After last week’s big win over the Eagles, confidence was high in Bear Nation. So much so that a lot of folks – including this guy – thought they could name the score vs. the Lions.
After getting smacked in the mouth in the first half, the Bears got a 4th quarter touchdown to escape with a victory over a feisty, young Detroit squad, 24-20.
Despite pressure from Detroit DE Cliff Avril and the Lions D-line, Jay Cutler continued his strong play, finishing 21-26 for 234 and a TD and a 117 QB rating. On the other side of the ball, the Bears defense gave up big plays early, including a 2-play, 91-yard drive at the end of the first half.
But Brian Urlacher, who finished with 17 tackles, and crew made enough stops late to secure the win, and first place, for another week.
The Lions jumped on the Bears early. A 7-play, 38-yard drive on their second possession was capped by a 3-yard Drew Stanton TD run. The Bears responded with a long 13-play TD drive that chewed up 6.5 minutes and ended with a 1-yard Chester Taylor TD.
The Lions added a 50-yard field goal. The Bears again drove down the field in 8 plays, chewing up 83 yards, the last 14 of which came on a nice Matt Forte TD run to the left side of the field.
Two big series – one at the end of the half and one at the beginning of the second – summed up the Bears day.
Trailing 14-10 with under a minute in the first half, the Lions needed just 19 seconds and two plays to go 91 yards for the go-ahead TD. Rookie Javhid Best looked to be a bottled-up in the middle of the line, but kicked it outside for a 45-yard gain. On the next play, 3rd string QB Drew Stanton threw a 46-yard TD pass to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.
Then on their first series of the 2nd half, Cutler was sacked by Avril – one of 3 on the day for Avril – and fumbled, setting the Lions up inside the Bears 10. But the Bears defense held on three plays, and the Lions only managed a field goal, pushing their lead to 6.
Robbie Gould kicked a career-long 54-yard field to trim the lead to 20-17. Earl Bennett played a big role in keeping the Bears in the game all day long. Jay Cutler’s college teammate had a career best 7 catches for 104 yards, including a big catch on the Bears game-winning drive.
After the Bears drove deep into Detroit territory, Lions beast-of-a-man Ndamukong Suh was flagged for a personal foul when he pushed Cutler down from behind when Jay scrambled for positive yards. The penalty gave the Bears a 1st and goal, which was capped with a 7-yard TD pass to high-priced free agent TE Brandon Manumaleuna.
A long return on the ensuring kick set the Lions up in Bears territory. After they moved to the Bears 34-yard line, DJ Moore helped corral Stanton for a 9-yard loss. A 3rd-and-19 play fell short and the Lions punted to the Bears with just over 5 minutes left. Detroit wouldn’t see the ball again.
Some of you will no doubt obsess about this too-close-for-comfort win over a struggling, now 2-10 Detroit team. But coming out of this ‘trap game’ with a W is huge considering it was sandwiched between games with Super Bowl contenders in Philly and New England.
Bear Nation should be happy to be standing 9-3 and in control of our own playoff destiny.