8:30 PM ET, October 22, 2012
Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
CHICAGO -- There was a big gasp going through the stadium as Jay Cutler writhed in pain on the field. He got up and the defense provided a big lift.
It was certainly not an easy night for the NFC North leaders, particularly their quarterback, but they came away with the win after a week off and possibly buried Detroit (2-4) in the process despite getting a major scare along the way.
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That happened in the second quarter when Cutler was sacked by Ndamukong Suh and ultimately wound up going to the locker room to have his ribs examined.
"He's a tough guy," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Most people thought Jay would get up. Unless it's a broken leg or something like that, he's going to get up. He is a tough guy. ... That was a gutsy effort by him. He was in some pain, but he fought through it."
Cutler came back to start the second half and finished 16 of 31 for 150 yards and a touchdown. Although he said he was feeling "all right" afterward, he acknowledged he wasn't at full strength during the game.
"But we had to fight through it," he added.
They did just that, and with the defense locking down the Lions, the Bears (5-1) prevailed. It was a huge blow for last-place Detroit, a team many expected to contend for the division championship after making the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
The Lions simply never got in gear, and when they had chances, they blew them. The biggest came early in the third quarter, when Joique Bell fumbled at the goal line with the Bears leading 13-0.
Urlacher recovered and Chicago hung on from there, sending Detroit to its fourth loss in five games.
Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 81 yards and scored a touchdown on Chicago's first possession. Matt Forte ran for 96 yards, and with the defense doing its part again, Chicago never really was threatened in this one.
It was a rough night for the Lions, with Matthew Stafford going 28 of 46 for 261 yards after leading the late charge in last week's win over Philadelphia. Calvin Johnson had trouble shaking the Bears' Charles Tillman and finished with three catches for 34 yards. He dropped a deep pass over the middle on the game's first possession even though he was wide open.
"Calvin is one of the best players in the league," Smith said. "It's hard for Detroit to win games without him being productive. That's why you need a guy like Charles Tillman that can match up on him. It made them go look at other ways to get the ball down field. That's going to lead up to wins most of the time, when we can get that kind of effort out of Charles."
Turnovers certainly stalled the Lions' offense but the inability of Calvin Johnson to make an impact on the game contributed to Detroit's rough night.
|Other 5 Games||Monday|
There weren't many scares for the Bears, with one big exception. They were leading 10-0 in the second quarter and had just taken over at their 26 when that happened.
Cutler, who had his helmet ripped off on a hit by Suh after a run last year at Soldier Field, got driven to the turf by him on an 8-yard sack. He came up kneeling and holding his head as trainers tended to him, then ran to the sideline.
Jason Campbell came in for one play, but Cutler returned right after that and threw an incomplete pass on third down before Chicago punted. But after Julius Peppers recovered a fumble by Mikel Leshoure to stop a Lions threat, Campbell was behind center while Cutler was having his ribs examined.
"That's football," Smith said. "No one's trying to hurt anyone or anything like that. It's a tough, hard-nosed game. He's playing hard, trying to win the game."
When Cutler trotted onto the field to start the second half, some fans cheered.
They were really roaring moments later when Stefan Logan fumbled trying to catch Adam Podlesh's punt. Zack Bowman recovered it for Chicago at the 27, and that led to a 21-yard field goal by Robbie Gould to make it 13-0 after Cutler had two passes broken up with the ball on the 3.
The Lions lost Burleson after a 16-yard catch near midfield on the next possession but drove all the way to the 1 before Bell turned it over. As he lunged over the pile, Henry Melton poked the ball out and Urlacher made the recovery to keep the shutout going. D.J. Moore extended it when he picked off Stafford near the goal line in the closing minutes. The Lions finally scored when Stafford connected with Ryan Broyles on a 12-yarder with 30 seconds left.
Early on, the Bears looked like a team bent on solidifying its spot on top of the division while burying the Lions.
They struck on their first possession, with Forte getting some big blocks and breaking through a hole on the left side for a 39-yard run to the 7, and Cutler connected with Marshall on the next play to make it 7-0. Gould added to it with a 39-yard field goal late in the quarter, after a 24-yard scramble by Cutler and personal foul by Detroit's Corey Williams against Earl Bennett on the play put the ball on the 21. By then, there had already been some chippiness, with players pushing and shoving after a fair catch Logan on a punt.
It was hardly a surprise, given the way the emotions boiled over last year at Soldier Field. The Bears won that game 37-13, but the lasting image wasn't Stafford getting picked off four times. Or, Devin Hester returning a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.
It was Stafford grabbing Moore by the helmet and throwing him to the ground near the Lions sideline after Chicago's Jennings picked off a pass, setting off a confrontation between players from both sides and putting the ribbon on a heated game.
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears celebrates a first quarter touchdown catch...(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.1||4.3|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-0||0-0|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||11:18||Brandon Marshall 7 Yard Pass From Jay Cutler (Robbie Gould Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 59 yds, 2:50
|FG||1:29||Robbie Gould 39 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 5 plays, 29 yds, 2:39
|FG||11:24||Robbie Gould 21 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 7 plays, 24 yds, 2:12
|TD||0:36||Ryan Broyles 12 Yard Pass From Matthew Stafford (Jason Hanson Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 58 yds, 1:43
For the eighth time since the 1970 merger, the Bears have started 5-1 or better. The previous seven times they made the playoffs (2006, 2001, 1990, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985)
The Lions turned the ball over on three of their 12 plays in the red zone Monday, bringing their season total to a league-high five.[+]
Most Turnovers in Red Zone, This Season
The Bears tried to give Matthew Stafford different looks Monday, sending five or more pass rushers on 28.8 percent of dropbacks, their second-highest rate this season. Entering Monday's game, Stafford had faced four or fewer pass rushers on 87.9 percent of dropbacks, more than any other quarterback in the league. While the Bears differentiated their pressure Monday, it was the four-man pass rush that had the most success, with two of their three sacks and lone interception coming when sending such pressure.[+]
Bears Pass Defense Sending 4 or Fewer Rushers, This Season
Brandon Marshall caught six of the Bears' 16 completions Monday, giving him 38.7 percent of his team's receptions this season, the highest rate of any receiver in the NFL. Marshall is also the only receiver this season who has more than 40 percent of his team's receiving yards.
NEXT LEVEL: Calvin Johnson caught only three of his 11 targets for 34 yards, breaking his streak of five consecutive road games with at least 90 yards. Johnson's one drop against the Bears matched the number he had in his last 10 road games combined.[+]
Calvin Johnson, Last 6 Road Games
The Lions are the first team since the Carolina Panthers in week 1 of 2010 to have 3 red zone turnovers in a single game. 4 teams have had 2 or more red zone turnovers in a single game this season, the Lions account for 2 of those 4 games.
Matt Stafford is the only quarterback that has yet to throw a pass TD in the 1st half this season (min. 50 pass attempts). He is also tied for the most 1st half interceptions with 5.
The Lions trailed the Bears 10-0 at halftime. They have not held the lead at HALFTIME of any game this season.
This is the seventh time in Calvin Johnson's career that he didn't catch a pass in the first half (first time since Week 14 in 2010 vs Packers). Johnson has at least one catch in each of his first 81 career games.
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