Morning Box Score: Bears Catch Lions with 37-13 Win
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 14, 2011 3:45PM
Sunday's rematch against NFC North rival Detroit was a big game for the Bears. A win would even the teams in the standings and keep the Bears in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Bears not only left the field with a victory, they dominated the Lions to the tune of 37-13.
From the onset, all phases of the Bears team helped put points on the board. On the game's first possession, Julius Peppers forced a fumble that Brian Urlacher recovered. The Bears turned that takeaway into seven points when Matt Forte punched into the end zone from six yards out. On the Lions' next possession, Tim Jennings forced and recovered another fumble, which resulted in a 43-yard Robbie Gould field goal and 10-0 lead less than halfway through the first quarter. Another Gould kick, this time from 35 yards out, expanded the Bears' lead to 13 points early in the second quarter.
Following a three-and-out possession, the Lions punted to Devin Hester, who was questionable to play because of a sprained ankle. Hester showed no ill effects from the ankle as he weaved his way 82-yards on a punt return to score and give the Bears a 20-0 lead less than a minute into the second quarter. A pair of Lions field goals by Jason Hanson narrowed the lead to 20-6 at halftime.
In the second half, the defense once again set the tone. Major Wright picked off Matt Stafford and returned the ball 24 yards for a touchdown. On Detroit's very next possession, Charles Tillman added another pick-six by returning an interception 44 yards to give the Bears a 34-6 lead less than two minutes into the second half. Gould booted a 50-yard field goal to cap the Bears' next drive with three more points and effectively ice the game for the Bears.
The Bears' defense was the clear star on Sunday, causing six turnovers by a Lions team that has committed only five all season heading into the game. They picked off Stafford four times (doubling his interception total). Said Brian Urlacher, "That is as dominant as I’ve been around that I have seen. They had yards late in the game. We had takeaways when we needed to, and scored with them."
Between the defense and Hester's punt returns, the Bears offense didn't need to have a big day for the team to score a lot of points. Jay Cutler threw for just 123 yards on 9 of 19 passing, and Forte added just 64 yards on the ground. But that was enough offense for the Bears this Sunday.
With the game out of reach for the Lions early in the second half, the upstart Lions played chippy late in the game. A late hit on Cutler by Nick Fairley fired up the Bears, and Lance Briggs was flagged for unnecessary roughness after a brutal hit on Charles Johnson. A huge melee broke out after Stafford yanked D.J. Moore down during Jennings' interception return. Moore retaliated by pouncing on Stafford. Moore was ejected from the game. A number of Lions and Bears can expect to rack up fines this week from their behavior on the field. Hopefully, no suspensions come from it.
With Sunday's win, the Bears and Lions are now both 6-3. Were the playoff to begin today, both wild cards would come from the North. The Lions hold the tie breaker on account of having a better division record (2-1 vs. 2-2), but the Lions have the more difficult schedule remaining, with a pair of games against the Green Bay Packers and a trip to the Superdome to play the Saints. The Bears spend the next four weeks playing their way through AFC West and only a late-season rematch against the Packers looks like a tough game down the stretch.