It was a rough week for most of the NFC North once again, but one team continues to stand out above the rest. Here’s a recap of the rest of the division, because let’s be honest... you don’t want to read what I have to say about the Lions.
Packers capitalize late over unbeaten Cardinals, win 24-21
You don’t normally get matchups like these on Thursday Night Football, but boy this one delivered as expected. The Cardinals came into this matchup as the only remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, thanks in part to their quarterback Kyler Murray playing at an MVP level. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have been in these types of games before, however, and they did not back down from the challenge.
The scoring got started after three straight drives ending in three-and-outs, and in general, it was a fairly tame first half. The real action started in the second half after a Kyler Murray interception was followed up with four straight touchdown drives making it 24-21 Packers over the Cards.
On the next possession, the Packers tried to make it five straight touchdown drives, but a fantastic effort from the Cardinals’ defense prevented that from happening, stopping Green Bay on a goal-line stand at the one-yard line. This gave Arizona the ball and the final possession, and, well... I’ll just let you see for yourself.
RASUL DOUGLAS INTERCEPTS MURRAY. #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/ZIDly9m0Bc— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2021
Oh no, A.J. Green.
The Packers dodge a bullet and make it seven straight wins, tying themselves with the Cardinals and Rams atop the conference.
Next game: @ Chiefs (3-4)
Bears fall apart at home against 49ers, 33-22
This was a game that the Bears really needed if they wanted to stay in a decent range of making the playoffs. They did a nice job in the first half holding a lead and limiting the 49ers to just nine points on three field goals. The Bears went into halftime with a 13-9 lead and had been dominating time of possession, but whatever Kyle Shanahan told his team in the locker room worked, because the Bears defense had no answer for what was to come.
After struggling for 40 minutes, the 49ers' offense erupted for 24 points in the second half, with 18 of those coming in the fourth quarter. Chicago could not stop Elijah Mitchell on the ground or Deebo Samuel through the air, as they combined for 308 of San Francisco’s 467 total yards.
The Bears’ offense did their best to try and keep it close, but it wasn’t enough. Justin Fields performed well enough and had the play of the game, using his feet on 4th-and-1 to try and knot things up midway through the fourth.
JUSTIN FIELDS MIRACLE TD— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 31, 2021
Next game: @ Steelers (4-3)
Vikings lose to Cowboys backup QB on primetime, 20-16
With Dak Prescott sidelined due to a calf injury, it was the Cooper Rush show for the Cowboys on Sunday night. The Vikings took advantage of no Prescott for most of the game and never trailed until Rush led the Cowboys on an 8-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to bring the Cowboys up 20-16 with 51 seconds left in the game.
Kirk Cousins had a rough outing on national television and could not outduel Dallas’ backup QB. He finished the game with just 184 passing yards on 35 attempts (5.3 ypa) and a QBR of 36.6. With performances like these, you have to get a sense that Cousins’ time in Minnesota might be up soon. He’s set to be a free agent in 2023.
The Vikings now sit at 3-4 and have a tough stretch of opponents coming up, including back-to-back road games against the Ravens and Chargers up next.
Next game: @ Ravens (5-2)
NFC North Standings after Week 7
1. Green Bay Packers (7-1)
2. Minnesota Vikings (3-4)
3. Chicago Bears (3-5)
4. Detroit Lions (0-8)
Once again, it’s the Packers lengthening the gap between themselves and the rest of the division. It’s simply the same story every week at this point.