Final Score: Detroit 24, Chicago 13
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - In their first Monday night game in 10 years,
the Detroit Lions showed the nation why they are one of the two remaining
unbeaten teams in the NFL.
Just three seasons ago, the Lions set a mark of futility with the first-ever
0-16 season in the history of the league. Now, they are among the elite as
they improved to 5-0 on the season and sit tied atop the NFC North with the
defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
A dominating defense and big plays from Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best helped
the Lions win their ninth straight game, 24-13 over the Chicago Bears.
Matthew Stafford went 19-for-26 with 219 yards, two touchdowns and an
interception, Johnson had five catches for 130 yards and a score, and Best had
an 88-yard rushing touchdown and 163 yards on the ground. Detroit is off to
its best start since beginning the 1956 season with six consecutive wins.
"We have a lot of experienced players here and they're also our hardest
working players," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "It makes it easy for
the rest of them team to take their cue off them. We played a good game
tonight, but we made a bunch of mistakes. We can play better than we did
The Detroit defense, led by last season's rookie of the year Ndamukong Suh and
joined by Nick Fairley, the 13th overall pick in this year's draft who had
missed the first four games after having foot surgery, harassed Chicago
quarterback Jay Cutler all game and sacked him three times while knocking him
down on several other occasions.
For his part, Cutler was able to improvise several times and keep his team in
the game as he went 28-for-38 with 249 yards and a score. Matt Forte had 116
yards on 22 carries for the Bears (2-3), who were coming off a home win
"I was just trying to move around a bit and find some guys open," said Cutler.
"But it was hard out there tonight cause those guys were getting four or five
yard pushes on every snap."
Starting the second half the Lions were in a familiar position as they trailed
to start, but they quickly went ahead after holding the Bears to a three-and-
Stafford methodically moved his team down the field and a 17-yard catch from
Johnson on 3rd-and-6 got the ball past midfield. A 12-yard catch from Tony
Scheffler saw an unnecessary roughness call on Brian Urlacher and the next
play saw Stafford his Brandon Pettigrew over the middle for an 18-yard score
and a 14-10 lead.
Chicago again had to punt and on the first play Best took a handoff around the
right tackle and raced untouched into the end zone on an 88-yard score for a
21-10 lead with 5:20 to play in the third.
The Bears were able to hold the Lions, but the only offense they generated was
a 49-yard field goal from Robbie Gould with 4:07 to play to make it a 21-13
However, Best again went on a long run as his 43-yard burst on the first play
of the ensuing drive led to a 31-yard field goal from Jason Hanson with 1:56
to play to seal the win.
"We're not looking to prove anything to anybody, we just want to win," said
Stafford. "We understand we had a great win for the team and the city, but we
have a short week and a big game coming up against a great San Fran team."
It was a sloppy start to the game as the Lions had to punt on their first
touch and the Bears followed with three false starts on a three-and-out.
The Bears' second drive saw the team get into scoring position. On 3rd-and-1
at the Detroit 26 Forte was stuffed. The team then tried to get the Lions to
jump, but called timeout before the play clock sounded. They opted to go for
it, but Forte was stuffed by Suh.
Three plays later, Stafford went deep down the right side for Johnson, who
caught it in-stride near the Chicago 30 and broke a tackle on his way to a 73-
yard score for a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the second.
Chicago, though, answered on its next touch with a 10-play, 57-yard drive that
saw the team fall short on a 3rd-and-9 and go to Gould, who booted the 44-yard
attempt down the middle to make it a 7-3 game with 8:18 left in the half.
Following a short possession by Detroit, the Bears got the ball back at their
own 12 and a 26-yard catch from Devin Hester was followed by a 23-yard run by
Forte. Four plays later, Cutler lofted a pass to the right corner of the
end zone where Kellen Davis came down with the nine-yard catch for a 10-7 lead
heading into the break.
"We had a great opportunity against a great football team to gain some
ground," said Chicago head coach Lovie Smith. "But if you play football like
we did against a good football team, you're going to lose."
Hanson played in his 300th game, all with the Lions...Best's run was the
second longest in Detroit history. The longest ever was a 96-yard run from Bob
Hoernshemeyer on Thanksgiving Day in 1950...Johnson has nine touchdown catches
over the first five games this season, which is an NFL record...Chicago had 14
penalties in the game, including nine false starts, for 104 yards...Detroit
was penalized 12 times for 94 yards...Chicago had won the previous six
meetings with Detroit...The Lions had trailed after the first half in the
previous two games at Dallas and Minnesota.
10/11 01:11:25 ET
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