Bears' D.J. Moore on game-ejecting brawl with Lions' Matthew Stafford (video)
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org November 13, 2011 9:28PM
Bears cornerback Tim Jennings is pushed out of bounds by Lions receiver Nate Burleson after a fourth quarter interception. Behind them are Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Bears cornerback D.J. Moore who got tangled up during the return. The Chicago Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 37-13 Sunday November 13, 2011 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: December 15, 2011 10:05AM
No hard feelings?
‘‘No,’’ Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said after the Bears-Lions rivalry reached a new level of animosity with a major-league melee in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ 37-13 victory at Soldier Field. ‘‘I think the melee happened and it’s done and we’re done. After the game, guys went up and shook hands.’’
Well, some guys did, anyway.
‘‘I didn’t want to talk to anybody after the game,’’ said Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton. ‘‘I saw [Brandon Pettigrew] start walking to the locker room and I was like, ‘OK. That’s what it is then.’ We’re good friends. But he wasn’t going to come out to talk to nobody.’’
The growing rivalry lived up to expectations. The perpetrators of the all-out brawl in the fourth quarter were two unlikely suspects — Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Bears’ nickel back D.J. Moore.
After Tim Jennings intercepted a Stafford pass, Moore blocked Stafford on the return and Stafford responded by grabbing Moore by the back of the helmet and throwing him down to the ground. Moore retaliated by getting up and plowing into Stafford, who was still on his knees. Moore was ejected.
‘‘I felt like I was wrong. But I think we were both wrong,’’ Moore said. ‘‘It kind of makes it seems like they kept him in the game because he was a little more important for the league. Both of us were wrong.’’
‘‘He kind of blocked me and I was just trying to get him off of me the best I knew how,’’ Stafford said. ‘‘I guess he didn’t like the way I did it and he wanted to ask me about it.’’
Regardless, Moore said he did not regret retaliating.
‘‘If anybody threatens your livelihood and grabs my neck and it seems like you’re trying to hurt me, you just can’t let that go,’’ he said. ‘‘If he didn’t try to grab my neck and try to end my career, I don’t come after him.’’
Kyle Vanden Bosch got things started with an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Bears’ second offensive play of the game. Cliff Avril had a facemask penalty. Ndamukong Suh ripped Jay Cutler’s helmet off and knocked the Bears’ quarterback to the ground with a late hit — by today’s standards anyway — and was penalized for neither. Nick Fairley was called for rouging the passer. Center Dominic Raiola was called for a chop block in the fourth quarter.
‘‘Discipline for what?’’ coach Jim Schwartz said when asked about his team’s chippy play. ‘‘For their guy getting kicked out of the game? Did Matt get penalized? No, Matt didn’t get penalized. For the unnecessary roughness on the quarterback — Nick Fairley was in contact with the quarterback when he let go of the ball. It wasn’t a late hit. What other ones do you have?’’
‘‘You had two good football teams playing,’’ Bears coach Lovie Smith said. ‘‘Two division opponents that know each other well. Two physical football teams. That happens from time to time. I don’t think any real damage was done. We’ll both go back to work.’’