DETROIT -- The Chicago Bears pride themselves on creating turnovers. That strategy was used against them on Sunday and now they've got company atop the NFC North.
The Detroit Lions harassed Bears quarterback Jay Cutler into four turnovers, three on interceptions, and handed Chicago its first loss 40-32 at Ford Field.
Turnovers carried the Bears to a 3-0 start, as they forced a league-high 11 while making only five. But the Lions (3-1) were more opportunistic while tying their longtime division rival in the standings. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley scored on a 4-yard fumble return and safety Louis Delmas had two interceptions.
"We need to go out and play well, play tough and physical and make our plays. Our guys have proven this year they can do that," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "It was a big problem for us last year. We didn't get very many turnovers on defense but we've got some playmakers up front who can rush and some guys on the back end that can go get it."
The offense was just as formidable. Reggie Bush rushed for 139 yards, including 112 in the opening half, and scored on a 37-yard run. Matt Stafford passed for 242 yards and a touchdown and also scored by recovering his own fumble.
Calvin Johnson had a relatively quiet 28th birthday, catching four passes for 44 yards, but one of them went for a 2-yard score.
"It's great to have a lot of weapons at your disposal," Stafford said. "Our offensive line is playing great and opening holes in the running game and the more they can do that, the better we'll be. And Calvin is always going to be Calvin -- he's going to make plays when we need him."
Matt Forte rushed for 95 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but Chicago had to abandon the running game after trailing by 20 in the first half.
"The game got out of hand because of the turnovers," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "We had to throw it more than we'd like."
The Lions scored 24 unanswered points during the second quarter while storming to a 30-13 halftime lead.
Chicago took a short-lived 10-6 advantage when Forte took a pitch to the right side and raced untouched on his 53-yard score.
Akers' third field goal brought Detroit within one point. Micheal Spurlock's 57-yard punt return then set up the Lions' first touchdown, which involved a bit of good fortune. On first-and-goal from the 1, Stafford tried to leap over the pile but linebacker Lance Briggs knocked the ball loose. The ball floated in the air right into Stafford's arms as he fell into the end zone.
Stafford's 2-yard touchdown pass to Johnson made it 23-10. Glover Quin's 41-yard interception return led to that score.
"Three picks, it's hard to come back from that," Cutler said. "I have to play better. I felt good about my decision-making, I just missed the throws."
Bush, who had six runs of at least 10 yards during the half, extended the lead to 30-10 with his 37-yard run. Bell jumped over Major Wright's diving tackle attempt 10 yards down the field, then scooted down the right side for his first rushing touchdown this season.
A Stafford fumble after a Julius Peppers sack allowed the Bears to cut Detroit's lead to 17, as Robbie Gould made a 28-yard field goal on the last play of the half.
Detroit's defense put the game away late in the third. Ndamukong Suh sacked Cutler at the Chicago 10. Fairley picked up the loose ball at the 4 and scored to make it 37-16.
"Those guys are really good as far as getting the ball out, turnovers and all that," Fairley said. "Coming into this game, we knew our defense had to step up to win this game and I think we stepped up."
The Bears scored 16 points in the late going to make the final score respectable.
NOTES: Cutler had only thrown one interception in eight previous games against Detroit. ... Center Dominic Raiola set a Lions franchise record for an offensive player by appearing in his 192nd career game. ... Chicago leads the all-time series 96-66-5. ... Johnson's receiving touchdown was the 58th of his career, second only to Herman Moore's franchise record of 62. ... Detroit cornerback Chris Houston (leg) and Rashean Mathis (concussion) left the game with injuries.