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Bears put paper Lions through the shredder

Updated: December 15, 2011 10:05AM



The Bears picked up where they left off in Philadelphia, racing out to a 20-0 lead against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Soldier Field.

And despite a lull by the Bears’ offense, the defense scored two touchdowns and forced six turnovers by the Lions, one more than they had conceded in the previous eight games.

In a must-win game, the Bears dominated the Lions 37-13 at Soldier Field and matched the NFC North rivals with a 6-3 record. The Lions are technically in second place, behind the undefeated Green Bay Packers, because they have a 2-1 division record, while the Bears are 2-2.

“We sat on the sideline, and a part of me was thinking, ‘Fall down at the five, so we have a chance to get a fade or something,’ ” Bears receiver Roy Williams said of the defense’s two touchdowns. “But the crowd here thrives on pick sixes. You could just see the momentum just swing toward the Chicago Bears, and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

After a first-quarter touchdown by running back Matt Forte, the Bears offense largely struggled, although they could afford to take the day off. Devin Hester returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown, and the defense dominated.

“Didn’t have to do a whole lot,” said quarterback Jay Cutler, who completed just nine of 19 passes for 123 yards. “Hand it off, complete a few passes early on. The way the defense was playing and Devin setting us up with that score, we were limited in our action.”

After an emotional victory over the Eagles on Monday night, the Bears didn’t have a letdown against the Lions, even as a brawl broke out in the second half. After an interception by cornerback Tim Jennings, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford pulled cornerback D.J. Moore down to the ground by his face mask. Moore retaliated, prompting numerous Lions to jump to Stafford’s defense. The Bears followed suit, with more than a dozen players sprinting across the field to sort out the madness.

“Sometimes, teams do that, when they get down, I guess,” middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. “But it doesn’t really matter. We didn’t partake in any of that stuff. “D.J., that was a bad call. I don’t know why he got thrown out of the game.”

The ugliness didn’t take away from the Bears clean start.

Everything clicked. The defense forced and recovered two fumbles, and the offense capitalized with a touchdown and a field goal. Then, despite not practicing last week, Hester tight-roped along the left sideline and returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.

The Bears possessed all the momentum, with the defense forcing a three-and-out. But on the first play of the next series, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler muffed a handoff to running back Matt Forte, and Lions cornerback Amari Spievey recovered.

The defense forced the Lions to settle for a field goal, a 29-yarder from Jason Hanson.

After another field goal by Hanson that followed the Lions’ longest drive of the game, Cutler got back on track, converting on third-and-10 with a 21-yard pass to Sam Hurd. And after the Bears caught a break — a Cutler fumble wasn’t recovered by anyone — Robbie Gould missed a 43-yard field goal attempt wide right.

Up 20-6, the Bears offense opened the third quarter with another three-and-out. But the defense capitalized on two questionable decisions by Stafford, with safety Major Wright and cornerback Charles Tillman each intercepting passes and returning them for touchdowns.

“We played the way we wanted to play,” Urlacher said. “They were in our way and we took care of business.”



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