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(Sunday, November 13th)
Final Score: Chicago 37, Detroit 13
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Chicago got two interception returns for touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown from Devin Hester as Chicago dominated Detroit, 37-13, in a feisty NFC North battle from Soldier Field.
Thanks to the play of the defense, which had four interceptions and two fumble recoveries, and the special teams, not much was needed from Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.
Cutler passed for just 123 yards on 9-of-19 attempts while Forte finished with 64 yards and a score on 18 carries for the Bears (6-3), who have won four straight to get back into the playoff picture in the NFC.
"Our guys have gotten better and better each week. We've seen progress in all areas," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said about his team's recent success.
Matthew Stafford had one of the roughest games of his career as he was picked off four times. He did pass for 329 yards on 33-of-63 passing with a late touchdown to Tony Scheffler.
Detroit (6-3) was coming off a bye, but lost for the third time in four games after winning the first five games of the season.
These two teams sit behind Green Bay for first place in the NFC North as the 8-0 Packers play Minnesota on Monday night.
The Bears dominated play for much of the first half and held a 20-6 lead at the break.
They blew the game wide open with a pair of defensive plays in the third.
After a three-and-out from Chicago to start the quarter, Detroit got the ball back at its own 20. On the second play, Major Wright picked off a pass and raced down the right sideline on a 24-yard score.
The woes continued for the Lions on their next touch, as Stafford was again picked off and this time it was Charles Tillman returning it 44 yards for a score and it was 34-6 3 1/2 minutes into the third.
A Robbie Gould 50-yard field goal later in the third gave Chicago a 37-6 lead.
While the outcome of the game was not in doubt after that, there was still action on the field.
A roughing the passer call on Detroit's Nick Fairley for driving Cutler into the ground was countered by an unnecessary roughness call on Lance Briggs for hitting Calvin Johnson high on a catch.
Later in the drive, Stafford was picked off for the third time in the game by Tim Jennings. The ball was brought back though, as Detroit challenged the call and it was ruled that Jennings was down at the Chicago 16.
However, during Jennings' return, Stafford and D.J. Moore got tangled up and Stafford threw Moore to the ground by pushing on the back of Moore's helmet. That prompted Moore to come back at Stafford and that, in turn, sparked a rumble on the field between players on both sides.
After everyone was separated, Moore was thrown out of the game.
Stafford was later intercepted for the fourth time, but finally got into the end zone late in the game on a 10-yard scoring toss to Scheffler that accounted for the final score.
Nothing went right for the Lions on Sunday, and that was evident from their first drive as Johnson fumbled a catch and Chicago recovered at the Detroit 30.
Four plays later, Forte ran the ball in off the left guard from six yards out for a 7-0 lead.
Detroit followed with another fumble, this time from Nate Burleson after a catch and Chicago got the ball back at its 38, leading to a 43-yard field goal from Gould and a 10-0 advantage with under five minutes to play in the first quarter.
A Gould 35-yard field goal early in the second gave Chicago a 13-0 lead and Chicago then held Detroit to a three-and-out.
The punt went down to the Chicago 18, where Hester fielded it, slipped out to the left sideline and scampered into the end zone on an 82-yard punt return for a 20-0 lead.
"I think the tale of this game is turnovers and returns for touchdowns," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "This game turned out the way it did was because of the turnovers."
Detroit had to punt again on its next possession, but caught a break when Cutler fumbled the ball and Detroit recovered it at the Chicago 19. However, the defense held and a 29-yard field goal from Jason Hanson got Detroit on the board.
Later in the second quarter, the Lions put together a 14-play drive that covered just 48 yards, but it was good enough to get into field goal position and Hanson booted a 35-yarder to make it a 20-6 game.
Chicago got into field goal position on its last drive of the half, but Gould missed the 43-yard attempt to the right.
The Lions host the Carolina Panthers next Sunday...Chicago hosts San Diego next Sunday...Despite the score, the Lions outgained the Bears, 393-216...Johnson finished the game with seven catches for 81 yards and Burleson had eight catches for 83 yards...These teams split the season series as the Lions took a 24-13 win over the Bears in Detroit on October 10. However, the Bears have won seven of the last eight meetings...Earl Bennett had six catches for 81 yards to lead the Bears.
11/13 21:07:50 ET