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Bears 13, Lions 7

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- With many people believing Chicago's defense had become too old, the Bears juiced up their offense this year and made it look as if they were going to change a style of play that was decades old.

But these are the Bears we're talking about, and change comes slowly.

Apparently, so does the aging of their defense.

The Bears' not-too-old defense shut down the Detroit Lions' second-ranked offense on Monday night, forcing three turnovers in the red zone, and even though Chicago had its own difficulties moving the ball, the Bears never were really pressed in rolling to a deceivingly close 13-7 victory.

Chicago improved to 5-1, tops in the NFC North, while last-place Detroit fell to 2-4.

The new offense was on display the first time the Bears had the ball, as they moved 59 yards in six plays -- the big one a 39-yard burst off tackle by running back Matt Forte -- and Jay Cutler threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall.

Otherwise, the game was almost all about the Bears' defense, which was ranked fourth in the NFL going into the game.

Five of Detroit's first six possessions were three-and-outs. Calvin Johnson, the Lions' star receiver, was held without a catch until just 6:10 remained in the third quarter. Then, after the Lions advanced to a first-and-goal at the Bears' 1-yard line, defensive tackle Henry Melton forced a fumble by running back Joique Bell that linebacker Brian Urlacher recovered.

Chicago recovered two other Detroit fumbles, and it now has 21 takeaways in six games.

Urlacher is 34 and coming off knee problems, obviously another of those "too old" Bears.

Detroit's only first-half scoring threat ended in similar fashion.

In the closing minutes of the half, the Lions strung together four first downs as they drove from their own 29-yard line to a first down at the Chicago 18. But Bears linebacker Lance Briggs forced a fumble by running back Mikel Leshoure, and defensive end Julius Peppers recovered the ball. Briggs is 31, Peppers 32, more of those supposedly too-old Chicago defenders.

In the fourth quarter, the Lions drove to Chicago's 3-yard line, but on fourth down, D.J. Moore intercepted a pass by Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Lions finally scored with 30 seconds remaining on a 12-yard pass from Stafford to rookie wideout Ryan Broyles.

Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman, who is 31, kept Johnson under control. The one time Johnson got wide open, as Stafford scrambled to buy time, Johnson dropped a perfectly thrown downfield pass.

The Bears took a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 39-yard field goal by Robbie Gould, set up by a 24-yard Cutler scramble. Gould tacked on a 21-yarder in the third quarter.

Chicago got its biggest scare in the second quarter when Cutler was thrown to the ground on an 8-yard sack by Ndamukong Suh, who had the quarterback by the left arm and jammed a forearm into his neck. Cutler missed just one play at that time, came back in, left again shortly before halftime for treatment, but returned to play the second half showing no ill effects.

NOTES: Cutler moved into fourth place in passing yardage in Bears history, trailing Sid Luckman, Jim Harbaugh and Jim McMahon. ... Chicago has won eight of its last nine games against Detroit. ... This was the Bears' third consecutive home game against a quarterback who was the first player chosen in the draft, and they have won all three, previously defeating Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford. They face a fourth No. 1, the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton, on Sunday in their next game.
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