The top story line following Sunday’s home loss for the Bears was of course Jay Cutler's fourth quarter exit. While the quarterback switch came later than some fans may have wanted, head coach Marc Trestman did make the difficult decision to pull Cutler in favor of the healthier Josh McCown on the final drive.
Trailing the Lions by eight points, McCown led the Bears on a quick scoring drive that would pull them within two points of Detroit. After a penalty on the first two-point conversion attempt, Matt Forte took a handoff from McCown, but was met immediately by Nick Fairley. The Lions beefy defensive tackle got across the face of Roberto Garza off the snap and swallowed up Forte to give the Lions a 21-19 win at Soldier Field.
“We knew it was going to be a run or a play-action pass,” Fairley said. “We knew they just wasn’t going to drop back and throw the ball. I just read my keys and I had a big A-gap and I jumped in and was so happy it was a run to my side and I was able to make the play.”
Fairley wasn’t the only Lions defender who sniffed out the run call.
“We knew it was a run the whole way,” said defensive end Willie Young. “We both kind of had a good feeling it was run and obviously you could tell we wasn’t playing pass on that last play.”
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Ndamukong Suh made a variety of key plays throughout the game, including a tipped pass that led to a Lions interception to end the first half. Although he wasn’t the one who made the stop at the end of the game, Suh was just glad somebody else was able to do so.
“Nick just made a great, great play,” Suh said. “That’s the type of guy he is and that’s what we expect from him. That’s just what it came down to, a guy stepping up and making a great play.”
How did Fairley feel following a tackle that gave Detroit sole possession of first place in the NFC North?
“Excited,” Fairley said. “I had just made a game-changing play. That what we always want as a defensive line is for someone to go make a game-changing play and that was me today.”
Would the Bears have converted on the second attempt if they had went to the air instead of trying to get the one yard they needed on the ground?
"It is easy to say that now, after the fact," Forte said. "If we would have thrown the ball and missed it, it would have been, 'Should we have run it?'"
But, it should not have been a huge shock that the Lions defense would find a way to stop Forte when the game was on the line, considering the Bears running back was limited to only 33 yards on 17 carries the entire afternoon.
“We understood that Forte was a big part of their offense and they wanted to get him started, whether it was inside or outside,” Suh said. “We want to make sure nobody runs against us. We make them one-dimensional and we feel like we did a pretty good job of doing that.”