NFL: Chicago Bears go top after bruising victory over Detroit Lions
Jay Cutler played through a bruising rib injury and Brian Urlacher made a key fumble recovery to help the Bears move top of the NFC North.
It was not an easy night for Chicago, particularly their quarterback, but they came away with the win after a week off and possibly buried Detroit in the process despite getting a major scare along the way.
That happened in the second quarter when Cutler was sacked by Ndamukong Suh and ultimately wound up going to the locker room to have his ribs examined.
Cutler came back to start the second half and was 16 of 31 with 150 yards and a touchdown in the game, but with the defence locking down the Lions, the Bears prevailed.
It was a huge blow for last-place Detroit, a team many expected to contend for the division championship after making the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
The Lions simply never got in gear, and when they had chances, they blew them. The biggest came early in the third quarter, when Joique Bell fumbled at the goal-line with the Bears leading 13-0.
Urlacher recovered and Chicago hung on from there, sending Detroit to its fourth loss in five games.
Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 81 yards and scored a touchdown on Chicago's first possession. Matt Forte ran for 96 yards, and with the defence doing its part again, Chicago never really was threatened in this one.
It was a rough night for the Lions, with Matthew Stafford going 28 of 46 for 261 yards after leading the late charge in last week's win over Philadelphia.
Calvin Johnson had trouble shaking the Bears' Charles Tillman and finished with three catches for 34 yards. He dropped a deep pass over the middle on the game's first possession even though he was wide open.
The Lions lost receiver Nate Burleson to a knee injury in the third quarter on a hit by Tim Jennings after a catch.
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Published: October 23, 2012 04:00 AM