NFC North: Matt Frte

 
 AP Photo/Paul Sancya
 Kyle Orton torched the Lions with a career-high 334 yards passing.

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

DETROIT -- I did a quick count Sunday afternoon as I left the locker room. I've covered 20 Lions games since 1999, a representative sample that I think gives me the authority to say they're as bad now as they have been at any point in the past 10 years.

Sunday's 34-7 loss to the Chicago Bears reflected an embarrassing lack of preparation and left the Lions in total disarray. Worst yet, they have 12 games left to play.

We'll get into the status of Jon Kitna -- the team said back spasms, not performance, forced him out of the game at halftime -- and fill you in on a colorful postgame interview with receiver Roy Williams.

First, however, it's only sporting to admit -- yes -- the Bears are the class of the NFC North. While the Lions weren't competitive after the first quarter, the Bears deserve credit for producing the most complete performance of a division team this season.

Five weeks into 2008, Chicago is the only NFC North team with a winning record. Sunday, its defense forced two turnovers -- not bad considering it was on the field for only 56 plays -- while limiting the Lions to 12 first downs and 185 total yards. And the offense rolled up 425 yards even though their most productive skill position player, tailback Matt Forte, managed only 36 yards on 15 carries.

The Bears are 3-2 and have yet to play a division game at Soldier Field. It's still very early, but in essence the division title now goes through Chicago.

"Our goal is about getting on top of the division and staying there," coach Lovie Smith said.

The Bears seemed to be reeling two weeks ago after an overtime loss to Tampa Bay, a defeat that dropped them to 1-2. Since then, they have followed a newly aggressive offense to an early lead Sept. 28 over Philadelphia and Sunday in Detroit.

"We feel if we execute, that's the kind of offense we can be on a consistent basis," quarterback Kyle Orton said. "We feel like we're in a good spot."

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