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(Sunday, October 4th)
Final Score: Chicago 48, Detroit 24
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score as the Chicago Bears downed the Detroit Lions, 48-24, at Soldier Field.
Cutler went 18-for-28 with 141 yards while Matt Forte had 12 carries for 121 yards and a score for the Bears (3-1), who have won three straight after dropping the season opener against Green Bay.
"We're getting there," said Cutler. "We're heading in the right direction. We have a lot of guys making plays. Everyone is coming together. We're getting there and playing good ball now."
However, the game did not come without a downside for Chicago as its special teams squad took several injuries. Devin Hester (shoulder), Adrian Peterson (knee) and Johnny Knox all left the game with injuries for Chicago.
"To get to 3-1 takes a lot, especially after starting out with a loss," said Chicago coach Lovie Smith. "Guys did a super job. We know how to finish a game, but need to start stronger and faster. I am proud of how the guys finish."
Matthew Stafford went 24-for-36 with 296 yards, one touchdown and one interception while Kevin Smith had two scores for the Lions (1-3), who snapped their 19-game losing streak last week at home against Washington.
Stafford left the game in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury as he twisted it during a play.
"I just tried to break out of a tackle and just slipped on the ground a little bit," said Stafford. "My right foot did. It was planted, and then it kind of slid out, I was just trying to get out of a sack situation. I'm fine."
Calvin Johnson had eight catches for 133 yards while Will Heller caught a touchdown pass for Detroit, which has lost 14 straight games on the road. Its last road win came on October 28, 2007, a 16-7 win at Chicago.
"Everybody needs to evaluate this game hard," said Smith. "Obviously we did some good things. I'm just talking offensively. We did some good enough things to be able to stick in there. Even thought the run game wasn't as potent. Obviously we exposed what was working. But Chicago did a good job. They played us harder. They won. They were better than us today."
With the score tied, Knox took the second half's opening kickoff into the end zone on a 102-yard score to give the Bears a 28-21 lead.
"It was a designed play set up for a counter," said Knox. "I got some good blocks from my teammates, I saw a big hole and I hit it. It was a counter, so sell it one way and then bounce it the other. It felt real good cause we've been trying to get to the end zone with special teams since the preseason. Coach told us this was going to be a big return for us."
The Bears held Detroit to a three-and-out on the next touch, and got a 20- yard punt return from Earl Bennett that helped set up a career-long 52-yard field goal from Robbie Gould for a 31-21 lead with 10:18 to play in the third.
After an exchange of punts, Stafford fumbled the ball deep in his own territory and Chicago recovered. The Detroit defense held firm and limited Chicago to just 18 yards. A 22-yard boot between the uprights by Gould made it a 34-21 game with 2:33 to play in the third.
Detroit put together a 14-play drive in the fourth that covered 64 yards, but it stalled at the Chicago 17 and the team had to settle for a 35-yard field goal from Jason Hanson to make it a 34-24 game with 8:15 to play.
Chicago, though, answered quickly as Forte's 37-yard touchdown run with 6:46 to play made it a 41-24 game.
Garrett Wolfe's first career touchdown, a two-yard scamper into the end zone with 1:57 to play, capped the scoring in the game.
Detroit started the game with the ball and on the first play Stafford and Johnson hooked up down the left sideline on a 45-yard play. The drive stalled and the team lined up for a 40-yard field goal, but Chicago was called offsides and the Lions got a fresh set of downs. A personal foul call on the Bears gave Detroit another first down and Smith later pushed the ball into the end zone from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.
Chicago, though, needed just five plays to tie the game. On the score, Cutler was pressured from the right side, rolled out to the left and leaped into the end zone as he was hit on a five-yard score with 8:51 to play in the first. The big play of the drive was on the second snap as Forte took the ball up the middle for a 61-yard gain to set up a 1st-and-goal.
The Lions came back with another drive to put more points on the board. Facing a 1st-and-25 after a facemask call on Smith, Maurice Morris ran up the middle for 13 yards and Stafford connected with Aaron Brown on a 14-yard pass to move the chains. On 3rd-and-10 at the Chicago 14, Stafford dropped back and drilled the ball into the hands of Heller in the end zone for a 14-7 lead with 5:03 left in the first.
After an exchange of punts, the Bears started a drive with the ball at the Detroit 35 thanks to a poor punt and a 24-yard punt return from Hester. On the last play of the first quarter, Cutler hit Bennett for 25 yards to set up 1st- and-goal. Two plays later, Cutler used the play fake and hit Kellen Davis in the end zone from two yards out to tie the game less than a minute into the second quarter.
Stafford was then picked off deep in his own territory to give the Bears excellent field position. The Detroit defense held, but a penalty call on the field goal attempt gave Chicago a 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line and Cutler slung a pass to Greg Olsen in the end zone for a 21-14 lead with 10:54 to play in the second.
"It's a big play," said Cutler. "Fourth-and-two down in the red-zone is tough. They're going to stack the box, close down all the gaps and make it hard to get that extra yard. When it is fourth-and-one or inches you have a lot of one-on-ones on the outside and play-action is tough to defend."
Detroit and Chicago exchanged punts with Brad Maynard pinning Detroit at its own two-yard line. Facing a 3rd-and-7 at the five-yard line, Stafford hit Johnson down the left sideline for 29 yards. After another first down, Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew got together on a screen play that covered 28 yards down to the Chicago 15. Four plays later, Smith slugged his way into the end zone from three yards out to tie the game heading into the locker room.
Lovie Smith has lost 31 of the 37 replay challenges he has attempted in his career...Gould's previous career-long was 49 yards...Detroit hosts Pittsburgh next Sunday...Chicago has its bye week and will next play on the road in Atlanta on October 18...The Bears have won the last three games against Detroit...Forte's 61-yard run was the longest of his career...Cutler finished the game with a 100.4 passer rating. He became the first Chicago quarterback to have a 100-plus passer rating in three straight games since 1970...Knox's kickoff return for a touchdown was the second-longest in team history, one yard behind Gale Sayers' 103-yard score on September 17, 1967 versus Pittsburgh.
10/04 18:54:00 ET