Bears lead Lions 13-0 after 3 quarters


Bears lead Lions 13-0 after 3 quarters

CHICAGO (AP) Jay Cutler threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall and the Chicago Bears held a 13-0 lead over the Detroit Lions after three quarters on Monday night.

The Bears are trying to solidify their spot at the top of the NFC North, while the last-place Lions are trying to get back into the race and avoid its fourth loss in five games.

Midway through the second quarter, the Bears had a scare when Cutler was slammed to the ground on a sack by Ndamukong Suh. Cutler was on the ground for a few minutes and was attended to by a team trainer before jogging off the field. He was replaced by Jason Campbell for just one play. Cutler threw an incomplete pass as the Bears went three and out.

But Cutler didn't return on the Bears' next possession. After Detroit's Mikel Leshoure lost a fumble to Julius Peppers on the Chicago 18, Cutler was replaced again by Campbell as Cutler was getting his ribs evaluated in the locker room.

Cutler, who started the second half, was 12 of 26 for 96 yards and had 35 yards rushing after three quarters.

Back from their week off, the Bears took advantage of a dropped pass by Calvin Johnson, who was wide open for a potential big gain on third down on Detroit's opening possession. On the Bears' ensuing drive, Cutler kept it alive by running for 10 yards on third-and-long. One play later, Matt Forte preceded Marshall's touchdown catch with a 39-yard run.

Chicago has already tied a club record by returning five interceptions for touchdowns - all in the past three games. They didn't get the big play on defense, but they forced three Lions' turnovers.

On Chicago's third drive of the quarter, Cutler scrambled for 24 yards and 15 more yards was tacked on after Corey Williams was called for a personal foul. The Bears eventually settled for a 39-yard field goal by Robbie Gould for a 10-0 lead.

The Bears had another opportunity to score after driving from its own one yard line, but Gould had his 47-yard field goal attempt blocked by Lawrence Jackson.

After Detroit's defense forced a Chicago three and out on the first possession of the third quarter. Stefan Logan dropped a punt and it was recovered by Chicago's Zack Bowman, who was signed last week. Michael Bush had 12 yard run and Cutler connected on a pass to Marshall for 12 yards, his first completion since being injured. But the Bears had to settle for another field goal from Gould to put them up 13-0.

Johnson finally caught a pass for Detroit midway through the third quarter as the Lions were putting together an impressive drive. On the following play, Johnson drew a pass interference call on Charles Tillman putting the ball at the Chicago 1. On the next play, Tillman denied Johnson a touchdown reception and the Lions tried to punch it in with a run by Joique Bell. Bell tried to leap into the end zone, but while he was reaching out the ball, Henry Melton knocked it out and it was recovered at the 5 by Brian Urlacher. The turnover knocked out a Lions' 79-yard drive.

The Lions have a chance to get back to .500 after a three-game losing streak put their season in peril. That ended last week, when they erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and beat Philadelphia 26-23 in overtime. But they still are last in the division, two games behind Chicago with Minnesota and Green Bay ahead of them.

Lions cornerback Bill Bentley was inactive, leaving Detroit without their top two right cornerbacks. Jacob Lacey had already been ruled out after suffering a concussion last week against Philadelphia, and with Bentley out after being listed as doubtful, Jonte Green started at right cornerback.

To shore up depth in their secondary, the Lions signed cornerback Justin Miller and released linebacker Doug Hogue. Detroit made the roster moves Monday morning. Miller hasn't played in the NFL since 2009 when he appeared in one game for the New York Jets and one with Oakland. Miller had a shot to help Detroit's weak secondary when the season started, but he was among the Lions' final cuts.

The struggles continued on offense for the Lions, who have yet to score a touchdown this season in the first quarter.

Matthew Stafford has struggled at Soldier Field. As a rookie, Stafford injured his knee in a loss. In 2010, he separated his right shoulder on a hit from Julius Peppers. Last year, he threw four interceptions in a loss while playing with a broken finger. Stafford was 14 of 25 for 105 yards and was sacked twice after three quarters. He only connected with Johnson once for 6 yards.


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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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