Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - The Chicago Bears did their part in an attempt
to get into the playoffs, but it wasn't enough.
Despite taking a 26-24 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Chicago will miss
the playoffs for a second straight season after Minnesota took a 37-34 win
over Green Bay on a last second field goal.
"We realized going into the game that it was out of our hands after the game,"
said Chicago head coach Lovie Smith. "We just needed to take care of what we
could control and that was winning the game."
Jay Cutler threw a touchdown pass and was 18-for-31 with 257 yards for the
Bears (10-6), who won their final two games of the season, but saw a promising
7-1 start followed by a string of five losses in six games. Matt Forte ran for
103 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown while Olindo Mare kicked four field
"The one statistic that meant something today was the four turnovers our
defense grabbed," said Smith. "And that's what we've been doing all year,
taking the football away. Just an outstanding job from those guys."
Matt Stafford went 24-for-42 for 272 yards with three touchdowns and an
interception for the Lions (4-12), who completed a highly disappointing season
with eight straight losses.
"When the story of the season is written it's going to say 4-12 and no one is
happy with that," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "Players, coaches,
front office, ownership, everybody. Everybody is in the same boat with that.
No one is happy with this. I'm not proud of our record, but I am proud of this
team and the way they fought all year long."
Stafford fell 33 yards short of 5,000 for the season, but he did become the
first quarterback to throw over 700 pass attempts in one season, as he
finished the 2012 campaign with 727 attempts.
Many of those passes went to superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who broke
the single-season receiving yardage record last week. He posted five catches
for 72 yards on Sunday for a total of 122 catches for 1,964 yards in 2012,
although he had just five touchdown catches on the year.
Chicago led 20-10 at the half, but Detroit's first touch of the third quarter
bore fruit and the team was able to cut into its 10-point deficit. Thanks to
catches of 18 and 24 yards by Johnson, the Lions got into the red zone before
Stafford capped the 9-play drive with a 10-yard scoring toss to Will Heller to
make it a 20-17 game with 6:31 to play in the period.
After holding the Bears to a brief possession, Detroit got the ball back at
its own 8-yard line, but Stafford fumbled a handoff attempt to Mikel Leshoure
and Chicago recovered at the 13.
Detroit's defense, though, held tough and limited Chicago to a 28-yard field
goal from Mare to make it a 23-17 contest with 1:49 showing on the third-
Chicago ended the third quarter with the ball and converted a 3rd-and-8 when
Brandon Marshall caught a 10-yard pass down to the Detroit 2. However, two
passes fell incomplete and Forte was unable to punch it in, with Mare's 20-
yard field goal with 10:47 to play giving Chicago a 26-17 lead.
The Lions responded with a scoring drive to keep it close. On 3rd-and-5,
Stafford connected with Tony Scheffler for seven yards. Facing a 3rd-and-10
later on, Stafford scrambled but slid after getting just four yards. However,
Lance Briggs hit him high and was whistled for unnecessary roughness to enable
Detroit to keep the ball.
After completions of 21 and 19 yards got the ball to the 9-yard line, Stafford
hit Brian Robiskie in the end zone to make it a 26-24 game with 6:55 left on
Chicago was forced to punt after a short drive, but Detroit also went three-
and-out with the Bears getting the ball back at their own 40 with 3:40 to
play. On 3rd-and-3, Cutler ran for 19 yards to move the chains, and that
essentially killed the game since Detroit had already used two of its
After converting another first down at the two-minute warning, Cutler went
into the victory formation to end the game.
After a quick three-and-out from the Lions to start the game, Chicago got into
scoring position on its first play, as Cutler threw deep down the right
sideline and Alshon Jeffery came down with it for a 55-yard strike.
The play moved the ball to the Detroit 27, but the team was facing a 3rd-
and-13 after a false start call and Cutler fumbled the ball on the play.
Detroit's Kyle Vanden Bosch initially recovered the ball, but had it knocked
out of his hands and Forte fell on it at midfield.
Getting the ball back at their own 9, the Lions got a 28-yard catch from
Scheffler on the first play and Johnson followed with an 18-yard catch. The
drive stalled at the Chicago 26, however, and Jason Hanson kicked a 44-yard
field goal for a 3-0 lead with 5:54 to play in the first quarter.
It didn't take long for the Bears to grab the lead, though. On the third play
of the ensuing possession, Cutler dumped the ball out to his left for a screen
pass to Earl Bennett, who turned the corner and raced into the end zone for a
60-yard score and a 7-3 edge.
Detroit's Joique Bell fumbled the ball as he was hit on the following kickoff
and the Bears recovered at the Lions' 24, which led to a 33-yard field goal
from Mare for a 10-3 lead with 2:59 to play in the first.
With just over four minutes to play in the first half, Mare missed a 43-yard
field goal attempt to the right, but the Bears got the ball back two plays
later as Israel Idonije stripped Stafford of the ball and Julius Peppers
recovered at the Detroit 10.
After a pass interference call on third down moved the ball to the 1, Forte
punched it in for a 17-3 lead with 3:26 to go before halftime.
Stafford continued to turn the ball over, as he was then picked off by Tim
Jennings and Chicago took over at the Detroit 23. Chicago only moved one yard,
however, and a 40-yard field goal from Mare gave the team a 20-3 lead with
1:49 left in the half.
The Lions came right back down the field, though, converting two third downs
and finishing the drive when Stafford lofted a pass down the left side and
Kris Durham came down with it for a 25-yard score. The first touchdown of his
career brought Detroit to within 20-10 going into the break.
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher missed his fourth straight game with a
strained hamstring ... Detroit went just 2-6 at home this season and was 0-6
against the NFC North ... Chicago was 5-3 on the road and 3-3 in the division
... Johnson had his NFL record of consecutive 100-yard receiving games snapped
at eight ... Chicago has won three straight and nine of its last 10 games
against the Lions ... Chicago held the ball for a little over 34 minutes and
totaled 389 yards, while the Lions managed 327 yards.
The Sports Network