CHICAGO - Jay Cutler insisted he wasn't trying to imitate John Elway when he spun like the blades on a helicopter as he flew across the goal line in the first quarter.
He popped up after that landing, and the Chicago Bears eventually took off, too. They weren't about to let a Lions win streak get off the ground.
Cutler threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and the Bears pulled away in the second half to beat the Lions 48-24 yesterday a week after Detroit snapped its 19-game slide.
His 5-yard dash early on sparked images of Elway's highlight reel run against Green Bay in the Super Bowl, yet Cutler dismissed the comparison to a legendary predecessor in Denver.
"If I could have just dove in there nice and quietly, I would have," Cutler said.
Instead, he had to earn it. So did the Bears.
Matt Forte ran for 121 yards, rookie Johnny Knox returned a kickoff 102 yards and Chicago headed into its bye with its third straight win.
The Lions were celebrating a victory over Washington that snapped a slide that matched the second-longest in league history a week earlier. This time, they were holding their breath after watching quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 draft pick, twist his right knee while being sacked in the fourth quarter.
"It just kind of slid out," said Stafford, who will undergo tests in Detroit.
The Lions had a third down on the Bears 6 when he was sacked by Adewale Ogunleye, forcing Detroit to kick a field goal that cut Chicago's lead to 34-24. Stafford had his leg wrapped and Daunte Culpepper replaced him on Detroit's next drive.
Detroit's Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 133 yards - all but 14 of them in the first half, when he ran by Zackary Bowman. The Bears put Charles Tillman on him in the second half and that helped before Johnson left late in the game with a leg injury.
With a chance to put together consecutive wins for the first time since 2007, the Lions hung in for a half before Chicago (3-1) pulled away.
"I guess we've got to get punched in the face a couple times to realize we're in a fight," Ogunleye said.
A punch in the face was how the second half felt to the Lions. Coach Jim Schwartz called it "one of the worst" he's seen.
"We were poor on special teams, we were poor on offense, we were poor on defense, we were outcoached, we were outplayed, their trainers were probably better than ours in the second half," he said. "So credit goes to them."
Not that the Bears didn't also absorb some pain.
Devin Hester left with a shoulder injury in the second quarter and Knox injured his right shin in the second half, leaving them thin at wide receiver. Before he left the game, Knox did a spot-on impression of Hester when he ran 102 yards untouched up the right side to open the third quarter for the second-longest kickoff return in franchise history.
Forte broke off a 61-yard run that set up Chicago's first touchdown and added a 37-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Robbie Gould kicked two field goals, including a career-high 52-yarder in the third quarter, and Tommie Harris set up an early touchdown with his first career interception.
Stafford threw for 296 yards.
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