NFC North Recap, Week 4: Lions Knock off Bears to Take Division Lead

Gregory Shamus

There's a new leader in the Black and Blue division, and it's a team that hasn't been overly competitive in recent years.

Surprise, surprise! We're four weeks into the 2013 NFL season, and currently the NFC North leader is the Detroit Lions. I'm sure everybody had that in their preseason predictions, right? No? Well, then. The Lions are technically tied with the Chicago Bears at 3-1, but lead by virtue of their win over Chicago on Sunday in Detroit. While the Green Bay Packers sat idle, here's what happened with their three division rivals.

@ Detroit Lions 40, Chicago Bears 32

The big takeaway from this game is that Reggie Bush is really good in this offense. Facing the Bears' nickel defense in a lot of his snaps on Sunday, Bush was a tackle-breaking machine, forcing 8 missed tackles (according to Pro Football Focus) and posting 139 rushing yards and a score on only 18 carries. That's a 7.7 yards per carry average. Calvin Johnson found the end zone in this game, but posted only four receptions for 44 yards as the Bears' defense did a decent job against the Lions' potent passing game.

On the other side of the ball, Jay Cutler returned to his Cutlering ways on Sunday, throwing three interceptions, losing a fumble, and throwing for fewer than 60% completions. He put together a pair of scoring drives late in the fourth quarter, but by that time the Lions had already put the game pretty much out of reach so it was too little too late. Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte were the big producers on offense for Chicago, as Jeffery caught five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown while Forte added 117 total yards and a score of his own. For the Lions' defense, Ndamukong Suh proved that he's still a damn good player when he's not throwing cheap shots, posting two sacks and forcing the fumble on Cutler.

Minnesota Vikings 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 27 (in London)

Personally, I find the idea of an NFL team in London to be rather silly. Fundamentally, it seems to me to be a logistical nightmare. Anyway, the Vikings put up a bunch of points on the Steelers' suddenly hapless defense, despite throwing Matt Cassel out there at quarterback. Cassel had a relatively respectable day in terms of stats (16/25, 248 yards, and 2 TDs), but 153 of those yards came courtesy of runs after the catch. These weren't cases where the throw led a receiver perfectly into an open area, but rather very poor tackling on the part of the Steelers' defenders. Greg Jennings scored both receiving touchdowns, but was the beneficiary of two missed tackles on his long 70-yarder. Of coruse, Adrian Peterson gashed the Steelers for 140 yards and two scores of his own, including a 60-yarder.

The Steelers got some production from rookie back Le'Veon Bell, who had two scores, but he posted only 3.6 yards per carry. Ben Roethlisberger put up 383 passing yards, but it took him 51 attempts and he was responsible for a pair of turnovers as well. The Minnesota secondary looks bad - I mean really bad - and Aaron Rodgers and his receivers should be able to exploit that weakness later on this season.

Standings

Team Record Division
Detroit Lions 3-1 2-0
Chicago Bears 3-1 1-1
Green Bay Packers 1-2 0-0
Minnesota Vikings 1-3 0-2

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