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Morning Box Score: Bears Monday Night Issues Continue

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 11, 2011 4:00PM

The Bears always seem to come up short when playing on the national stage of Monday Night Football and that luck didn't turn as the Bears were run over by the undefeated Detroit Lions in a week 5 NFC North match-up. Thanks to the Bears' poor defense and lack of protection for Jay Cutler, Detroit came from behind to knock off the Bears 24-13 and drop their Monday night record to 20-35 all-time.

For much of the night, it looked like the Bears and Lions were spectators in a referee cornhole tournament because flags were flying across the field left and right all night long. Nine false start penalties killed the Bears offensive rhythm and stalled drives throughout the night. The Bears were flagged a total of 14 times for a total of 104 yards. Not that Detroit played a cleaner game with 12 flags for 94 yards called against them.

Detroit struck first when Matt Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson for a 73-yard bomb early in the second quarter. A field goal put the Bears on the board and, on the next possession, Jay Cutler found Kellen Davis in the end zone to cap an 88-yard drive and give the Bears a 10-7 halftime lead. But the defense allowed more big plays. Lions tailback Jahvid Best took a handoff and raced 88 yards -- untouched! -- for a touchdown. Best ran for 163 yards on only 12 carries, besting Matt Forte's 22 carry, 116 yard performance. Through the air, Cutler outperformed Stafford by completing 28 of 38 for 249 yards and a TD without a turnover, but Cutler spent most of the night on his back. While only officially sacked three times, Cutler found many creative ways to get rid of the ball as he was about to get pummeled by the Lions. The offensive line was once again over matched and failed to offer their quarterback adequate protection. The defense couldn't stop the Lions' offense and committed inopportune penalties that helped Detroit tack on second half points. This was truly a team loss.

The Bears fall to 2-3 on the season, and are already three games back of both Green Bay and Detroit in the NFC North. Their two rivals are the lone undefeated teams in the entire NFL. The division is already looking out of reach and any hopes of competing for a wild card are fading, if the Bears keep playing like this. After as short week, the Bears welcome the Minnesota Vikings to Soldier Field on Sunday Night. Right now, they're the only team looking up at the Bears in the black & blue division.