Jay Cutler does not condone smiling.
It wasn't exactly a banner week for the NFC North division, as all four teams lost their opening preseason games. We have discussed the Packers' defeat in San Diego plenty, so let's take a look around the rest of the division to see what happened.
Ouch. That looks bad until you realize that Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brian Urlacher, and Julius Peppers didn't play at all. The Bears intercepted Peyton Manning on a tipped pass to end Manning's only drive, but that was really the only highlight of the night for the Bears. They only got 8 first downs and were a miserable 0 for 11 on third down conversions while averaging 2.7 yards per play on offense. Rookie wideout Alshon Jeffery caught four passes for 35 yards, while DE Shea McClellin had two tackles including a sack.
Packers fans (especially those of you who enjoy schadenfreude like me) may find some pleasure in hearing that former Bears backup QB Caleb Hanie led the Broncos on two scoring drives in the first half.
Browns 19, Lions 17
Matthew Stafford struggled on the Lions' first three drives, starting the game with a three-and-out and an interception before at least making it to midfield on his third drive before punting. Backup Shaun Hill led two touchdown drives to give the Lions a lead, one score coming on a run by Keiland Williams, who had a good day on the ground, and one on a short pass to Stefan Logan. The defense also intercepted Brandon Weeden early, and Everette Brown had 1.5 sacks on the day.
The Browns' young QB looked like a rookie, completing only 3 of 9 passes for 62 yards with the interception. The Browns' ground game struggled as well without rookie Trent Richardson.
49ers 17, Vikings 6
No Adrian Peterson and no Percy Harvin makes Christian Ponder sad. Ponder completed 4 of 9 passes for 80 yards, but made one long pass to Stephen Burton, who made a catch over blown coverage for a 52 yard gain on the first drive. Ponder was in the game for two drives, leading the Vikings to field goals on both before giving way to Jow Webb. Toby Gerhart supplied much of the offense on the first two drives, while Blair Walsh converted both field goal attempts.
Three players with Wisconsin connections had contributions for the Niners. Former Packer Brett Swain scored San Francisco's first touchdown; backup QB Colin Kaepernick, who lists Milwaukee as his hometown, ran for a 78-yard score; finally, former Badger Scott Tolzien went 10/13 for 84 yards and an interception.