Detroit, MI (Sports Network) – Brandon Manumaleuna caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bears rallied for a 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Jay Cutler went 21-for-26 with 234 yards and one touchdown while Matt Forte and Chester Taylor each ran for a score for the Bears (9-3), who have taken five straight and remain a game ahead of Green Bay for the top spot in the NFC North. The Packers beat the 49ers on Sunday to keep pace in the division.
Earl Bennett caught seven passes for 104 yards as Chicago improved to 5-1 on the road this season.
Drew Stanton, making the start courtesy of injuries to Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill, had 178 yards and a score on 16-of-24 passing and added a rushing touchdown for the Lions (2-10), who have dropped five straight. Calvin Johnson caught three passes for 66 yards and a score in the loss.
Trailing by three points, Chicago started the winning drive at its own 40 after stopping Detroit on a 4th-and-1 with under 12 minutes to play.
The first play saw Cutler hit Forte for 20 yards and a 12-yard catch by Bennett on 3rd-and-4 moved the ball to the Detroit 22. Cutler then scrambled for eight yards and a questionable unnecessary roughness call on Ndamukong Suh gave Chicago a 1st-and-goal at the seven. Cutler found Manumaleuna near the goal line and he took it in for a 24-20 lead with 8:39 left.
Stefan Logan ripped off a 60-yard return near midfield, and though the Lions managed one first down, Stanton was sacked for nine yards and a punt followed on 4th-and-16.
The Bears got the ball back with 5:17 to play and picked up four first downs in order to kill off the rest of the clock.
After an exchange of punts to start the game, the Lions went ahead on a three- yard touchdown run by Stanton with just over 6 1/2 minutes left in the first. Detroit had a short field to work with as Chicago had to punt deep in its own territory and Logan returned it 19 yards to the Chicago 38.
Chicago responded with a long drive of its own to tie the game. The 13 plays covered 76 yards and was capped when Taylor went around the left end untouched from a yard out with three seconds left in the opening frame. A defensive pass interference call on Detroit in the end zone set up the score.
Detroit came right back to take a 10-7 lead on a 50-yard field goal from Dave Rayner with 9:31 left in the first half.
The Bears answered right back to take the lead. Facing a 3rd-and-1 at the Detroit 47, Bennett caught a short pass and took it 33 yards down to the Detroit 14. The next play saw Forte take a pitch out to the left and race into the end zone for a 14-10 game with 4:40 left in the half.
Detroit later got the ball back at its own nine-yard line. The first play saw Jahvid Best take a handoff into the pile, but he kept on his feet, bounced out to the right and raced 45 yards. The next snap saw Johnson take a short pass and stiff arm two tacklers on his way into the end zone on a 46-yard score to give the Lions a 17-14 edge heading into the break.
Chicago started the second half with the ball, but Cutler fumbled on the second play and Detroit recovered at Chicago’s nine. However, the Lions were unable to move the ball and Rayner booted a 25-yard field goal for a 20-14 lead.
After the Bears pinned the Lions deep, Detroit had to punt from its own end zone and Devin Hester nearly broke free, but was tripped up by the punter after a 30-yard return to the Detroit 31. Chicago went in reverse thanks to two penalties and a sack, but a 54-yard field goal just inside the right post from Robbie Gould made it 20-17 with 2:40 left in the third.
Stanton was the third Lions’ quarterback to make a start this year…Gould’s 54-yard field goal was a career-high…Chicago hosts the Patriots next Sunday…The Lions host Green Bay next week…The Bears have taken six straight against the Lions…Logan totaled 153 yards in the game…Cliff Avril sacked Cutler three times in the game…Johnson has 12 touchdowns on the season, which ties a career-high set in 2008…Forte finished the game with 64 yards on 13 carries and added two catches for 36 yards.