Hey Jared Cook: the guy with the ball is behind you. - Frederick Breedon
It was another fairly successful week for the NFC North division in Week 9, as three of the four teams in the division won their games on Sunday, and all three wins came by at least two touchdowns.
The Packers made it to the bye week at 6-3, despite all the injuries that have beset the team over the past several weeks. Randall Cobb was an all-purpose monster, and despite catching only three of nine passes thrown his way, he contributed heavily in both the run and return phases of the game. Tom Crabtree's 72-yard catch and run would have been the most improbable highlight of the weekend if not for another big slow guy touchdown (more on that later).
Mikel Leshoure finally turned in an impressive performance this week, scoring three second-quarter touchdowns. The Lions threw the ball to Calvin Johnson early and often, opening up room for Leshoure and Joique Bell in the running game - each of them had over 70 yards on the ground. The Jaguars' run game continues to be nonexistent without Maurice Jones-Drew, and the Lions forced two interceptions out of Blaine Gabbert on his 38 pass attempts. The Lions are now back at .500 and are looking like the solid offensive team that most people expected them to be earlier in the season.
Remember when I said this last week?
Expect Chicago to force multiple turnovers once again -- even if their offense remains stagnant, they should win handily.
Yeah, Charles Tillman forced four fumbles on his own. I'll repeat that...one player forced FOUR fumbles in one game. Furthermore, Brian Urlacher wins the award for "slowest player scoring a 40+ yard touchdown" in 2012 with his pick-six. Plus, the Bears' special teams scored on a blocked punt.
Did I mention that the Bears' offense was balanced and productive? Brandon Marshall hauled in three touchdowns and Matt Forte ran for 103 yards on only 12 carries. I guessed that the Bears wouldn't need much help from their offense, but Tennessee isn't exactly a stalwart defensive team this year anyway - that combination led to a huge blowout win for Chicago. Hopefully the Packers will have most of their injured playmakers back on both sides of the ball before their Week 15 game in the Windy City.
Golden Tate is still a jerk. Now that I have that out of my system, I was very happy to watch Russell Wilson efficiently move the ball against the Vikings' defense to the tune of three scores (two to Tate, ugh) and no interceptions. This was a great day to watch the running game as well, as Marshawn Lynch put up the 4th-straight 100-yard game against the Vikings' D and Adrian Peterson was even more of a monster. The problem for the Vikings was Christian Ponder, who completed 50% of his passes for only 63 yards. In fact, no Vikings receiver had more than three catches or 14 yards through the air. He was also sacked four times.
After nine weeks, the Packers sit a game and a half back of the division leader, Chicago:
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