Final Score: Detroit 21, Chicago 19
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Calvin Johnson had two touchdown catches in the second half and the Detroit Lions now sit atop the NFC North thanks to a 21-19 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.
Matthew Stafford passed for just 219 yards on 18-of-35 attempts with an interception, but did have three touchdown passes as the Lions (6-3) came out of the bye week with their second straight win.
Coupled with Green Bay's loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, Detroit now holds a one-game lead over both the Packers and Bears for first place in the division.
"The guys are happy in there, but we're not satisfied," said Stafford.
Johnson finished the game with six catches for 83 yards and his second touchdown catch was the 63rd of his career, passing Herman Moore to set the Detroit record for most touchdown catches.
Reggie Bush had 105 yards on 14 carries, and caught three passes for eight yards for Detroit, which won both games against the Bears this season. Brandon Pettigrew added five catches for 70 yards in the win.
"We weren't the best on offense, but we didn't have to be," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "We just have to score one more point than the opponent."
Jay Cutler was hit all day and sat out the last series with what the Bears termed as a left ankle injury. Cutler had missed last Monday's win against the Packers with a torn left groin muscle he suffered on Oct. 20 against the Redskins.
"He was rolled up on in the second quarter and was taped up at halftime," said Chicago head coach Marc Trestman. "I didn't want to take him out unless he failed the job. At the end I took him out because I knew he'd have to run around in the two-minute drill."
He finished the game 21-for-40 for 250 yards with a touchdown and interception for the Bears (5-3), who got just 33 yards on 17 carries from Matt Forte.
"I'm proud of him today, he was a soldier," said Chicago wide receiver Brandon Marshall about Cutler. "From about the second drive on, he was playing with all kinds of stings from his waist down. I just tired to encourage him and he stepped up. Unfortunately we couldn't pull out the win."
Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while Alshon Jeffery had nine catches for 114 yards in the loss.
"It was really a day of missed opportunities for our team today," said Trestman. "Tomorrow we're going to go into the meeting room and talk about what we did good and what we did bad, then see if we can correct things."
After a Robbie Gould field goal had made it a one-point game, Detroit drove down the field and got to the Chicago 17, but a face mask call on Justin Fauria pushed the ball back 15 yards and David Akers missed a 45-yard field goal to the right and Chicago got the ball back at its 36.
However, the Bears went three-and-out and punted the ball back to the Lions 26.
Getting the ball across midfield on a 14-yard catch from Johnson, Bush then had a pair of 11-yard runs to get the ball to the Chicago 14. Three plays later, Stafford floated a pass down the left sideline and Johnson caught it in the end zone for a 21-13 lead with 2:22 to play.
Josh McCown came in to take over under center and a Nick Fairley roughing the passer call moved the ball to midfield. Four straight completions later in the drive moved the ball 43 yards and McCown found Marshall in the back of the end zone from 11 yards out for a score with 40 seconds to play.
Needing two points to tie the game, Chicago failed on its first attempt as McCown's pass fell incomplete, but another roughing the passer call on Detroit gave Chicago another chance from a yard closer. This one failed, though, as well as Fairley wrapped up Forte in the back field.
Chicago's onsides kick attempt was recovered by Detroit, and Stafford took a knee to seal the win.
Chicago started the game with the ball and excellent field position as Devin Hester returned the kickoff to the Chicago 35. Marshall caught a pass for 17 yards on 3rd-and-6 and followed that with a 12-yard catch to the Detroit 32. The next play saw Cutler again go to Marshall and he caught it just inside the end zone for a 7-0 lead less than 2 1/2 minutes in.
Detroit, though, answered with a scoring march of its own as Stafford went 6- for-7 on the drive, with Johnson catching a pair of balls on third downs, and Pettigrew also moving the chains with a 6-yard catch on 3rd-and-4. Facing a 1st-and-goal at the 5, Stafford went to the right side where Kris Durham was wide open for the easy score with 5:57 to play in the first.
Following an exchange of punts, Chicago drove into Detroit territory. Facing a 4th-and-1 at the 27, Chicago opted to go for it, but Michael Bush was stood up at the line and Detroit got the ball back.
The Lions then marched the ball down to the Chicago 31 and faced a 4th-and-1 of their own. Stafford attempted a quick pass to Johnson, but the ball was tipped away and Chicago got it back.
Methodically marching down the field, Chicago was poised to take a lead into the locker room as the team got the ball to the Detroit 4. On 2nd-and-goal, though, Cutler had his pass tipped at the line and DeAndre Levy came down with the pick.
The Lions started the second half with the ball and got a 34-yard return from Michael Spurlock to start the drive. On 1st-and-10 from the Chicago 47, Bush busted a run up the middle for 39 yards and a horse collar penalty on Chicago placed the ball at the 4. Two plays later, Stafford floated a pass to the right corner where Johnson had an easy catch for a 14-7 lead.
Each team then punted the ball once, as Chicago began a scoring drive at its own 24. Cutler hit Marshall for a deep bomb of 44 yards. The drive eventually stalled at the 7, and Gould hit a 25-yard field goal to make it a 14-10 game with 7:25 to play in the third.
Detroit's next touch saw Stafford throw a pass to Johnson high and Chris Conte picked it off, returning the ball to the Detroit 9.
The Lions' defense, though, held the line and was helped on an overturned touchdown call as Alshon Jeffery nearly scored, but was ruled to have bobbled a catch in the end zone. Gould's 32-yard field goal with 9:17 to play made it a 14-13 contest.
Levy leads all linebackers with five interceptions this season ... Chicago controlled the ball for 31:35, but had just 38 rushing yards compared to 145 for Detroit ... Detroit plays in Pittsburgh next Sunday ... Chicago hosts Baltimore next Sunday ... The Lions had lost six straight division road games overall and five consecutive tries in Chicago coming into the game.
11/10 18:39:35 ET
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