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The Bears’ tenacious defense turned four turnovers into 16 points, defeating NFC North rivals, the Detroit Lions, 26-24.
Jay Cutler led the Bears, completing 18 of 31 passes for 257 yards and one touchdown. Cutler’s lone touchdown pass came in the first quarter on a 60 yard screen pass to wide out Earl Bennett. Bennett led the Bears with five catches for 109 along with his touchdown catch.
Detroit’s defense kept wideout Brandon Marshall in check limiting him to five catches for 42 yards. Marshall finished the regular season with a team high 118 catches.
Running back Matt Forte carried the ball 24 times for 103 yards and punched a one yard run touchdown. Forte injured his ankle for the third time this season and withstood the pain in a must win game. This was Forte’s third game this season surpassing the 100 yard mark on the ground.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford broke Drew Bledsoe’s pass attempts record after completing 24 of 42 passes for 272 yards three touchdowns and one interception. He was intercepted by cornerback Tim Jennings. Jennings, ninth interception is a league best.
Stafford finished the season with 727 pass attempts and with 4,967 passing yards, just 33 yards shy of consecutive 5,000 yard seasons.
He connected with two year wideout Kris Durham on a 26 yard touchdown pass for his first touchdown catch of his career. Stafford and Durham were teammates at the University of Georgia. He also threw a touchdown pass to tight end Will Heller for his first touchdown of the season and his final touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter to wide receiver Brian Robiskie to pull within two points.
Wideout Calvin Johnson, led the Lions with five catches for 72 yards. Unfortunately, Johnson came short of setting a 2,000 receiving record finishing the season with 1,964 yards.
After starting 7-1, the Bears are not heading into the postseason finishing the year 10-6 because the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers to earn the final wild card position.
Image Courtesy : Chicago Bears