Final

Lions 14

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Bears 19

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, September 12, 2010

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL 

1 2 3 4 T
DET 7 7 0 014
CHI 3 10 0 619

Top Performers

Passing: J. Cutler (CHI) - 372 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Forte (CHI) - 17 CAR, 50 YDS

Receiving: M. Forte (CHI) - 7 REC, 151 YDS, 2 TD

Calvin Johnson's TD catch overruled; Bears survive vs. Lions

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Calvin Johnson was celebrating what he thought was the go-ahead touchdown catch, a leaping grab in the end zone that would give the Detroit Lions their first road win in three years.

Instead, they lost the game. They also lost their starting quarterback.

Jay Cutler threw for 372 yards and hit Matt Forte with a late 28-yard touchdown pass, and the Bears beat the Detroit Lions 19-14 in the season opener after Johnson's apparent touchdown catch was ruled an incompletion.

The Lions lost quarterback Matthew Stafford to a shoulder injury at the end of the first half, but were still in position to pull this one out even after they fell behind late in the game. For a few moments, it looked like they had done just that.

The Lions had second-and-10 at the 25 with 31 seconds left when Johnson outjumped Chicago's Zack Bowman in the end zone for what looked like a touchdown. He appeared to have gotten both feet down inbounds and rolled over before letting the ball go, but what looked like a potential game-winner was ruled an incomplete pass by the officials.

Referee Gene Steratore said, "The ruling is that in order for the catch to be completed he has got to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch."

Johnson was "shocked" by the call, saying, "I figure if I got two feet and a knee down, to me that is a catch that's why I got up and took off," he said.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the officials got it right.

"The rule is if you're going to the ground in the process of making the catch you need to finish with the football," he said. "He didn't finish with the football. He was [aware] he was trying to come down with it, he had one hand to keep it away from the other guy, he is trying to get his feet down and go to a knee it wasn't like he was trying to flip it to the official or anything. That's what it is."

Bears coach Lovie Smith said he didn't even see the need for the review, saying "I thought it was cut and dry."

The rule is if you're going to the ground in the process of making the catch you need to finish with the football. He didn't finish with the football. He was [aware] he was trying to come down with it, he had one hand to keep it away from the other guy, he is trying to get his feet down and go to a knee it wasn't like he was trying to flip it to the official or anything.

-- Lions coach Jim Schwartz on rule overruling Calvin Johnson's TD

After two more incompletions, the Lions walked off the field with their 21st straight road loss since a win at Soldier Field in October 2007, and Schwartz certainly wasn't about to point his finger at the referees.

"The time I stand up here and start blaming officials for a loss is the time I don't need to be doing this anymore," he said.

The real concern for the Lions is Stafford.

He left the game with a right shoulder injury after a blindside sack by Julius Peppers late in the first half but the Lions were in position to win until Forte hauled in that pass from Cutler with 1:32 left. He crashed to the turf and stayed down for a few moments after making an over-the-shoulder catch along the left side in the end zone.

The Bears outgained the Lions 463-168 but were trailing for most of the day thanks to four turnovers.

"If it wasn't turnovers, it was little things," Cutler said. "I think all of the guys in the huddle knew it. We are on the verge of becoming I think a very good offense. We've got to clear some things up."

There was also a questionable decision by Smith after Lance Briggs recovered a fumble by Shaun Hill at the Lions 1 after sacking him early in the fourth with the Bears trailing by one.

After three plays went nowhere, Smith decided to go for it on fourth down rather than have Robbie Gould kick a field goal. Forte, who had been stopped twice on the possession, got swarmed and the crowd let out loud boos.

"I felt like we were playing great defense and I just didn't feel good about having three points in that situation," Smith said. "The worst-case scenario would have been for us not to get it and we still had them backed up. It was a field position game throughout. I'd make that call every time."

Cutler completed 23 of 35 passes, with Forte catching seven for 151 yards -- the second most by a Bears running back behind Hall of Famer George McAfee's 157 against St. Louis in 1947. Forte's day included an 89-yard screen for a touchdown near the end of the first half, pulling Chicago within 14-10.

Forte's 89-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter is the longest TD from scrimmage by a Bears running back in franchise history.

Moments later, Stafford went down. He was hit in the shoulder by Peppers as he dropped back to pass and landed on it, the ball coming loose in the process.

Chicago's Tommie Harris recovered, and the Bears took over on the 37 after a 15-yard penalty against Brian Urlacher with 15 seconds left, setting up a field goal by Gould that made it 14-13.

Stafford had his arm in a sling as the second half started.

Rookie Jahvid Best had two touchdowns rushing as the Lions built a 14-3 lead, before the Bears came back. Even so, squeaking by a team with a league-record 30 losses over the previous two seasons probably did little to ease angst around Chicago, even if the Lions appear to be improved. Bears fans are looking for more after a 7-9 finish and third straight playoff miss, but Cutler wasn't complaining.

"It's the first game," he said. "A win is a win, we're going to take it any way we can get it.

Game notes


Lions MLB DeAndre Levy was inactive because of a groin injury. Landon Johnson started in his place. ... Lions CB Aaron Berry, who had an interception in the first half, left the game with a shoulder injury. ... Bears LBs Nick Roach (hamstring) and Hunter Hillenmeyer (illness) left the game. Mark Anderson started at left defensive end for Chicago over Israel Idonije. ... Bears LS Patrick Mannelly tied Walter Payton for second on the Bears' all-time appearances list with 190 -- one behind Steve McMichael.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DET
CHI
1st Downs1323
Passing 1st downs
915
Rushing 1st downs
34
1st downs from penalties
14
3rd down efficiency
4-146-14
4th down efficiency
0-10-1
Total Plays5770
Total Yards168463
Yards per play2.96.6
Total Drives1416
Passing148362
Comp-Att
20-3423-35
Yards per pass
4.19.3
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-234-10
Rushing20101
Rushing Attempts
2131
Yards per rush
1.03.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-21-5
Penalties7-409-100
Turnovers34
Fumbles lost
23
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession25:1834:42

Passing Leaders

DETC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hill9/19884.6011-9
Stafford11/15835.5001-14
CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cutler23/3537210.6214-10

Rushing Leaders

DETCARYDSAVGTDLG
Best14201.428
Felton273.505
CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Forte17502.9017
Taylor9293.2010

Receiving Leaders

DETRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson44511.3016
Scheffler6437.2010
CHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Forte715121.6289
Aromashodu57114.2021

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDETCHI
chiFG9:06Robbie Gould 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 64 yds, 5:57
03
detTD2:19Jahvid Best 7 Yard Run (Jason Hanson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 42 yds, 3:18
73
SECOND QUARTERDETCHI
detTD1:33Jahvid Best 4 Yard Run (Jason Hanson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 60 yds, 4:33
143
chiTD1:18Matt Forte 89 Yard Pass From Jay Cutler (Robbie Gould Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 79 yds, 0:27
1410
chiFG0:04Robbie Gould 31 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 24 yds, 0:15
1413
FOURTH QUARTERDETCHI
chiTD1:40Matt Forte 28 Yard Pass From Jay Cutler (Jay Cutler Pass to Devin Aromashodu For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 56 yds, 1:49
1419

Research Notes

Here's the rule that will be talked about with Calvin Johnson's incomplete catch in the Lions-Bears game. It's in page 51 if anyone has a hard copy of the record book. Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 PLAYER GOING TO THE GROUND: "If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."
Jay Cutler threw for 372 yards, the 2nd most yards he's thrown for in a game in his career. It's by far the most by a Bears player in a season opener in franchise history.
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