Bears GM says ailing WR Earl Bennett might need ‘a few more weeks’
By Mark Potash email@example.com October 11, 2011 12:02AM
Updated: November 16, 2011 12:37PM
DETROIT — Rumors of receiver Earl Bennett’s imminent return were greatly exaggerated.
Bennett, who hasn’t played since suffering a bruised chest in Week 2 against the Saints, was caught playing catch on the field before the Bears-Lions game Monday, sparking social-media reports he might be close to coming back.
But general manager Jerry Angelo quickly quashed the idea.
‘‘I don’t know that he’s close, probably a few more weeks,’’ Angelo said. ‘‘He didn’t break anything; that’s the good news. It’s an injury that every player’s body handles differently, so we’re just going to have to be patient and wait and see.’’
Defensive end Julius Peppers suffered a leg injury late in the first quarter, and it took only two plays for the Bears to feel the pain.
On the second play without Peppers, quarterback Matthew Stafford had plenty of time to burn safety Chris Harris with a 79-yard touchdown pass to receiver Calvin Johnson that gave the Lions a 7-0 lead.
Peppers returned on the Bears’ next defensive play.
Davis misses — and hits
Tight end Kellen Davis had a pair of false-start penalties and a one-yard loss on his first reception, but he made up for those mistakes with two big catches on scoring drives that gave the Bears a 10-7 halftime lead.
Davis caught a quick-hitter over the middle for a 17-yard gain on second-and-11 from the Bears’ 30, leading to a 44-yard field goal by Robbie Gould that cut the Lions’ lead to 7-3. And his nine-yard touchdown catch with 1:11 left in the half gave the Bears the 10-7 lead.
Another failed challenge
The Lions got the best of the Bears on challenges. The Lions had a pass-interference call on cornerback Chris Houston against receiver Dane Sanzenbacher overturned when replays showed quarterback Jay Cutler’s pass had been tipped at the line of scrimmage, which negates any pass-interference call.
The Bears lost their only challenge when replays confirmed that running back Matt Forte was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-one from the Lions’ 26.
Spencer out, Louis in
Lance Louis started at right guard in place of Chris Spencer (broken right wrist), and Frank Omiyale started at right tackle.
Spencer still was active, though. The Bears’ inactives were Bennett, running back Kahlil Bell, tackle Gabe Carimi, defensive ends Corey Wootton and Mario Addison, defensive tackle Stephen Paea and quarterback Nathan Enderle.
The Bears entered the game ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed, but they had played the Falcons, Saints, Packers and Panthers, all of whom are ranked among the top 12 in the league in total offense.
‘‘We’ve arguably played three of the five best offenses in football,’’ Angelo said. ‘‘But that’s no excuse. You still have to play good enough to win.’’
The Lions entered the game ranked 11th in total offense, and the Bears didn’t meet that challenge, either. They not only allowed the 79-yard pass play from Stafford to Johnson, but they also yielded a backbreaking 88-yard run by Jahvid Best that gave the Lions a 21-10 lead with 5:20 left in the third quarter.