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updated: 11/24/2013 4:25 PM

Bears can't overcome Rams' fast start

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  • Chicago Bears' Devin Hester reacts after a punt he returned for an apparent touchdown was called back because of an offensive holding penalty during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in St. Louis.

      Chicago Bears' Devin Hester reacts after a punt he returned for an apparent touchdown was called back because of an offensive holding penalty during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in St. Louis.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- The Long brothers were part of a first-half tussle, and the St. Louis Rams pushed the Bears around most of the day.

Tavon Austin's 65-yard touchdown run -- his fourth straight this season from beyond midfield -- jump-started a 21-point first quarter and the defense made some big plays, too, in a 42-21 victory over the Bears on Sunday.

The Rams (5-6) followed up a 30-point rout at Indianapolis after their bye in front of their largest crowd of the season, about half of them clad Bears orange. Late scores by rookie backup running back Benny Cunningham and defensive end Robert Quinn helped finish off the Bears (6-5), who remained tied for the NFC North lead.

Josh McCown passed for 352 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for Chicago, which had won four straight in the series. The Bears had a 62-yard punt return for touchdown by Devin Hester nullified by a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.

The Longs -- Chicago guard Kyle and St. Louis defensive end Chris -- lined up close to each other all day and were the focal point of one skirmish in the first half. After McCown threw an incomplete pass to fullback Tony Fiammetta in the second half, Fiammetta and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson squared off, causing players from both teams to rumble.

Kyle Long raced down the field get to Rams end William Hayes, and had him down before his big brother intervened. Chris Long, who had taken the play off, raced off the sideline to corral Kyle Long and drag him from the fight to the sideline.

Cunningham's 9-yard run with 3:05 to play plus a 2-point conversion pass from Kellen Clemens to Isaiah Pead put the Rams up 35-21. Quinn stripped McCown on a sack and then scooped up the ball on a 31-yard return just before the 2-minute warning.

The Bears had first-and-goal at the 4 on their opening drive of the second half trailing 24-14 and got nothing when coach Marc Trestman decided against a field goal and Michael Bush was thrown for a 4-yard loss by Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

All of the Rams' home games have been televised locally. But Sunday's attendance of 66,024 was nearly 10,000 more than the previous best.

Cunningham rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries, most of it in the second half after Stacy was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. Johnson and guard Chris Williams also left following blows to the head.

McCown's passing yardage total was the third-best of his career and most since 2005.

The Rams stunned the Bears with two big plays and two touchdowns before the first capacity crowd of the year, with about a 50-50 home-road mix and orange jerseys everywhere, could settle in.

Austin's 65-yard run gave them points on their opening possession the first time all year and Stacy's 1-yard run capitalized on a lost fumble by Matt Forte at the 7 for a 14-0 cushion with 12:36 to go in the first quarter.

Jared Cook added a 6-yard catch from Clemens late in the first for a 21-7 cushion, offsetting Martellus Bennett's 7-yard reception from McCown.

The Rams totaled 29 points in the first quarter during the first 10 games before surging against a defense that been on the upswing, allowing an average of 20 points the last three games.

Brandon Marshall got free with a little push off Janoris Jenkins on a 3-yard catch that cut the gap to 21-14 with 5:19 to go in the half.

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