Trubisky, Chicago Bears rumble to victory over Browns
If the Chicago Bears accomplished nothing else in another forgettable, double-digit-loss season, they established that they're clearly better than the winless Cleveland Browns.
In what is expected to be John Fox's last home game as Bears coach, his team improved to 5-10 Sunday with a 20-3 victory, while dropping the Browns to 0-15.
"This game is only fun when you win, whether it's you guys (the media), fans, coaches or players," said Fox, who is 14-33 in his three years in Chicago. "It always feels good to win."
The game was played in front of 20,243 vacant seats, with a light snow falling throughout and less-than-ideal footing. There were 58,796 tickets distributed and 41,257 hearty souls in attendance at Soldier Field, which has a capacity of 61,500.
No one was gloating about defeating the Browns, who will become the second-ever 0-16 team with a loss next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But the Bears do take solace in having defeated the Steelers, Panthers and Ravens -- all playoff teams or contending for the postseason.
"There's no doubt in our minds that we're a good team," said defensive end Akiem Hicks, who shared the Bears' only sack with linebacker Sam Acho. "What we've done, truly, is underperform in certain areas. We have to be able to execute consistently."
Acho, who had 5 of the Bears' 10 quarterback pressures, cited the team's 5 losses of 7 points or fewer as an example that they might not be as far away as critics contend.
"We know the line between winning and losing is razor thin," Acho said. "We've seen that time and time again.
You have to do the little things and do them consistently."
The continued improvement of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky is another reason teammates cite for optimism.
Trubisky turned in another impressive performance in his 11th start, improving his won-lost record to 4-7.
He completed 14 of 23 passes for 193 yards for an 87.8 passer rating, easily besting fellow rookie DeShone Kizer, who has been at the helm for 14 of the Browns' 15 losses. Kizer completed 18 of 36 passes for 182 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions for a 41.7 passer rating.
Trubisky bulled his way across the goal line with second-effort determination on a quarterback draw for a 4-yard TD that capped the scoring with 3:27 left in the third quarter. The QB ran seven times for 44 yards, tying Jordan Howard for rushing honors. Howard needed 22 carries to get his 44 yards on the uncertain turf, but he scored twice.
The Bears dodged a bullet on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Trubisky's screen pass was tipped and then picked off by No. 1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett. The Browns' defensive end went 42 yards for an apparent touchdown, but the play was nullified by an offside call against the Browns' Carl Nassib.
Three plays later, Benny Cunningham went 40 yards with a screen pass, and on the next snap Howard bolted up the middle for 16 yards and a TD, giving the Bears a 13-3 lead.
After 8 first-half punts, 4 by each team, the Browns got on the scoreboard with a 48-yard Zane Gonzalez field goal that barely cleared the crossbar and cut the Bears' lead to 6-3 with one second remaining before the break.
On their previous possession, the Browns put together a 12-play drive, but it was snuffed out by Kyle Fuller's end-zone interception of a DeShone Kizer pass intended for Josh Gordon.
It was Fuller's second interception, tying him for the team lead with rookie safety Eddie Jackson. Later, Bryce Callahan got his second pick of the season, giving the Bears a season total of 8.
In the previous two seasons, the Bears set and then tied the franchise-low with just 8 interceptions.
Howard plowed though the slush and snow, which wasn't completely cleared until the second half, for a 2-yard touchdown run put the Bears ahead 6-0 late in the first quarter.
Mike Nugent's extra-point attempt was partially blocked.
Despite a sloppy track caused by light snow that began a few hours before kickoff, Trubisky completed a 24-yard pass to tight end Dion Simms to jump-start the 57-yard drive. Trubisky also ran three times for 20 yards.
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