Rapid Reaction: Bears 13, Lions 7
October, 23, 2012
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
CHICAGO -- Some thoughts on Monday night's events at Soldier Field:
What it means: The Chicago Bears overcame a scare with their starting quarterback to win their fourth consecutive game. At 5-1, they remain alone atop the NFC North. The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, made four big mistakes to scuttle any chance at one of their signature comeback wins. At 2-4, the Lions are the only team in the division without a winning record. Their playoff hopes are bleak.
CutlerWatch: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler absorbed a violent but legal sack late in the second quarter from Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Cutler's right shoulder hit the ground flush and Suh fell on top of him, apparently bruising Cutler's ribs. But Cutler missed a total of only five plays and returned from a locker room examination to start the third quarter. He completed seven of his final 14 passes for a modest 77 yards, but if there were any questions about his toughness -- and to be clear, there were none here -- Cutler answered them Monday night.
Lions mistakes: The Lions committed four turnovers in Bears territory, three in the red zone, on plays the Bears' opportunistic defense deserved credit for. Tailback Mikel Leshoure lost a fumble at the Bears' 17-yard line in the second quarter. Returner Stefan Logan muffed a punt at the Bears' 27-yard line after the Lions had stopped the Bears on the opening possession of the third quarter. Running back Joique Bell lost control of the ball at the Bears' 1-yard line. Finally, quarterback Matthew Stafford threw an interception at the Bears' 2-yard line on fourth down with 2 minutes, 39 seconds remaining. The Lions were going to have a hard time beating the Bears straight-up. Fouling up four scoring opportunities gave them no chance.
Two-deep: The Bears mixed up their defense early in the game, tossing in a few blitzes to keep Stafford from establishing a rhythm. But for the most part, their deep-safety look left the Lions unable to drive the ball downfield. Leshoure rolled up 63 yards on 12 carries, but the Lions didn't manage a pass play longer than 19 yards until midway through the fourth quarter.
Injury report: The Lions lost two starters in the third quarter. A right knee injury sent receiver Nate Burleson to the locker room. Safety Amari Spievey, meanwhile, suffered a concussion. It should be noted that symptoms from Spievey's most recent concussion, in the 2011 wild-card playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints, didn't subside until the middle of the spring. Burleson was replaced by rookie Ryan Broyles, who caught his first NFL touchdown with 30 seconds remaining to prevent a shutout.
What's next: The Lions will host the Seattle Seahawks, and the Bears will host the Carolina Panthers. Both games are Sunday.