the Black and Blue’s status as the NFL’s source of high drama. (Or is it “Air and Space? After all, I counted 594 passing yards and six touchdown passes.)

There were a number of angles I didn’t hit fully Monday night, including what appeared to be serious injuries to Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman (ribs) and receiver Johnny Knox (ankle). I’ll pass along updates on their statuses as I get them.

Also lost in the shuffle was Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson’s sixth lost fumble of the season. Not all of them have impacted the outcome of games, but this one certainly did. Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer punched loose the ball after a 16-yard reception. Replays indicated that cornerback Zack Bowman grabbed Peterson’s facemask during the play, but no penalty was called.

I missed Peterson’s postgame interview, but here’s what he said, according to the Star Tribune: “I'm sick right now. I'm very disappointed. I really feel like I lost this game. We were in position to win the game, and I gave it away.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2007, Peterson has lost 13 fumbles -- by far the most of any non-quarterback in the league. The next player on that list is Washington tailback Clinton Portis. As we’ve discussed many times, the word is out that Peterson doesn’t protect the ball as well as he should at the end of runs. It makes all the sense in the world to punch the ball rather than try to tackle him.

Continuing around the NFC North: