NFL Wire News

Lions 20, Bears 14


CHICAGO — The Detroit Lions survived their own mistakes, including three first-half turnovers, to beat the Chicago Bears 20-14 on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Running back Joique Bell’s 17-yard run proved to be the game-winning touchdown for the Lions with 7:15 remaining in the game.

The Lions, who are 11-4 and will play at Green Bay next Sunday for the NFC North Division title, gave up four first-half sacks and handed the Bears a gift touchdown just before halftime on a muffed punt at their own 11-yard line.

With quarterback Jimmy Clausen making his first start in four years, replacing the benched Jay Cutler, those Detroit errors helped make the Bears not only competitive, but Chicago actually had the lead into the fourth quarter.

Ultimately, the key play was a mistake by the Bears, who led, 14-10, before the Lions began their winning drive from their own 27-yard line.

On 3rd-and-10 from the 37, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a deep pass down the left sideline intended for Corey Fuller.

Cornerback Tim Jennings, who was covering Fuller, never looked back for the ball, ran over the receiver, and was hit with a 46-yard interference penalty that moved the ball to Chicago’s 17-yard line.

On the next play, three Bears’ players missed tackles — including an attempt by safety Ryan Mundy at the line of scrimmage — and Bell ran into the end zone.

Chicago (5-10), which lost its fourth consecutive game, might not even have been in the game but for the Detroit mistakes. The Bears’ only lead was set up when the Lions’ Julian Stanford roughed punter Patrick O’Donnell on 4th-and-23 from the Detroit 39-yard line.

That gave the Bears new life with a first down at the Detroit 24. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-6, Clausen threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery to put Chicago ahead, 14-10.

The game was tied, 7-7, at halftime, largely because of Detroit’s errors.

With the Lions ahead, 7-0, they drove to the Chicago 16-yard line before Stafford threw an interception to Brock Vereen in the end zone.

After Chicago went 3-and-out, the Lions started another drive that reached the Bears’ 17-yard line before Stafford threw another interception, this one to Mundy.

And in the last minute of the half, Detroit’s Jeremy Ross muffed a punt at his own 11-yard line, the Bears recovered and, on the next play, Clausen unloaded the ball under a heavy blitz and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Matt Forte.

Clausen, who was 1-9 as a rookie starter with Carolina in 2010, completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards and, significantly, given Cutler’s league-leading total of 24 turnovers, did not throw an interception until a desperation heave on 4th-and-10 with two minutes remaining in the game.

NOTES: With RG Kyle Long (hip) inactive, the Bears had yet another shakeup on their offensive line, with two rookie guards starting. Michael Ola, who had started six games at left guard, moved into Long’s spot, and Ryan Groy, another rookie, started at left guard. … WR Alshon Jeffery and RB Matt Forte are the only Bears players who have started all 16 games on offense. … DT Stephen Paea, CB Tim Jennings and S Ryan Mundy are the only players on defense who have started every game. … The Bears lost DE Willie Young to an Achilles injury.

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