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Anatomy of a Drive: Bears Take the Lead

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Anatomy of a Drive: Bears Take the Lead

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Brandon Manumaleuna

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The Bears were losing to the Lions in the fourth quarter, a frightening thought. 

Thankfully, the Lions were slowing down late in the game, and the Bears were just heating up. Chicago put together a drive that featured impressive gains from Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Earl Bennett and improbably, Brandon Manumaleuna.

After getting the ball on downs, the Bears started out on their own 41-yard line.

-- Cutler passed to Forte down the middle for 20 yard gain: Forte showed his versatility, making a leaping catch and eluding two Lions defenders to get the Bears into Lions territory.

-- Taylor rushed up the middle for no gain: The Lions immediately recognized the draw play and stopped it before it started. Ndamukong Suh didn't let Taylor gain an inch.

-- Cutler passed to Taylor down the middle for 6 yard gain: But when the ground attack fails, go to the air. Cutler dumped the ball off quickly to Taylor to bring the Bears to the 34-yard line, just short of the first down.
 
-- Cutler passed to Bennett to the left for 12 yard gain: Bennett was Cutler's go-to man in this game, and when the Bears needed a first down, Bennett came through again. He finished the game with 104 yards.

-- Cutler rushed to the right for 8 yard gain. Detroit committed 7 yard penalty: Cutler rolled to the right, and when he saw that he didn't have anyone to throw to, made a run for the first down. Then, Suh committed the penalty that was discussed ad nauseam. When tackling Cutler, Suh appeared at first glance to use his forearm illegally from the back and was flagged for unnecessary roughness. On slow-motion replay, it was shown not to be a forearm shiver, but a two-hand punch, which is still unnecessarily rough.

-- Cutler passed to Manumaleuna to the right for 7 yard touchdown. Gould made PAT: The Bears were spotted seven yards because of the penalty, and made good use of the excellent field position. Cutler found the rarely-used Manumaleuna, who snuck into the right corner of the end zone to give the Bears the lead for good.

The knock on the Bears win is that they couldn't have won without the iffy penalty, and that's just crazy talk. Before the flag, the Bears had a first down and were on on the Lions 15. Those extra seven yards were helpful, but hardly crucial.

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