Reporting Josh Liss
DETROIT (CBS/AP) – Jay Cutler threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Brandon Manumaleuna one play after a questionable call midway through the fourth quarter, lifting the Chicago Bears to a 24-20 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The NFC-North leading Bears (9-3) took advantage of referee Ed Hochuli flagging Ndamukong Suh for unnecessary roughness. Suh hit Cutler’s shoulder pads hard from behind when the quarterback was running downfield. Cutler then connected with Manumaleuna on a 7-yard pass with 8:39 left.
Detroit drove to the Chicago 34 before a sack that led to a punt.
The Bears sealed the victory with a pass to Manumaleuna deep in Detroit territory, allowing them to run out the clock.
The Lions (2-10) have lost five straight this season and an NFL-record 19 within the division for the longest skid since the 1970 merger.
Detroit lost its first game this season at Chicago, where Calvin Johnson appeared to catch a game-winning TD only to have the officials rule that he didn’t complete the play.
Like that game, the Lions blew a lot of opportunities to take the game out of the officials’ hands.
The biggest might’ve been early in the third quarter when Detroit had the ball at the Chicago 9 after recovering Cutler’s fumble. Detroit gained just 2 yards and settled for a field goal and a 20-17 lead that ended up being its final points.
Cutler was 21 of 26 for 234 yards with a TD and no interceptions. He is 4-0 against the Lions as a Bear with nine TDs and only one interception. Cutler is 11-12 with 35 TDs and 35 interceptions for Chicago against the rest of the league.
Chicago’s Matt Forte and Chester Taylor combined to run for 97 yards and two scores and Earl Bennett caught seven passes for 104 yards.
The Lions were relegated to using their third-string quarterback – Drew Stanton – because of injuries to Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill.
Stanton, making just his second start in four years, played relatively well by completing 16 of 24 passes for 178 yards with a TD and a score on the ground that gave Detroit its first of four leads.
Jahvid Best had a 45-yard run that set up Johnson’s go-ahead, 46-yard TD reception in the final minute of the first half.
Detroit not only had to overcome a team on a roll, but a lot of loud fans cheering for the Bears in the Motor City.
Stanton’s 3-yard run quieted the orange-and-blue clad fans midway through the first quarter, but they cheered when Taylor capped a 13-play drive and tied the game 7-all at the end of the first quarter.
Dave Rayner’s 50-yard kick gave Detroit another lead early in the second quarter, but the Bears took it back with Forte’s 14-yard run with 4:40 left in the half.
Rayner’s short field goal after Cutler’s fumble put the Lions ahead by six points, a cushion that was cut into on Gould’s career-high 54-yard field goal late in the third quarter and one that vanished when Cutler connected with his 295-pound tight end late in the game.
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