Bears fall to Lions as Clausen takes controls - – Rockford’s News Leader

Bears fall to Lions as Clausen takes controls


After benching Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears nearly hung an embarrassing loss on the playoff-bound Detroit Lions.

Thanks to a late touchdown run by Joique Bell, the Lions managed to get past Jimmy Clausen and the chaotic Chicago Bears 20-14 Sunday. That set up a showdown with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North championship.

Chicago benched Cutler days earlier, having seen enough after he led the NFL with 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers in the first year of a seven-year contract he signed in the offseason. They turned to the cast-off Clausen, who hadn't started a game since 2010.

Matthew Stafford outplayed Clausen, but just barely. He completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards and hit the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth straight year, but it was hardly an easy afternoon for him.

"We stood tall," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "We played hard. We're not trying to sugar-coat it. We didn't win.  We're here to win. But I felt our players were in it to win for four quarters today but I've felt that way throughout the season. That hasn't changed."

Stafford threw interceptions in the end zone and near the goal line on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter with the Lions leading 7-0.

Jeremy Ross muffed a punt near the end of the first half, leading to a touchdown for Chicago, and center Dominic Raiola stepped on Chicago defensive tackle Ego Ferguson's right ankle while he was on the ground early in the third quarter. Reggie Bush ran for a touchdown and 54 yards. He added 44 yards receiving, and Detroit handed Chicago (5-10) its fourth straight loss.

Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards in his first start since his 2010 rookie season with Carolina. He threw touchdowns to Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery and played turnover-free ball until a late interception by Glover Quin.

The Bears were leading 14-10 early in the fourth when Tim Jennings bumped Corey Fuller on a deep third-down pass, resulting in a 46-yard interference penalty.

On the next play Bell -- who sat out the first quarter after violating unspecified team rules -- dodged two defenders and broke a tackle by Brock Vereen for a 17-yard TD that put Detroit up 17-14. Prater added a 30-yard field goal to make it a six-point game with 2:35 remaining.

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