NFC North Recap: Week 5
To say the least, it was a wild week for much of the NFC North. We saw a big road upset, and two games that were won on walk-off field goals. The standings in the division remain exactly the same through five weeks, but it was not without some very hectic football. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything that went down across the North.
Chicago Moves Above .500
Who would’ve guessed that at the end of this week, the Chicago Bears would be the team to most handedly defeat their opponent? After an impressive start to the season, the 3-1 Las Vegas Raiders looked to continue their success against rookie Justin Fields and a young Bears team without star RB, David Montgomery. However, no such event would take place.
Justin Fields didn’t do much through the air, passing for under 150 yards again, but the Chicago running game really took over. Damien Williams filled in very nicely at RB, rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown while Khalil Herbert also ate up 16 carries for 75 yards. The Bears defense did a terrific job of containing Derek Carr as well, limiting him to just 206 yards, zero touchdowns, and an INT in the 20-9 win. Next week brings a key matchup with Green Bay as Chicago looks to keep keep pace in the division.
Detroit Loses Another Heartbreaker
The Lions were looking to get off their 0-4 snide as they headed to Minneapolis to face the Vikings, but they’d be doing it without star LT Taylor Decker and LB Romeo Okwara. Additionally, De’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams went into this game banged up, but still suited up. The duo played well for Detroit, totaling 169 yards from scrimmage out of the backfield.
However, even with a last-minute TD run by Swift to help put the Lions up 17-16, it wasn’t enough to escape heartbreak once again. With 37 seconds left, Kirk Cousins and his veteran receiver, Adam Thielen, connected twice for a total of 40 yards. It was the catalyst for a drive that was capped off by a 54-yard, game-winning field goal by Greg Joseph to sink Detroit, 19-17. Now sitting at 0-5, the Lions once again try to break into the win column as they host the Bengals.
Green Bay Escapes The Jungle With a Win
The Packers defense clearly missed Jaire Alexander in this one, who went on IR earlier this week. Ja’Marr Chase went off for yet another big performance, reeling in six catches for 159 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Davante Adams had a massive game of his own, going off for 11 catches, 206 yards, and a touchdown.
At the end of the day though, this ended up being a battle of kicker attrition. Down the stretch of the fourth quarter and OT, Mason Crosby and Evan McPherson combined to miss on five consecutive field goals with the score locked at 22. However, if the third time wasn’t the charm, the sixth time was. With one last OT drive, Aaron Rodgers led the offense down into Bengal territory again, and this time, Crosby nailed a 49-yard kick to win the game 25-22 and send Green Bay to 4-1.
The Vikings Walk Backwards into a Win
The Minnesota Vikings defense looked dominant for much of this matchup against Detroit despite not having Michael Pierce, Cam Dantzler, or Harrison Hand. Anthony Barr was also largely a non-factor in his first game of the 2021 campaign. However, it was the familiar veterans that stepped up as Everson Griffen recorded a strip sack of Jared Goff, and Eric Kendricks made an incredible one-handed catch for an INT.
The Vikings were up 16-6 with less than five minutes left in the game, but at this point is where they nearly blew it. The Lions kicked a field goal to cut the score to 16-9, and then Alexander Mattison fumbled the ball on a 3rd and 7 run inside the Vikings 20. Detroit then immediately scored a touchdown and two-point coversion to take the lead. However, after a very quiet day of zero catches through 59:27 of game-time, Adam Thielen caught two balls for 40 yards in the final 30 seconds of the game. On a day in which bad kicking was a hindrance throughout the league, Greg Joseph avoided another missed field goal by hitting the game-winner, sending Minnesota to 2-3 as they meet Carolina in week 6.