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Sunday Insider: Northern Intelligence

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • September 29, 2012 - 11:54 PM

The Bears are averaging an NFL-worst 3.32 yards on first down. The league average is 5.22 yards. Carolina is No. 1 at 8.39. The Vikings rank 13th at 5.35. Detroit (5.66) leads the NFC North, while Green Bay is a surprising third in the division and 29th in the league. Asked about it in Chicago, offensive coordinator Mike Tice, said, "We're bad on first down." Well put, Coach.

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From the it's-always-something file: Lions receiver Calvin Johnson leads the NFL in receiving yards with 369 yards on 24 catches. But it's been noted this week in Detroit, where the Lions are 1-2, that Johnson has had only eight catches for 118 yards in the first halves of games. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said it's the product of the Lions trying to establish a running game, something they've rarely tried in recent seasons.

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Talking about replacement officials had one positive element in Green Bay this week: It helped Cheeseheads forget for a moment a 25th-ranked offense that was shut out in the first half for the second time in its past seven games. For the game, Green Bay mustered 12 points against Seattle while falling to 26th in scoring. "Everyone wants to talk about the last play, but 12 points?" receiver James Jones told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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