We're Black and Blue All Over:
There are three undefeated teams in the NFC as of Monday morning.
Two of them reside in the NFC North.
Yessir. The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions join the Washington Redskins as the only 2-0 teams in the conference. (Sorry. I'm tabling any and all "if the playoffs started today" projections.) We've had a fun start to the 2011 season, and judging from the excitement on the blog late Sunday night, I'm going to have my hands full keeping all of you happy.
I should probably provide a quick reminder on how we operate most Sundays. I cover one game per day, at least until cloning and occasionally tack a prime-time game on top of that schedule when travel permits. My thought has always been to focus on the game I'm covering, hoping that in-person access to the game and locker room will give me the best chance for a unique take on the day.
We always account for every NFC North game via a wrap-up post. I know I don't always get to them as quickly as you would like, but the priority is on the column from the game I cover. If nothing else, I hope to disperse your disappointment equally among the four NFC North teams this season.
OK then. Let's take a quick spin through local Week 2 coverage:
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com on the Chicago Bears' 30-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints: "The Bears similarly went bust trying to go 2-0. They looked like the disjointed team that got no respect during the preseason. They looked like the team that frustrated fans en masse last season, even as they made their NFC championship run. It was a return to form, and it starts with the quarterback."
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler got kicked in the throat during the third quarter, notes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. He was sacked six times, including five in the fourth quarter.
Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Call it what you want. But here's the deal, folks: one more game like this and you can kiss your 2011 Bears starting quarterback goodbye."
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "The Saints outhit, outhustled and outcoached a Bears team that had every weakness exposed by a legitimate playoff team. Are the Bears? Talk to me next Monday after they play the Packers."
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, via Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune: "We didn't win, so not good. Any time you don't win a football game, it's not good. Wish we would have played better. We didn't. Got to get back to the drawing board this week [and] get ready for Green Bay." Urlacher declined to answer questions about the death of his mother.
The Bears relied too much on tailback Matt Forte, writes Dan Pompei of the Tribune.
Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press on the Detroit Lions' 48-3 body slam of the Kansas City Chiefs: "Get me some Visine. My eyes must be going. I thought I just saw 48-3 on the scoreboard -- and the Lions were winning. Really? That just happened?"
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "This is about talent, and the 2-0 Lions definitely have some. It's also about attitude, and they're certainly developing some, from the noise in the building to Kid Rock and Bob Seger in the postgame locker room. Going back to last season, this is six straight victories, and it's happening with aggressiveness on offense and defense, and even with a cutthroat edge."
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com: "After revamping the linebacking unit in free agency, the biggest question mark on the Detroit Lions defense heading into the season was the secondary. Through two games, it doesn't look like it's an issue."
Rookie Lions receiver Titus Young caught five passes Sunday, including a 43-yard gain on third-and-24. Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News has more.
The Green Bay Packers held the Carolina Panthers to two touchdowns on 26 plays in the red zone in Sunday's 30-23 victory, notes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy, via Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Fire away, it's all there. We'll be harder on it than you will be."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "We probably need to give James and Ryan a few more touches. I'm being honest here. I thought James ran the ball really well. Ryan had a couple of really nice runs as well. It's nice to have that balance and to rush for over 100 yards again. This is going to be something we're going to need to do moving forward."
The Minnesota Vikings were at a loss to explain their 24-20 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune: "The Vikings haven't just begun the 2011 with two losses, they've blown two games with poisonous second-half performances that call into question the ability of their coaches to adapt during games, their offensive philosophy, their choice of veteran quarterbacks and their ability to fulfill the lofty expectations of ownership."
There are plenty of reasons to doubt the Vikings as a legitimate playoff contender, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.