The Bears and Packers exposed the biggest problem with the NFL’s replay system, and it has nothing to do with Lovie Smith never knowing which plays to challenge. No, the problem is replay relies on TV.

The Bears and Packers exposed the biggest problem with the NFL’s replay system, and it has nothing to do with Lovie Smith never knowing which plays to challenge. No, the problem is replay relies on TV.

Even Lovie Smith would have challenged Jay Cutler’s fumble if TV had shown Cutler stretching the ball over the goal line before it came loose. Likewise, Minnesota coach Brad Childress would have challenged a 9-yard touchdown catch by Green Bay’s Andrew Quarless if he had seen a review of the ball squirting out. Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter Judd Zulgad wrote on his blog: “The folks that control the replay on the Lambeau Field scoreboard were not going to show Childress a good angle” before Green Bay kicked the extra point and made a protest too late. He says that’s “the way life works in the NFL.”

That’s so wrong. The NFL should ensure coaches get a quick look at all pertinent replays before making a challenge or make it so that no one gets to look at a replay before making an appeal. Either would work. But letting some coaches see and leaving others to guess is more unfair than letting an original bad call stand.

Worst defense key to winning?

Two weeks ago, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King had Donovan McNabb as his No. 2 MVP choice despite a No. 21 passer rating. Now he lists Washington safety LaRon Landry as his No. 5 choice. “Redskins are winning with D, and he’s their best man,” King wrote. That’s even more ludicrous than writing the Redskins are winning with McNabb. Washington is dead last in the NFL in defense, the Redskins (4-3) aren’t winning that much, and when they did win with defense Sunday, it was because of DeAngelo Hall’s four interceptions, not Landry.

A gimpy Favre is not an asset

An MRI Monday showed Brett Favre has two minor fractures in his left ankle. Vikings coach Brad Childress said Favre can play on it. The question is, can he play well on it? A gimpy Favre is the main culprit for three of Minnesota’s four losses, throwing three interceptions against the Dolphins and Packers and completing only 14 of 34 passes against the Jets. The Vikings should keep him on a short leash. Injured starters aren’t always improvements over backups, and getting them more injured just makes everything worse.

Favre more careful than Cutler

Favre said Charles Woodson is the one Packer who makes him think about where he throws. Jay Cutler said he’ll never shy away from DeAngelo Hall even after Hall intercepted him four times Sunday. “I’d still go after him every time if we could,” Cutler said. When the most notoriously reckless QB in NFL history says he’d think twice, what does that say about the Bears?

Chargers NFL’s dumbest team

The Chargers are No. 1 in the NFL in offense and No. 1 on defense, yet are 2-5. Two plays Sunday show how. Richard Goodman caught a 25-yard pass, fell down, then got up and left the ball as he walked away without being touched. Patriots jump on it for a fumble recovery. Then Philip Rivers throws backward and over the head of Jacob Hester. Hester quits, even though it’s a lateral. Patriots recover another fumble.

Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.