Black and Blue all over: Cutler in the red zone

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

Still shaking my head Monday morning over Chicago’s loss at Atlanta. It just seemed like a classic coulda-shoulda-woulda game. If the Bears had simply gotten three points in each of their three failed trips to the red zone, they would have won.

Maybe it’s not that simple, but that’s the thought that keeps going through my head. ESPN Stats & Information tracked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the red zone Sunday night, and the numbers weren’t pretty:

Completions: 2

Attempts: 9

Pct.: 22.2

Yards: 10

Touchdowns: 1

Interceptions: 1

Rating: 37.0

In case you were wondering, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan had a 135.4 rating in the red zone Sunday night. Some throws matter more than others.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: “For the Bears to join the Falcons in the group of legitimate playoff contenders, they cannot give games away as they did this one. They cannot lose games they have every chance to win. Give the Falcons credit for winning the game in the fourth quarter, but blame the Bears every bit as much for blowing it. If Lovie Smith's team had been any more charitable, the organization could claim the whole road trip as a tax deduction.”

  • Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times: “In the end, there was no margin for error, and too many mistakes told the tale. There were too many giveaways on offense and not enough takeaways on defense.”

  • Like many of us, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times is having trouble understanding why the Bears can’t get their running game untracked even when Cutler is on a roll.

  • Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago talks to tailback Matt Forte about his goal-line fumble.

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the Packers’ victory over Detroit: “’Yes, but’ were the operative words for the Green Bay Packers in their 26-0 triumph on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field. Yes, it was a lopsided victory, but it came at the expense of the hapless Detroit Lions.”

  • Packers rookie Clay Matthews played every snap at right outside linebacker and finished with two sacks and three tackles for loss, writes Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette.

  • Packers rookie T.J. Lang did a nice job of replacing left tackle Chad Clifton in the second half, writes Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Another twist coming out of the bye: The Packers allowed linebacker Aaron Kampman to rush as a down lineman for 12 snaps, according to Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel, and Kampman responded with his best game of the season.

  • Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew offered a roundabout comment on ESPN’s report that quarterback Matthew Stafford will have an MRI of his knee evaluated by Dr. James Andrews. Here’s the report from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.

  • Michael Rosenberg of the Free Press: “The Lions have used up three quarterbacks and all of their fans’ patience. They have lost five games in 2009, and either 19 or 20 straight in the state of Wisconsin -- officially, it’s 19, but I’m petitioning the league to count this one twice. The final score was Packers 26, Lions 0. It felt like 300-0. And do you know what the worst part was? The Packers didn’t even play well!”

  • Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: “It's pointless to pick through rubble for workable pieces because the Lions are so thoroughly outmanned and under-talented, nothing stays working for long. The Lions are injured and abysmal, a nasty combination once again on explicit display in a 26-0 loss at Lambeau Field Sunday.”

  • I like this line from Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Minnesota’s secondary scramble after an injury to cornerback Antoine Winfield: “There comes a time when you just have to pass out the asbestos helmets and hope no one's hair catches fire.” Now I just need to figure out what it means.

  • Indeed, Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune writes that the depth of the Vikings’ secondary was tested Sunday against Baltimore.