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Defeat drops Bears 3 games behind unbeaten Lions, Packers

Chicago Bears tight end Kellen Davis (87) makes nine yard receptifor touchdown as Detroit Lions outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter (59)

Chicago Bears tight end Kellen Davis (87) makes a nine yard reception for a touchdown as Detroit Lions outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter (59) defends in the second quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

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Updated: December 10, 2011 1:34AM

DETROIT — The Bears aren’t ‘‘Monday Night Football’’ rookies.

But the Detroit Lions, who were hosting their first ‘‘MNF’’ game since 2001,
reveled in the prime-time spotlight, calling on renowned ring announcer Michael Buffer to introduce them.

Instead of living up to
Buffer’s ‘‘Let’s get ready to rumble’’ trademark, though, the Bears and Lions acted out “Let’s get ready to bumble’’ in the first quarter.

The Bears committed three false starts on their first drive, and the Lions’
defense was penalized six times for 54 yards on their second drive.

That pushed the Bears to the Lions’ 26-yard line, but they passed up a 44-yard
field-goal attempt and were stuffed for no gain on a fourth-and-one running play.

In the end, after a game in which the teams combined for 26 penalties, the Bears suffered a 24-13 defeat at Ford Field that pushed them three games behind the unbeaten Lions and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.

‘‘There’s no magical solu-
tion to it,’’ Bears safety Chris Harris said. ‘‘We’ve just got to keep playing. No one can hit the panic button, but there has to be more of a sense of urgency.’’

The Bears now face a must-win game at home Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, who are coming off a 34-10 victory against the Arizona Cardinals.

‘‘We basically have to win out,’’ Bears receiver Devin Hester said. ‘‘We can’t get beat by a division team right now. The way the Packers and Lions are playing, we can’t
afford to lose in the division.’’

The Lions didn’t waste any time atoning for their sloppy start. On the second play of the second quarter, quarterback Matthew Stafford led receiver Calvin Johnson — who beat safeties Harris and Brandon Meriweather — for a 73-yard touchdown.

The Bears’ offense, on the other hand, exhausted all of its timeouts in the first quarter. And while the Bears did make some first downs and move the ball back into Lions territory, they faced another fourth-and-short and opted to take the field goal. The distance: 44 yards.

Remarkably, despite eight penalties, the Bears went into halftime with a 10-7 lead. And they got the opening kickoff of the third quarter.

The offense, though, couldn’t string together enough plays, and the Bears punted the ball away. The
Lions answered with a seven-
play, 67-yard drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

It was the fifth touchdown this season the Bears had surrendered to opposing tight ends, but that wasn’t the only issue on defense.

Later in the quarter, the Bears were victimized by an 88-yard touchdown run by Jahvid Best.

Entering the game, the Bears’ defense was ranked 31st in yards allowed per game. Considering it ranked ninth last season, that was a surprise to general manager Jerry Angelo.

‘‘I feel good that we’re
going to play good defense,’’ Angelo said before the game. ‘‘Hopefully, we’re going to see it [Monday]. We’re not used to seeing what we saw.’’

Now, though, it’s becoming commonplace.

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