National Football League
 
 
           === Bears' defense delivers in much-needed win over Cardinals ===
 
 Glendale,  AZ  (Sports Network) - In  desperate need of a victory, the Chicago
 Bears got a huge effort from their defensive unit, which made plays against an
 inept Arizona Cardinals offense to keep the team's postseason hopes alive.
 
 Zack  Bowman  recovered a fumble in  the end zone and Charles Tillman recorded
 his  third interception  return  for a  touchdown this  season,  as the  Bears
 dominated the Cardinals, 28-13, to halt a three-game skid.
 
 After  losing five of six following a 7-1 start to the season, the Bears (9-6)
 will  still need to  win next week and receive some help in order to reach the
 postseason.
 
 After a slow start, Jay Cutler finished with 146 yards passing for Chicago and
 tossed  a touchdown to Brandon Marshall, who caught six passes for 68 yards on
 the  day. Matt  Forte rushed for 88 yards  and a score on 12 carries, but left
 the contest in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.
 
 After snapping a nine-game losing streak last week with a win against Detroit,
 the Cardinals (5-10) reverted back to their losing ways.
 
 Ryan  Lindley completed  17-of-30 passes  for  141 yards  and an  interception
 before  giving way  to backup  Brian  Hoyer, who  didn't fair  much better  in
 throwing  for  105 yards  and an interception  on 11-of-19 efficiency. Arizona
 scored its only touchdown on a blocked field goal return by Justin Bethel late
 in the fourth quarter.
 
 Larry Fitzgerald recorded eight catches for 111 yards in the setback.
 
 "Anytime  you spot  a really good football team points its tough to overcome,"
 said Fitzgerald.
 
 Chicago's  defense  harassed  the  Arizona quarterbacks  all  day,  especially
 Julius  Peppers, who recorded  three sacks in a game for the ninth time in his
 career.
 
 "It's  always a  focus for us to score  and have a good game on defense," said
 Peppers.  "We've been in a drought recently, the past couple of weeks in those
 particular areas, but today we got back on track and it gave us a good boost."
 
 The Cardinals were limited to 248 total yards of offense and converted on just
 3-of-15  third down attempts. Arizona, which turned the ball over three times,
 committed its first early in the contest to give the Bears the early lead.
 
 Pinned  back near  their own goal line following a Bears' punt, the Cardinals'
 Beanie  Wells got stuffed on a carry and fumbled the football, which fell into
 Bowman's hands in the end zone to put Chicago on top 7-0.
 
 Two  possessions  later, Arizona got  on the  board. During a nine-play drive,
 Lindley  completed  his first four passes,  including two to Fitzgerald for 17
 and 18 yards, to help set up Jay Feely for a 49-yard field goal.
 
 However, Forte broke off a 36-yard run on the first play of the ensuing drive,
 which  helped  set up  the Bears'  first offensive score  of the day. Marshall
 followed with a 30-yard catch to the Arizona four before Forte walked into the
 end zone untouched to put the Bears ahead, 14-3, early in the second period.
 
 Later in the period, Arizona's Patrick Peterson returned a punt to the Chicago
 32,  but a fake  field goal attempt failed to give the Cardinals a first down.
 Feely,  though, kicked  through a 35-yarder on Arizona's next touch to cut the
 deficit  to  14-6. The score was  set up thanks  to a muffed punt by Chicago's
 D.J. Moore.
 
 Cutler  had just one completion through the Bears' first five possessions, but
 found  rhythm on Chicago's  final touch of the first half, as he completed all
 five of his throws to lead Chicago to a touchdown before halftime.
 
 He  connected with Alshon  Jeffrey for 35 yards and Earl Bennett for 16 before
 firing an 11-yard strike to Marshall in the back-right corner of the end zone,
 giving the Bears a 21-6 lead with 19 seconds to play in the second quarter.
 
 The  Bears  punted on their  first possession of  the third quarter, but again
 pinned the Cardinals deep in their own territory and capitalized.
 
 Lindley  was intercepted by  Tillman on the second play, and he ran it in from
 10 yards out to give Chicago a comfortable 28-6 lead.
 
 Hoyer replaced Lindley following the interception, but wasn't able to lead the
 Cardinals to any offensive scores.
 
 Following  the two-minute  warning, Olindo Mare had his kick blocked by Adrian
 Wilson. Bethel recovered the live ball and returned it 82 yards for a score to
 account for the final margin.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  Bears'  two defensive  touchdowns on  Sunday brought  their total for the
 season to nine. With one more, they will tie the 1998 Seattle Seahawks for the
 most  in  a single-season  ... Chicago  snapped a  seven-game losing streak in
 December ... Arizona has lost six of the past eight matchups with the Bears.
 
 
 12/23 22:21:27 ET

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