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NFC North recap: Bears lose in controversial fashion as the rest of the division gets swept

A bunch of close losses unless you’re the Detroit Lions.

Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Vikings lose in heartbreaking fashion (again) to the Ravens, 34-31

For the second time this season, the Minnesota Vikings lost in overtime to a game-winning field goal. That’s Minnesota’s fifth loss on the season, with each of their losses coming within a seven-point deficit, and four of those within four points.

The Vikings got out to a hot start on Sunday capitalizing on Baltimore’s turnovers and scoring quickly. They held a 24-10 lead over the Ravens early in the third quarter after Kene Nwangwu returned the opening kickoff in the second half for a 98-yard touchdown. From there, they found themselves suddenly playing from behind after the Ravens scored three touchdowns on three straight possessions—thanks in part to an 18 play, 82-yard drive that nearly took up an entire quarter’s worth of time to tie the game.

Minnesota responded nicely after giving up 21 unanswered on a 1-yard connection between Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen, but ultimately the Ravens had too much firepower for them and were able to sustain a long, time-consuming drive that allowed them to win on the leg of Justin Tucker in overtime.

Next game: @ Chargers (5-3)

Packers lose to the Chiefs without Rodgers, 13-7

In a normal year, you would expect this to be a much larger deficit considering the Packers were without their star quarterback and the Chiefs were at home with Patrick Mahomes as their quarterback, but something is clearly wrong with the Chiefs quarterback.

The Chiefs were never truly in any danger of losing this game, but they have the rest of the year to worry about in case Mahomes never returns to his old form. The Packers’ defense did a fantastic job of holding him to just 4.5 yards per attempt and completely shut down the Chiefs’ offense to zero points in the second half.

Unfortunately, Jordan Love and the rest of the Packers offense did not perform well enough in the absence of Aaron Rodgers, which will do wonders for his leverage over the organization. Love finished the game 19-of-34 with 190 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception with their only score coming on a 20-yard touchdown reception to Allen Lazard.

Mason Crosby also had a rough game, missing a 40-yard field goal and getting his second attempt blocked. Had those gone in, this obviously would have been a much different game, but the streaky kicker gave the Packers no chance in this one.

Next game: vs. Seahawks (3-5)

Bears nearly pull off miraculous comeback, fall short to the Steelers, 29-27

To give credit where credit is due, the Bears fought hard on Monday night after getting out to a horrendous start. Justin Fields threw for just 63 yards in the first half, including an interception that gave the Steelers a shortened field and a touchdown. The Bears continued to struggle throughout the third quarter, trailing 20-6 with 15 minutes remaining. But a late-game surge gave the Bears hope as they would go on to score 21 points in the final quarter and hold a lead for a short period of time.

Controversy struck late in the fourth quarter when the Bears were trailing 23-20 and were ready to get the ball back. The Steelers were facing a third-and-8 situation, and Bears defender Cassius Marsh sacked Ben Roethlisberger to make it fourth down. However, with the officials putting an emphasis on calling more taunting fouls this year, the Bears were penalized for a ticky tack call when Marsh celebrated near the Steelers sideline, which ultimately ended in the Steelers adding another three points.

The Bears still managed to take the lead shortly after, as Justin Fields connected with Darrell Mooney for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Bears their first lead of the game (27-26). They would go on to give up a 40-yard field goal minutes later and missed their own 65-yard attempt in the final seconds to squander their comeback attempt, but that taunting call surely changed the game big time.

NFC North Standings after Week 9

1. Green Bay Packers (7-2)
2. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
3. Chicago Bears (3-6)
4. Detroit Lions (0-8)

Another week in the books and the rest of the division is swept for the second time this season. The NFC North is looking like one of the weakest divisions in football with the Packers looking like the only team that has a chance to make any noise this year. The battle for second place still remains neck-and-neck between the Vikings and Bears, while the Lions are still in prime position to seal the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.