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updated: 9/29/2013 7:22 PM

Four minutes of bad too much for Bears to overcome

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  • Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley runs into the end zone after recovering a fumble by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the third quarter Sunday at Detroit.

      Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley runs into the end zone after recovering a fumble by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the third quarter Sunday at Detroit.
    Associated Press

  • Bears running back Matt Forte is stopped by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in Sunday's third quarter at Ford Field in Detroit.

      Bears running back Matt Forte is stopped by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in Sunday's third quarter at Ford Field in Detroit.
    Associated Press

 
 

DETROIT -- It took less than four minutes.

In that short time span in the second quarter, the Bears went from an undefeated team with a lead to a team looking for cover after the roof caved in under the weight of 3 rapid-fire Lions touchdowns.

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To their credit, the Bears regrouped after halftime and rallied, but it wasn't enough in a 40-32 loss that left the two teams tied for the NFC North lead at 3-1.

"They won all three phases, and they deserved to win the game," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "At halftime we got together and talked to our team (and said) 'There will be a time like this, where the game appears to be out of hand.'

"We decided we were going to collect ourselves and play the next 30 minutes and see more about ourselves.

"There are no moral victories, but I thought our guys played tough for the last 30 minutes."

That couldn't make up for the microwave-fast meltdown in the last half of the second quarter.

After being held to field goals on three drives deep into Bears territory, the Lions found the end zone after Michael Spurlock gave them great field position with a 57-yard punt return. The 22-yard drive gave Detroit a 16-10 advantage.

It got worse, way worse, and in a hurry.

On the ensuing play from scrimmage Bears quarterback Jay Cutler launched a long ball off his back foot down the sideline for Brandon Marshall. The underthrown pass was stolen away by Lions safety Glover Quin, who came over from the middle of the field to make the play.

Quin returned the pick 29 yards to the Bears' 2, and quarterback Matthew Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on a fade for a 23-10 lead.

The nightmare wasn't over.

One play after a short Adam Podlesh punt gave the Lions the ball at midfield, Reggie Bush bolted 37 yards for another TD and a 30-10 lead with 2:43 left before halftime.

For the Lions, 21 points in three minutes, 26 seconds.

For the Bears, back to the drawing board.

"We won't change the way we do business," Trestman said. "We'll go back to work and get the things done we need to do to get better as a football team."

The Quin interception was the second of 3 by Cutler, who also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

"Three picks it's hard to come back from that," Cutler said. "I have to play better. I felt good about my decision-making, I just missed the throws."

The 4 turnovers put the defense in a tough spot.

But it could have helped itself by doing a better job on Bush, who ran through gaping holes, juked defenders and broke tackles all afternoon, picking up 139 yards on 18 carries for a 7.7-yard average. He also caught 4 passes for 34 yards.

"I think we just missed a lot of tackles," Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said. "And he did a good job of making his moves. You have to give credit where credit is due. He's a good back."

The Bears' offense flashed some of its own big-play prowess when it needed just two plays to go 80 yards and take a 10-6 lead 1:16 into the second quarter.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (5 catches, 107 yards) picked up 27 yards on an end around, picking up a key block from fullback Tony Fiametta.

Then Matt Forte (95 yards on 14 carries) went 53 yards untouched for the TD, thanks to blocks by Jeffery and Brandon Marshall (7 catches, 79 yards).

But the offense couldn't overcome its own giveaways or its failure to convert on third down (1-for-13), although 2 touchdowns in the final four minutes gave them hope until an onside kick was covered by the Lions with 42 seconds remaining.

The Bears say they never lost hope and will bounce back from their first loss under Trestman.

"The last three games we've done a good job in the second half, so we know we could withstand some blows early, withstand some adversity and be able to go out in the second half and put points on the board," rookie guard Kyle Long said.

"I thought we'd do the same thing, except we got ourselves in too deep of a hole this time."

•Follow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.

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