NFC North roundup: Bears, Packers lead the way early at 2-0LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears made their statement. Now, all they have to do is back it up. They’re 2-0 for the first time since the 2006 Super Bowl season after an impressive 27-20 victory at Dallas on Sunday, with a Monday night matchup against Green Bay coming up.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears made their statement. Now, all they have to do is back it up.
They’re 2-0 for the first time since the 2006 Super Bowl season after an impressive 27-20 victory at Dallas on Sunday, with a Monday night matchup against Green Bay coming up.
Win that and the doubters just might be silenced. For now, they’re at least a little quieter.
Safety Chris Harris said the Bears “showed a lot of character” by winning at Dallas. They also showed the ability to make big plays on offense and defense and to beat a contender after barely getting by Detroit in a season-opening win that in some ways felt more like a loss.
This time, the coaching staff was getting credit for the moves it made after being second-guessed for decisions that backfired. And the Bears were basking in the glow of a rather convincing win after they escaped last week, when a quirky rule wiped out what looked like a go-ahead touchdown for Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.
“Nobody’s picking us to win,” Harris said Monday. “We like that. That’s fine with us. In the locker room, we’re all we have anyway, so we don’t let outside forces, outside voices dictate how we play.”
How they played against Dallas was pretty good.
The Bears’ average gain per passing play was nine yards, with Jay Cutler completing 21 of 29 for 277 yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging a league-leading 10.1 yards per completion, ranks third in yards passing (649), is tied for fourth in completion percentage (68.8) and has five touchdowns with just one interception after throwing an NFL-worst 26 last season.
Johnny Knox caught four passes for 86 yards. Devin Hester had four catches for 77, including a one-handed touchdown catch. And Greg Olsen turned a quick, short pass into a 39-yard TD.
Bulaga might start at LT for Pack
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Veteran Chad Clifton remains the Green Bay Packers’ starting left tackle.
That doesn’t mean he’ll start against the Chicago Bears next Monday night.
Clifton was benched in favor of first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga during Sunday’s victory over the Buffalo Bills, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he made the move because Clifton “didn’t look healthy.” Continued knee soreness is putting Clifton’s availability against the Bears in doubt.
“He’s our starting left tackle,” McCarthy said. “He’s battling through a rough spot right now medically. We have Bryan Bulaga getting ready. I thought Bryan played well with his opportunity yesterday.”
Facing a Monday night game, the Packers would have an extra day to get their rookie ready.
Rookie Best shines for Lions
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Jahvid Best caught a screen pass and turned up the field, then paused ever so slightly. Instead of running into the back of one of his blockers, the Detroit rookie waited for a lane to open, and once he found one, he was gone for a 75-yard touchdown against Philadelphia last weekend.
With both his speed and his savvy, Best has brought some much-needed excitement to the Lions. Although Detroit is struggling again to win games, the new running back is making quite an impact. In his first two games as a pro, he’s scored five touchdowns.
Best is already putting up numbers that have him in pretty impressive company. He’s the first rookie to score five touchdowns in his first two games since Billy Sims in 1980. In Detroit’s 35-32 loss to the Eagles, he caught nine passes for 154 yards, the most yards receiving in a game by a first-year running back since Herschel Walker had 170 in 1986.
His 232 total yards from scrimmage against the Eagles put him fifth on the Lions’ single-game list, just behind the likes of Sims and Barry Sanders.