(AP) Lions hold on for 21-19 victory over Bears
By JAY COHEN
AP Sports Writer
Calvin Johnson stepped up when Detroit needed him the most. Similar to what Herman Moore used to do for the Lions.
Johnson had two second-half touchdown receptions, Reggie Bush rushed for 105 yards and the Detroit Lions beat Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears 21-19 on Sunday in a key matchup of NFC North rivals.
Johnson broke Moore’s franchise record with his 63rd career touchdown reception with 2:22 to go, giving the Lions a 21-13 lead with a 14-yard grab in the corner of the end zone. He also had a tiebreaking 4-yard TD reception on the first drive in the third quarter.
Bush had 89 yards on the ground in the second half as Detroit (6-3) swept the season series against Chicago (5-4). The Lions, Bears and Packers began the day in a three-way tie for the division lead.
Cutler threw for 250 yards and a touchdown in his first action since he injured his groin last month. He looked progressively worse as the game wore on and departed before the Bears’ final drive with what the team said was an ankle injury.
Josh McCown came in and drove the Bears right 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.
Matthew 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.
Johnson’s eighth touchdown reception of the season capped a five-play, 66-yard drive and gave Detroit a 14-7 lead after Chicago kicked off to begin the second half. Bush set up the TD with a 39-yard run that featured a terrific move on Bears free safety Chris Conte.
Conte got even in the fourth, intercepting an overthrown ball by Stafford and returning 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 31-yard field goal trimmed the Lions’ lead to 14-13 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, himself, 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.
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.
Cutler’s big right arm sure looked fine. He led the Bears right down the field on the opening drive of the game, throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Marshall for a 7-0 lead.
The Lions responded with a 12-play, 85-yard drive on their first possession. Stafford completed each of his first six passes, including a 5-yard throw to Kris Durham for the tying score.
At that point, it looked as if it would be a high-scoring showdown between Stafford and Cutler, but that was all the scoring for the first half.
Each team was stopped on a fourth-and-1 deep in its opponent’s territory, and Cutler had a pass tipped by Ndamukong Suh and grabbed by DeAndre Levy in the end zone for the linebacker’s fifth interception.
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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap