Morning Box Score: Bears Slip Past Lions
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 6, 2010 4:00PM
You'd think that three-quarters of the way through the season, we'd finally have a grasp on this Bears team. But no sooner had they convinced the last of the doubters they're for real, they needed the benefit of another controversial call in order to slip past the lowly Detroit Lions 24-20 on Sunday.
Facing the Lions with third string QB Drew Stanton under center, the Bears still fell behind 7-0 when the Lions scored first on a Stanton 3-yard scramble. The Bears answered, with Chester Taylor scoring from a yard out to cap a 13-play, 76 yard drive. In the second quarter, another extended drive added seven more as Matt Forte's 14 yard run gave the Bears the lead. Detroit added a field goal, and then struck quickly in the waning minute of the half to move the ball 91 yards in just 19 seconds to take a lead into the locker room. Running back Jhavid Best broke free for a 45-yard run on the first play. One play later, Stanton found Charles Johnson on a short pass that he took 46 yards for a TD and a 17-14 lead.
In the third quarter, the Bears and Lions traded field goals. Dave Rayner connected from 25 yards after the Lions recovered a Jay Cutler fumble deep in Bears territory. Robbie Gould connected for a career long 54-yarder to cut the Lions' lead back down to three.
The Bears then benefited from another controversial call against the Lions in the fourth quarter. Cutler scrambled and was whacked in the back by Ndamukong Suh, which drew an unnecessary roughness flag and set the Bears up with first-and-goal inside the ten. While Cutler's head flung forward noticeably, the hit appeared to be on his shoulders rather than his helmet. On the next play, Cutler hit hit a wide-open Brandon Manumaleuna for a seven-yard TD and a 24-20 lead.
In spite of the fight the Lions gave the Bears, they didn't play horribly. Cutler had another solid game, completing 21 of 26 passes for 234 yards and a TD. He didn't throw an interception but he was sacked four times and lost a fumble. Cutler's favorite target for the day was Earl Bennett. Bennett caught seven passes for 104 yards. On the ground, Matt Forte and Chester Taylor combined for 114 yards of offense.
The defense was the weak link yesterday. A defensive unit that had allowed an average of 15.6 points (and shut out the last 3rd string QB they faced) allowed more than that before halftime. They also allowed 253 yards of offense, including that 91 yard TD drive, before intermission. That was enough to get even the mild mannered Lovie Smith fired up. To their credit, the defense responded. They held the Lions to less than 60 yards in the second half and made Detroit settle for a field goal following Cutler's fumble, which helped change the momentum of the game.
The Bears escaped Detroit with another W, sporting a 9-3 record. But a double digit win total and an invite to the postseason is still not guaranteed. The Bears schedule is brutal for the final quarter of the season. Next Sunday, they host Tom Brady and the 9-2 New England Patrriots (3:15pm CBS 2/WBBM 780AM), who play the 9-2 New York Jets tonight on Monday Night Football. The Bears also face those same Jets on their slate along with divisional rival Minnesota Vikings, before closing out the season Jan. 2 and against the Green Bay Packers. We can only hope the battle the Lions gave them was a wake up call that will propel them through the season's fourth quarter.