Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears drops back to pass under the protection of teammates Roberto Garza #63 and Olin Kreutz #57 against the Detroit Lions during the NFL season opening game at Soldier Field on September 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.
The Bears pulled out a win, 19-14, over the Lions at Soldier Field on Sunday, despite turning the ball over four times and having huge problems getting in the end zone.
Chicago was down 14-13 in the final three minutes of the game when Cutler connected Matt Forter for a 25-yard TD. He opened the final drive by hitting Chester Taylor for 18 yards, then Greg Olsen for 13. Though they weren't successful in the two-point conversion, the touchdown was enough to put them ahead for good. But their lead almost evaporated in the final seconds of the game.
With 24 seconds left, Shaun Hill connected with Calvin Johnson in the end zone, but the touchdown was taken off the board because officials ruled Johnson didn't mantain possession through the catch.
That's the good news. The bad news is the Bears made a number of terrible goal line calls, coughed up the ball multiple times and barely handled an injury-rattled Lions team.
The offensive drive that will Bears fans will be angry about for years to come came in the fourth quarter. Lance Briggs laid a monster sack on back up quarterbak Shaun Hill, forcing a fumble. With the Bears down by one and on the one-yard line, the Bears offense was unable to score on three tries. On fourth down, trailing by one, the Bears inexplicably went for the touchdown instead of going for an easy field goal that would have put them ahead. Matt Forte was unable to score, leaving the Bears behind the Lions.
It was the second such goal line stand on which the Bears failed to score.
Still, the Bears showed flashes of competence on offense, with Matt Forte providing some electricity. With less than two minutes left in the first half, Forte caught a short pass from Cutler and broke free for an 89-yard touchdown run. When the Lions got the ball back, Julius Peppers sacked Matt Stafford, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Tommie Harris. The hit knocked Stafford out of the game with an injury. The Bears turned that defensive coup into points, scoring a field goal in the last play of the first half.
The Bears defense was stellar, doing everything they could to set up the offense. Urlacher and Peppers both notched sacks. Briggs, reportedly nursing injuries, was all over the field, making seven tackles, assisting on another and breaking up a pass. Charles "Peanut" Tillman prevented a Lions touchdown with an interception.
They also knocked out the Lions starting quarterback. On the Peppers sack, Stafford injured his left shoulder and didn't return to the game. He was seen on the sidelines in the second half wearing a sling.
Statistically, the Bears offense looked like Super Bowl contenders. Cutler threw for 372 yards, going 23-35 with two touchdowns and an interception. Forte led the team in rushing, with 50 yards, and receiving, with 151 yards on seven catches. Devin Aromashodu -- who dropped a pass in the end zone in the first quarter -- had 71 yards. But all of that offensive production did not amount to much when the team was prone to turning the ball over in scoring situations.
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Bear Down, Chicago.