Page last updated on Sun Mar 29 02:08:32 EDT 2015
11/10/2013 9:29 PM EST
Lions hold on for 21-19 victory over Bears

AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) -- Calvin Johnson saw the defensive coverage. Same
for Matthew Stafford, and they knew exactly what to do.

The result was a franchise record for one of the NFL's best wide
receivers, and a big win for the Detroit Lions.

Johnson caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Stafford with 2:22
to go, helping the Lions edge Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears
21-19 on Sunday in a key matchup of NFC North rivals.

"I knew immediately that one of us on the outside was going to
get it," Johnson said. "So I just wanted to work, be patient and
he threw a great ball."

Johnson also had a tiebreaking TD reception in the third quarter
and Reggie Bush rushed for 105 yards as Detroit (6-3) swept the
season series against Chicago (5-4) for the first time since the
2007 season.

When Green Bay lost 27-13 to Philadelphia, the Lions were all
alone in first in the division for the first time since the end
of Week 5 of the 2005 season, according to STATS.

"We came out with a victory on the road against a really tough
team," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. "It was a hard-fought
win. Proud of the players, but that's the only thing that means
(anything) today.

"I mean first place, you don't get any prizes for first place
there nine games into the season."

Johnson's ninth touchdown grab of the season was the 63rd of his
career, breaking a tie with Herman Moore for the Detroit record.
Moore still leads with 670 career receptions for the Lions, but
Johnson might take that record down at some point, too.

"To be a part of history for the Lions, that's a big deal,"
Johnson said.

Johnson, playing in his 100th game, has 8,740 yards receiving,
the second-most in NFL history in a player's first 100 games.
Johnson trails Hall of Famer Lance Alworth who had 9,019.

Cutler threw for 250 yards and a touchdown in his first action
since he injured his groin last month. He injured his left ankle
in the second quarter and looked progressively worse as the game
wore on.

Coach Marc Trestman finally decided to put in Josh McCown before
the Bears' final drive.

"I didn't want to take him out unless he felt he couldn't do the
job," Trestman said. "It was, I thought, a very courageous
performance throughout. Then at the end I took him out because I
knew he would have to run around in the two-minute drill and
that's when we decided to put Josh in the game."

McCown drove the Bears down the field, throwing an 11-yard
touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall with 40 seconds left.

After a roughing penalty on Willie Young gave the Bears another
chance at the tying 2-point conversion, Nick Fairley threw Matt
Forte down in the backfield to preserve the win for Detroit.

"I just figured it would be a run or a play-action pass,"
Fairley said. "I just scouted out the ball real good and it was
just happy I made the play."

Stafford threw for 219 yards for Detroit, which has won two in a
row for the first time since the end of September. Johnson had
six catches for 83 yards.

The Lions were clinging to a 14-10 lead when Chris Conte
intercepted an overthrown ball by Stafford and returned it 35
yards to the Detroit 9.

Forte then had a touchdown run negated by a holding penalty on
left guard Matt Slauson and an apparent scoring pass to Alshon
Jeffery was overturned when a replay showed he lost control of
the ball when he hit the ground.

Robbie Gould's 32-yard field goal trimmed the Lions' lead to one
with 9:17 remaining, setting the stage for the frantic finish.

It was Cutler's first game since he was sacked by Redskins nose
tackle Chris Baker in the first half of Chicago's 45-41 loss at
Washington on Oct. 20. He had to be helped off the field, and an
MRI revealed a torn groin muscle that was expected to sideline
the quarterback for at least four weeks.

Cutler had other ideas.

The Bears had a bye week after the Washington loss, and Cutler
watched while McCown led Chicago to a big 27-20 victory at Green
Bay last Monday. Cutler then was cleared to play on Thursday and
made the start against Detroit with the Lions, Bears and Packers
all tied for the NFC North lead entering the day.

He insisted he was 100 percent, but it was clear his groin was
bothering him more and more as the game wore on. He grabbed his
groin area and dropped to the ground after one third-quarter
throw. He then popped right back up and remained in the game.

"It held up OK. It's all on the same leg so I think that was a
problem," said Cutler, referring the groin and ankle injuries.
"But the groin, you take the ankle out of the equation and I
would have been fine, I think."

Cutler threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Marshall on the first
drive of the game. But he also had a pass tipped by Ndamukong
Suh and grabbed by DeAndre Levy in the end zone for the
linebacker's fifth interception.

NOTES: Levy began the day tied with seven other players for the
NFL lead in interceptions. ... Each team played without a key
defensive end. Detroit rookie Ziggy Ansah was out with a left
ankle injury, and Chicago's Shea McClellin tweaked a hamstring
during practice after he had three sacks in the victory at Green
Bay. ... Lions RB Montell Owens left in the first quarter with a
knee injury and did not return.


AP NFL website:


Jay Cohen can be reached at

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