We're Black and Blue All Over:
Thanks to the miracle of modern travel, I was able to hustle back to NFC North blog headquarters Sunday night while keeping an eye on the Chicago Bears' impressive prime-time victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Thanks to ESPNChicago.com for covering me on the late-night Rapid Reaction.
Week 6 left us in a state that makes me feel privileged to cover the NFC North. We have:
The Green Bay Packers, who at 6-0 are the last undefeated team in the NFL.
The Detroit Lions, whose coach certainly made it interesting for us after their first loss of the season.
The aforementioned Bears, who put together a complete game in advance of their trip to London next weekend.
The Vikings, who could be on the brink of a quarterback change to rookie Christian Ponder. The Vikings also have a big week on their stadium front, with meetings scheduled with Gov. Mark Dayton and league officials starting Monday in an effort to create an agreement that could lead to a fall special session.
We'll get to all of it, eventually. But first, let's catch up on local coverage of Sunday's action:
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler on the team's reconfigured offense Sunday night, via Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune: "We stuck to what we can do out there."
The Bears scaled back Cutler's drops and added more people, most notably tight ends, to their pass protection. Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com explains.
It's important to take into account the Vikings' "poorly played, poorly coached and lackluster effort," writes Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com. Added Isaacson: "The Bears are what they appear to be after six games -- a .500 team no matter how they spin it."
Devin Hester had two touchdowns Sunday night, including a 98-yard kickoff return, but left with a chest injury, notes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison on the loss, via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "It's humiliating. That's the only word I can think of right now. It's simply humiliating."
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune: "It's amazing that an offense featuring Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe can look so alarmingly inept and predictable. But it did for a variety of reasons. So here's the question: What exactly is this team's identity on offense, other than hope and pray Peterson can save the day? They don't have a Plan B when a team stuffs the run the way the Bears did Sunday night."
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press thinks the Vikings should have a fire sale.
For the record, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was noncommittal about the status of his quarterback position after Ponder relieved starter Donovan McNabb in the fourth quarter. Frazier, via Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press: "We've got to sit down and talk about a lot of things."
The Packers' defense had three sacks Sunday and limited the St. Louis Rams to three points but wasn't satisfied with its effort, writes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk after television cameras caught him making an obscene gesture to the Packers' sideline, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "I'm stupid. I don't even realize sometimes when I'm out there that anyone's out there; the TVs or anything I know it got caught on TV. … It's kind of been a running joke with some of my teammates. There was no anger or malice or anything. It was a joke and I kind of got caught up in the emotions of the game. I definitely apologize if any kids or anyone else saw it. I have a daughter myself so I wouldn't want her doing that. I got excited and got caught up in the game and it was just a bad joke. I definitely won't do it again."
Packers nickelback Sam Shields suffered a concussion after trying to run out an interception from the end zone Sunday, notes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers have now won 12 consecutive games, including playoffs, and tied the franchise record. Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel has more.
The Lions' postgame fracas was less important than its late defensive failure Sunday, writes Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press.
John Niyo of the Detroit News on the episode: "But there's really no explaining the reaction of the coaches after this one, and I'm guessing the NFL commissioner's office will agree upon further review. Clearly, this was not the proper way to 'complete the process' of the traditional postgame meet-and-greet."
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: "But it's unacceptable when coaches make fools of themselves, as [Jim] Harbaugh and [Jim] Schwartz did."
Lions running back Jahvid Best suffered a concussion late in Sunday's game, notes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com: "Jim Schwartz's outburst at the end of the game was overboard, even if Jim Harbaugh antagonized him."