The countdown has ended at 364 days.
In danger of going a full calendar year without a victory at Soldier Field, the Bears mercifully put an end to that streak as they defeated the Detroit Lions, 17-14, on Sunday afternoon. The win also snapped a a six-game losing streak to their NFC North rival with the previous win coming in Lovie Smith's final game as head coach of the Bears on Dec. 30, 2012.
Starting at quarterback for the second-straight game due to Jay Cutler's sprained thumb, Brian Hoyer (28/36, 302 yards, two touchdowns) had the Bears offense clicking on all cylinders from the outset. In their second series, Hoyer engineered a 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive as he completed passes to three different wide receivers. Hoyer capped off the drive when he escaped the pocket and kept the play alive with his mobility before setting his feet and finding Eddie Royal for a four-yard touchdown score.
The Bears defense forced the Lions to go three-and-out on three of their first four possessions before a Matt Prater 50-yard field goal gave the Lions their first score of contest midway through the first half. Despite being dominated in the first half, the Lions stole some momentum after Bears kicker Connor Barth missed a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right — ironically on the same day former Bears kicker Robbie Gould's picture was featured on the gameday ticket — late in the second quarter. Following Barth's miss, the Lions marched deep into Bears territory for a possible go-ahead score, but Matt Stafford was picked off by Jacoby Glenn to close out the first half.
Coming out of the break, the Lions quickly moved the ball down to the Bears' one-yard line, but were stuffed on consecutive running attempts before having to settle for a Prater chip shot, 21-yard field goal.
The Bears responded immediately when Hoyer connected with Royal for a 64-yard reception to put the Bears in scoring position. Just three plays later, Hoyer found tight end Zack Miller for a six-yard touchdown reception to give the Bears a 14-6 lead.
Bears rookie cornerback Deiondre' Hall all but sealed the victory when he picked off Stafford with under five minutes remaining with the Lions deep in Bears territory,
The Bears offense got a boost from rookie running back Jordan Howard, who made his first career NFL start. Howard finished the game with 111 yards on 23 carries and also hauled in three receptions for 21 yards.
Royal notched his first career 100-yard receiving game with the Bears as he had seven receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Hoyer, who moved his record to 16-12 as a starting quarterback, completed passes to seven different wide receivers.
Wide receiver Kevin White left Sunday's game with a left ankle injury. Before departing, White had six receptions for 55 yards.
The Bears will look for consecutive victories when they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in Week 5.