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Sunday, November 20, 2011
Second quarter: Bears 17, Chargers 10

By Jeff Dickerson

Marion Barber
Marion Barber recovers his fumble near the goal line just before scoring on a 1-yard run.
CHICAGO -- Earl Bennett doesn't need orange cleats to make an impact in the Chicago Bears' passing game.

After being forced by the NFL to remove the all-orange cleats he wore the previous two weeks, Bennett hauled in two passes in the first half that set up both Bears' touchdowns.

The Bears lead San Diego 17-10 at halftime.

A Jay Cutler to Bennett 26-yard completion eventually paved the way for running back Marion Barber to punch it in from 1 yard out, Barber's fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

Later in the quarter, Cutler hooked up with Bennett for 34 yards, which gave the Bears to ball on the Chargers' 10-yard line. Two plays later, Cutler appeared to find Bennett for a score in the corner of the end zone, but an official replay showed the wideout failed to complete the catch. Still, the Bears were able to score on the drive when Cutler tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kellen Davis.

San Diego's lone touchdown of the first half came Chargers tight end Antonio Gates found a soft spot in the Bears' zone and hauled in an 8-yard pass from Phillip Rivers. That marked the eighth time an opposing tight end has scored versus the Bears' defense this season, which is a league high, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

The scoring opportunity was set up by a pair of deep receptions by Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson (32,39) who beat Bears cornerback Charles Tillman in man coverage. Jackson finished the first half with a game-high four catches for 96 yards.

San Diego failed to tack on an additional three points when kicker Nick Novak missed on two separate attempts from 55 yards out as time expired in the first half. The Bears called timeout right before Novak tried the first kick, which was short, then the second quarter bounced off the cross bar.

Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly was taken back to the locker room in the second quarter with a knee injury. Mannelly has played in a franchise record 215 games. Tight end Matt Spaeth is listed as the No. 2 long snapper on the Bears official depth chart, but fullback Tyler Clutts was seen warming up on the sidelines after Mannelly left the field.

Mannelly is out for the remainder of the game.