Bears Beat Lions 13-7 on Monday Night Football
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 23, 2012 3:00PM
The Bears offense didn't bring its "A"-game on Monday Night Football, but the defense shut down the Detroit Lions in front of a national primetime audience en route to a 13-7 victory.
The Bears offense drove the length of the field on their first possession to score, with Matt Forte's 39 yard run setting up a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jay Cutler to receiver Brandon Marshall. That would turn out to be the Bears only touchdown of the night. A field goal late in the first quarter gave the Bears a 10-0 lead.
The game's scariest moment came late in the scoreless second quarter when the Lions' Ndamukong Suh grabbed a scrambling Cutler by the arm and slammed him to the ground in a brutal, but legal, hit. The stadium's crowd grew silent as the Cutler lay on the ground and brought comparisons to last year, when Cutler lost his season to injury. Backup quarterback Jason Campbell replaced Cutler for the mandatory one play, but Cutler proved his toughness, showing the Bears medical staff he could throw before running back on to the field. Cutler headed back to the locker room before the end of the half for x-rays, and he did return for the second half—even if clearly in pain and not himself on the field.
In the second half, the Bears managed just one field goal on their opening possession to expand their lead to 13-0, but the defense rose to the occasiony. Lions receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson looked very human Monday night, as the Bears held Johnson to just 34 yards on three catches, with his first reception coming late in the third quarter. The Bears defense repeatedly stopped the Lions whenever they appeared to threaten, in the ultimate expression of their "bend but don't break" philosophy.
With the Lions inside the "red zone" at the Bears' 18-yard line on the possession following Cutler's injury, Lance Briggs forced a fumble recovered by Julius Peppers to kill the scoring threat. The Lions drove all the way down to the Bears 1-yard line early in the third quarter before Henry Melton forced a fumble recovered by Brian Urlacher to again take points away from Detroit. And with the Lions still just two scores down in the fourth quarter and threatening, D.J. Moore picked off Matt Stafford when the Lions were again inside the 5-yard line. The Lions only score came with just 30 seconds left on the clock, to make the final score 13-7.
The Lions out-gained the Bears 340 yards to 296, but it didn't matter as the Bears shut down Johnson and held the line when it counted. Cutler completed 16 of 31 passes for just 150 yards, playing half the game in obvious pain. Brandon Marshall caught six of those completions for 81 yards. Matt Forte gained 96 yards on 22 carries, while Michael Bush added 36 more on 6 attempts.
The Bears improved to 5-1 on the season and remain atop the NFC North, but now have a short week to prepare and lick their wounds. Fortunately for the Bears, the 1-5 Carolina Panthers are up next. Lovie Smith might want to consider starting Jason Campbell as a precaution even if Cutler is cleared to play. It's important to get the Bears QB healthy, as the schedule gets much tougher in the second half.