Bears

Bears moving on without Jeremiah Ratliff, but it’s not easy

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Bears moving on without Jeremiah Ratliff, but it’s not easy

The release of Jeremiah Ratliff left a void in the defense of the Bears. It also left a void in meeting rooms, the defensive huddles, everywhere that Ratliff was a presence both on and off the field.

“He was definitely a leader in this locker room,” said defensive lineman Will Sutton. “When ‘Rat’ talks, everybody’s wide-eyed, paying attention to what he has to say, because he’s done it. It hurts a little bit, him not being there, but we have [Pernell] McPhee and Antrel [Rolle] still giving guidance.

“It just hurts us on the D-line not having that main guy we can look up to.”

For several Bears, it was particularly personal.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

“That’s like my brother,” said linebacker Willie Young. “I learned so much from him – the mindset he brings to the game the energy and the enthusiasm that he plays with, you can’t replace that. Obviously he will be missed… .

“He taught me a lot for the two years we were together. I would like to have him back any day. I’m sure any team in the league would like to have that guy back — from a player standpoint, he’s even capable of being a freaking coach. His football IQ is just that high.”

[MORE: Bears need new defensive line core to form around young players]

Ratliff was signed in November of the 2013 season after an acrimonious end to his time with the Dallas Cowboys. After a promising five-game run with the Bears to close out that season, Ratliff was signed to a two-year extension in March 2014 and produced 6.5 sacks last season in 11 games, all starts.

All that came to a cataclysmic end last week when he was involved in a volatile series of confrontations with members of the organization after being adjudged in no condition to be at work. Last Thursday he was released.

“Yeah, I’m disappointed,” said coordinator Vic Fangio. “Any time you lose a good player you’re disappointed. Disappointed for him and disappointed for us.”

Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night

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USA TODAY

Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night

The Green Bay Packers managed to pull off a dramatic comeback victory on Monday night, defeating the Detroit Lions 23-22 on a last-second field goal from Mason Crosby. But after the game, it wasn't Aaron Rodgers usual clutch ways that people were talking about, it was the officiating crew, who had two controversial hands to the face penalty calls against the Lions that all but killed any momentum they had going. 

As you can see in the clip above, both hands to the face calls seemed questionable at best, and downright ludicrous at worst. What makes the calls so tough is the timing. The first hands to the face penalty on Lions DE Trey Flowers came after he sacked Rodgers on third-and-10 and the penalty both took away the sack and provided the Pack with an automatic first down. Later in the drive, Rodgers dropped in a great 35-yard touchdown pass to bring Green Bay within two points 

The second questionable hands to the face call came on third-and-4 and it was the most costly call of the game. The Packers received another automatic first down and ran down the clock—Detroit was out of timeouts—to set up the eventual game-winning, walk-off field goal from Crosby. 

And it didn't take long for many people, everyone from former NFL greats to NFL reporters, to chime in on social media with their thoughts on the officiating that seemingly cost Detroit a crucial win. 

With the Green Bay win, the Lions moved to last-place in the NFC North, while the Bears now sit 2.5 games back of first place heading into their Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers pulled off another incredible (or maybe controversial) victory over the Detroit Lions in Monday night's NFC North slugfest, 23-22, to advance to 5-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

It was the worst possible outcome for the Chicago Bears, who could've used a little help from the Lions to keep pace with Green Bay entering Week 7.

Instead, the Bears (3-2) are now 2.5 games behind the Packers ahead of their showdown with the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Soldier Field.

It could be worse for Chicago. Detroit's loss drops their record to 2-2-1 on the season and moves them into the division's cellar. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings had arguably their strongest showing of the season in their 38-20 victory over the Eagles and improved to 4-2 on the year. Their four wins slot them ahead of the Bears for second place in the North even though Chicago currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Here are the NFC North standings heading into Week 7:

1) Packers (5-1)
2) Vikings (4-2)
3) Bears (3-2)
4) Lions (2-2-1)