Let’s look at what happened to the other teams in the NFC North in week two.
After at least appearing close to respectable in their first game, the Bears were embarrassed by the Cardinals at home as they fell to 0-2 on the season.
The Bears’ defense had no answers for Carson Palmer and the Cardinals’ passing game, and especially hurt themselves with a few pass interference penalties by Kyle Fuller and Alan Ball. The offense was finding some success and scored two touchdowns early on, including a 48-yard catch by Joshua Bellamy on a blown coverage, but a Jay Cutler pick-six gave the Cardinals a two-score lead. Cutler injured his hamstring after the interception, ending his day, as well as the day of anyone who was interested in watching competent football, as Jimmy Clausen entered the game.
The Bears were able to add two field goals to close out the first half and make it an eight-point game, but the defense continued to not perform in the second half. The Cardinals added three more touchdowns, and Clausen wasn’t able to generate anything offensively.
Jimmy Clausen: It’s notable because right now we don’t know the status of Jay Cutler. Clausen could be the starter next week, and if he is, he showed little reason for optimism. He finished the day 14 of 23 for just 121 yards and an interception.
Pernell McPhee: Signing as a free agent in the offseason, McPhee received the highest grade of any edge rusher in week two per PFF. While he didn’t record a sack, he finished with six hurries and two quarterback hits.
Cutler was diagnosed with a pulled hamstring, but no determination has been made on his status going into next week. No matter how bad you think Cutler is, Clausen will almost assuredly be a step down. If they have to rely on him for any extended amount of time, Bears’ fans might want to start researching the top guys in next year’s draft.
Next up: The Bears travel to Seattle next weekend, which could be one of the most lopsided games of the week.
The Packers moved to 2-0 on the season with a win in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game.
The Packers got off to a quick start with an 80-yard drive that was once again capped off with a James Jones touchdown, his third of the season. After an exchange of field goals, both offenses went silent until Mason Crosby added a second field goal to close out the first half at 13-3.
The third quarter was all Seahawks as the Packers lost control of Russell Wilson, who had a number of nice runs to go along with two touchdown passes that gave the Seahawks a 17-13 lead. A long run by John Starks set up another field goal for Green Bay, and after forcing a punt, Aaron Rodgers went to work. He completed three passes each to Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery before capping the drive with a touchdown and two-point conversion to Richard Rodgers.
An interception by Jayrone Elliot on a screen pass gave the Packers a short field, which led to another Crosby field goal and a two-score lead. With limited time left, the Seahawks attempt at a second straight impossible comeback was ended when a Fred Jackson fumble was recovered by the Packers.
Randall Cobb: When Jordy Nelson went down, it was expected that Cobb would step up as the leading receiver for Green Bay, and he looked it in this game. He led Packers receivers with eight catches for 116 yards. He accounted for over one-third of Rodgers’ targets.
Jimmy Graham: No, he’s not an NFC North player, but there will be plenty of chances to talk about the greatness of Rodgers going forward. Graham finished the day with just one catch on two targets and was not a factor. Losing center Max Unger in the trade looks like it is certainly affecting the Seahawks' interior running game early on this season, and they really could have used that first rounder to add cheap depth to a team that is becoming expensive.
The Packers joined five other NFC teams at 2-0, but they could be the best of the bunch. Rodgers has been great early on, especially with his ability to evade the pass rush and make plays. The defense certainly has its moments where it struggles, like the third quarter on Sunday night, but they did take advantage of a weak Seahawks offensive line to stifle Marshawn Lynch. With the way the rest of the NFC North has looked in the first two weeks, it’s hard not to imagine the Packers as a heavy favorite to win the division even just two weeks in.
Next up: The Packers will host the Kansas City Chiefs next Monday night. The Packers struggled against the Seahawks pass rush, as Rodgers was pressured on almost half his dropbacks. Look for Justin Houston to wreak havoc.