National Football League
PRESEASON
12345
REGULAR SEASON
12345
678910
1112131415
1617   
PLAYOFFS
123PBSB
 
                === Cutler returns, leads Bears past Browns ===
 
 Cleveland,  OH  (SportsNetwork.com) -  Jay Cutler  had three touchdown passes,
 including  two in  the fourth quarter, to  lead the Chicago Bears to a crucial
 38-31 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
 
 Cutler returned under center after missing the previous four games with a high
 left ankle sprain, with Josh McCown filling in admirably during his absence.
 
 Chicago  (8-6) went  2-2 without Cutler to  stay in the thick of the NFC North
 race,  with Sunday's  win giving the team a half-game lead over Detroit, which
 hosts Baltimore on Monday night.
 
 Should  Detroit win, though, the Bears will find themselves in second place in
 the division due to a pair of losses to the Lions this season.
 
 Cutler finished the game 22-for-31 for 265 yards with a pair of interceptions,
 while Matt Forte had 24 carries for 127 yards for Chicago, which has won three
 of the last four meetings with Cleveland.
 
 Brandon  Marshall,  Alshon Jeffery  and  Earl  Bennett  each caught  a  Cutler
 touchdown pass, with Michael Bush adding a score on the ground and Zack Bowman
 taking an interception into the end zone.
 
 "I  thought  our team  showed tremendous resiliency  today," said Chicago head
 coach  Marc Trestman.  "There was  a lot  of adversity  today and  they fought
 through it without losing their poise or their energy."
 
 Cleveland  (4-10)  continued its  free-fall,  as  the  team has  dropped  five
 straight and eight of nine to sit dead last in the AFC North.
 
 Jason  Campbell  had a  tough day  under center, getting  picked off twice and
 going  just 23-for-39 for 273 yards with a late touchdown pass. Tashaun Gipson
 had  two interceptions  and returned one for a touchdown for the Browns, while
 T.J. Ward returned a fumble for a touchdown in the loss.
 
 "This  was  a disappointing  and frustrating loss  here today," said Cleveland
 head  coach Rob Chudzinski. "Disappointed we weren't able to win the last game
 at home here for the fans who have been loyal to us throughout this season. We
 turned  the ball  over too much, despite getting two turnovers for scores. The
 guys  fought all game, but we weren't able to make the plays we needed to down
 the stretch."
 
 Chicago entered the fourth quarter down 24-21 and got the ball back at its own
 5  with  13 1/2 minutes left.  The first snap  saw a pass interference call on
 Cleveland  move the  ball 30  yards,  and that  was followed  with an  illegal
 contact penalty for another five yards and a first down.
 
 Facing  a 3rd-and-11  at the Cleveland 45  later in the drive, Cutler lofted a
 bomb  down  the right sideline  into double  coverage, but Gipson mistimed his
 leap and the ball went into the hands of Jeffery to tie the game with 10:59 to
 play.
 
 "I  thought  it was just going  to be floating  20 yards down the field," said
 Cutler. "That was Alshon doing what Alshon does best."
 
 After  a  three-and-out from  the Browns, the  Bears got the  ball back at the
 Cleveland 36 after a 21-yard return from Devin Hester. The team took advantage
 of  the  short field to take  the lead, as Cutler  hit Bennett in the end zone
 from  four yards  out to cap the  six-play drive and give Chicago a 31-24 edge
 with 5:41 to play.
 
 The  Cleveland offense  continued to struggle and Chicago got the ball back at
 its  own  22. After a 24-yard  run by Forte  on 3rd-and-9, Bush took a handoff
 around  the  right guard and  ran into the  end zone on  a 40-yard score for a
 38-24 lead with 2:17 left.
 
 Campbell  and Josh Gordon  got together on a 43-yard score to make it a seven-
 point  game with 59 seconds left, but the Bears recovered the onsides kick and
 Cutler took a pair of knees to seal the win.
 
 Chicago  started the  game with  the  ball and  went on  an impressive  drive,
 highlighted  by a  23-yard catch from Martellus Bennett that was followed by a
 16-yard  grab from Marshall  to the Cleveland 14. The next play, though, saw a
 Cutler  pass into  the end  zone tipped  by Ward  into the  hands of  teammate
 Gipson, who took the ball back to the Cleveland 27.
 
 A  44-yard screen  catch by Greg Little  got the Browns into the red zone, but
 the  drive  stalled and  the team  settled for  a 35-yard  field goal by Billy
 Cundiff for a 3-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first quarter.
 
 The  Bears answered with  a very long drive of their own, running 15 plays and
 getting  down  to the Cleveland five.  The possession lasted 9 1/2 minutes and
 resulted  in a a  23-yard field goal from Robbie Gould that tied the game just
 over two minutes into the second quarter.
 
 Campbell then floated a pass down the left sideline that was easily picked off
 by  Bowman, but the Bears were held to a three-and-out before getting the ball
 back at their own 19 after an equally short trek from the Browns.
 
 However,  Cutler snapped a high pass to his left that Marshall tried to make a
 leaping  grab on but  tipped the ball right into the hands of Gipson, who took
 the ball 44 yards into the end zone to give the Browns a 10-3 lead.
 
 Chicago  got  a 40-yard return  from Hester on the  kickoff, and a 15-yard run
 from  Forte  got the ball to  the Cleveland 33.  Facing a 4th-and-1 at the 24,
 Chicago lined up to go for it, but a false start penalty on Jeffery pushed the
 ball back five yards.
 
 The Bears then went to Gould for a 46-yard field goal attempt, which he booted
 true  through the uprights, but a holding call on Corey Wootton moved the ball
 back another 10 yards and the team had to punt.
 
 Chicago,  though,  got the ball  back at its  own 34 with  1:29 to play in the
 half,  and a  41-yard catch by Marshall  got the ball to the Cleveland 13. Two
 plays  later, Cutler found Marshall in the right side of the end zone for a 5-
 yard score that tied the game at 10-10 with 24 seconds left in the half.
 
 Cleveland  started the  second half with the  ball, but Bowman stepped up on a
 Campbell  pass for  a clean pick, then took  it 43 yards the other way to give
 the Bears a 17-10 lead.
 
 The Browns came back with an impressive drive, with Campbell converting a 3rd-
 and-8  with a 17-yard run. Running out of the Wildcat formation, MarQueis Gray
 took  a pair of direct snaps for 18 and 12 yards, respectively, to the Chicago
 2.  The next snap  saw Edwin Baker, playing his first NFL game, take a handoff
 to  the  left and bull  his way in  to tie  the game with  8:20 to play in the
 third.
 
 Cleveland then regained the lead on another Chicago miscue, as Bennett had the
 ball  punched out  of his hands by  Billy Winn, with Ward scooping up the ball
 and taking it in from 51 yards out for a 24-17 advantage with 3:40 left in the
 quarter.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 It  was the  first time that players from separate teams had two interceptions
 with  one returned  for a  touchdown  in the  same game  since Pittsburgh  and
 Philadelphia accomplished the feat on Dec. 12, 1965 ... Gordon has a touchdown
 in  five straight  games, tying  the  team record  held by  Paul Warfield.  He
 finished  the  game with  three catches  for 67 yards  ... Chicago totaled 179
 rushing  yards on  31 carries,  with Cleveland  gaining 93  on 17  carries ...
 Chicago  controlled the  ball  for  nearly 35  minutes  ...  Chicago plays  in
 Philadelphia  next  Sunday night  ... Cleveland,  which went  3-5 at home this
 season, hits the road for its final two games against the Jets next Sunday and
 closing the season in Pittsburgh the following Sunday.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 12/15 20:04:23 ET