CLEVELAND (AP) Jay Cutler shook off some early rustiness and threw three touchdown passes in his first start since Nov. 10, leading the Chicago Bears to a 38-31 win Sunday over the Cleveland Browns.
Cutler, who missed Chicago's previous four games with a sprained left ankle, threw a 4-yard TD pass to Earl Bennett with 5:41 left as Bears (8-6) rallied in the second half and stayed in contention for an NFC playoff spot.
Cutler finished 22 of 31 for 265 yards and validated first-year coach Marc Trestman's decision to stick with him over backup Josh McCown, who had played well while filling in for Chicago's starter.
The Browns (4-10) scored two defensive touchdowns, but as has been the case in recent weeks, Cleveland couldn't get the big stop when it needed one. The Browns have lost five straight, eight of nine and dropped at least 10 games in six straight seasons.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org