- Created on 11 November 2013
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) celebrates after making a tackle against Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Chicago. The Lions won 21-19. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)
CHICAGO (AP) -- When the Detroit Lions needed to put together a scoring drive in the fourth quarter, Reggie Bush carried the load.
He loved every minute of it, too.
Bush carried the ball four times for 29 yards before Matthew Stafford found Calvin Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 2:22 left in Detroit's 21-19 victory at the Chicago Bears on Sunday in a key NFC North matchup.
"As a running back we try to pride ourselves on running tough and physical throughout the game," said Bush, who had 89 of his 105 yards rushing in the second half. "We all dream of that opportunity to run the clock out toward the end of the game.
"It was just one of those drives where we pressured ourselves to get out there, get the hard yards, and I think we did that."
Stafford threw for 219 yards and three TDs as Detroit (6-3) swept the season series against Chicago (5-4) for the first time since the 2007 season.
When Green Bay lost 27-13 to Philadelphia, the Lions were all alone in first in the division for the first time since the end of Week 5 of the 2005 season, according to STATS.
"We came out with a victory on the road against a really tough team," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. "It was a hard-fought win. Proud of the players, but that's the only thing that means (anything) today.
"I mean first place, you don't get any prizes for first place there nine games into the season."
Brandon Marshall had seven receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns for Chicago, which managed only 38 yards on the ground. Alshon Jeffery added 114 yards receiving on nine catches, but the Bears were left to lament a handful of missed opportunities.
"We didn't execute offensively the way we needed to execute, particularly in the running game," coach Marc Trestman said. "We just didn't get it done."
Here are five things to know after Detroit won consecutive games for the first time since the end of September:
BANGED-UP CUTLER: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 250 yards and a touchdown in his first action since he injured his groin last month. He hurt his left ankle in the second quarter and looked progressively worse as the game wore on.
Josh McCown threw a touchdown pass to Marshall on Chicago's final drive, and Cutler said he wasn't sure if he would be able to play next Sunday against Baltimore.
"I just felt really restricted in the pocket in what I was able to do and it wasn't getting out as quick and some of the throws didn't have as much on them as I wanted," Cutler said. "And I knew Josh was ready to go and I just didn't want to get to a point where I was hurting us more than I was helping us."
MEGATRON AND MOORE: Johnson finished with six receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns, including a tiebreaking score in the third quarter.
Johnson's ninth touchdown grab of the season was the 63rd of his career, breaking a tie with Herman Moore for Detroit's franchise record. Moore still leads with 670 career receptions for the Lions, but Johnson might take that record down at some point, too.
"To be a part of history for the Lions, that's a big deal," Johnson said.
KEY SEQUENCE: The Lions were clinging to a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter when Chris Conte intercepted an overthrown ball by Stafford and returned it 35 yards to the Detroit 9.
Matt Forte then had a touchdown run negated by a holding penalty on left guard Matt Slauson and an apparent scoring pass to Jeffery was overturned when a replay showed he lost control of the ball when he hit the ground. The Bears had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
"I thought the biggest series of the game was after Conte's interception when we held them to a field goal," Schwartz said. "They had a chance to go take the lead. They had a lot of momentum at that point."
OFFENSIVE LINE ISSUES: Slauson's penalty on Forte's run was costly. An offensive line breakdown also hurt Chicago on a potential tying 2-point conversion late in the game.
Forte was thrown down in the backfield by defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
"I've just got to make that block," Bears center Roberto Garza said. "That's all it comes down to. I've got to make that block and get Matt into the end zone and then we're a tie football game."
WHAT'S NEXT?: The Lions are at Pittsburgh next Sunday, and then come home for games against Tampa Bay and Green Bay. They begin the stretch with a one-game lead over the Bears and Packers in the bunched NFC North.
"We're still focused on doing things right, and we've got another tough game next week against Pittsburgh," Bush said. "It's a good win for us. Obviously, we'll take it, but we've still got to keep our focus."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
- Created on 08 November 2013
(AP Photo / Lynne Sladky, File)
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin will meet late next week in Los Angeles with the NFL's special investigator to discuss allegations in the team's harassment scandal, a person familiar with the situation said Friday.
The person confirmed the upcoming meeting to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league and team haven't announced the details of the investigation.
Meeting with Martin will be Ted Wells, a senior partner in a New York law firm with experience in sports cases. Wells was appointed Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate possible misconduct in the Dolphins' workplace and prepare a report that will be made public.
Dolphins guard Richie Incognito was suspended in the wake of allegations by Martin, who is with his family in California to undergo counseling for emotional issues. Wells is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin, and whether their teammates and the organization mishandled the matter.
Incognito has long been regarded as among the NFL's dirtiest players, and has had brushes with the law. A police report that surfaced Thursday said a female volunteer at a Dolphins charity golf tournament in May 2012 complained that Incognito harassed her. According to the report filed in the Miami suburb of Aventura, the woman said Incognito touched her inappropriately with his golf club, leaned close to her as if dancing and then emptied bottled water in her face.
Incognito was not charged. The Dolphins declined to comment Friday.
The Dolphins (4-4) will play for the first time since the scandal broke Monday night at Tampa Bay (0-8). At least 75 reporters and cameramen tracking the case were in the locker room after Thursday's practice, but receiver Brian Hartline said the scrutiny won't prevent the team from playing well.
"It almost heightens your awareness," he said. "You know it's going to take away from your focus, so it does the exact opposite. You overcompensate to make sure you stay aware of the game."
Dolphins players have robustly defended Incognito, praising his loyalty and leadership even though he's now a notorious national villain. They've been less passionate in their support of Martin, saying he and Incognito behaved like best friends.
While Martin has been a starter since the first game of his rookie season, he developed a reputation in the NFL for lacking toughness. That impression might have been reinforced by the way he handled his issues with Incognito, current and former teammates acknowledge.
"A lot of people might look at Jonathan Martin and think that he's soft because he stepped away from the game, and say, 'Why don't you just fight him?'" said Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, who played with Martin at Stanford. "Well, if you look at it with common sense and being logical, what options did Jonathan Martin have?
"He could fight Richie Incognito. He could go and tell on the players, which we know in the football locker room doesn't go over too well. Or he could remove himself from the situation and let the proper channels take care of itself. And I think he made the intelligent, smart choice without putting himself or Richie Incognito's physical abilities in danger."
- Created on 08 November 2013
Kwame Harris (pictured), a former San Francisco 49er, was convicted this week of misdemeanor domestic violence, battery, and assault for the August 2012 physical altercation that took place at a Chinese restaurant involving an ex-boyfriend, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
According to prosecutors, the 31-year-old former lineman became angry at Dimitri Geier, when he tried to pour soy sauce on his rice. The 6’7,” 240-pound player also accused Geier of stealing his underwear. The disagreement allegedly escalated when Harris allegedly pinned Geier against a window and pummeled him on his face and head.
Harris’ lawyer, Alin Cintea, countered this version of events, though, arguing that his client only threw one punch Geier’s way during the whole scuffle — and it was only done in self-defense.
The alleged “one punch” reportedly resulted in Geier suffering several facial fractures that required him to go under the knife.
The much-publicized arrest yanked Harris out of the closet as a gay man, and now he has become a mouthpiece of sorts, speaking about the plight of gay athletes in sports. Harboring the secret about his sexual orientation caused Harris much grief according to an interview with NFL.com earlier this year, where he discussed his difficulty coming out.
- Created on 07 November 2013
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Jay Cutler's time away proved shorter than the Chicago Bears originally expected.
After missing one game, the quarterback will return Sunday to face the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field following a groin tear suffered Oct. 20. Team officials originally expected Cutler to be out four weeks and then be assessed week to week, but doctors cleared Cutler to play Thursday and he practiced without a problem.
"As soon as I got hurt, I felt like I'd be back quicker than they thought," Cutler said. "I kind of had that mindset."
Coach Marc Trestman saw no reason to believe the team is pushing its starter back onto the field too soon.
"He had an excellent practice," Trestman said. "He moved around. We worked the entire game plan today: our movements, climbing the pocket, throwing the football, down the field, short throws, everything. He did everything today."
Cutler does not view his quick return as a gamble. He credited the use of an Athletic Rehabilitation and Performance machine (ARP), a device that helps heal soft tissue, with his rapid recovery.
"If I wasn't back to 100 percent, or if they had any doubts, I wouldn't have been able to practice today," he said. "That was the stipulation."
The Bears had a bye after their 45-41 loss to Washington, which provided some extra time for Cutler to recover. He suffered the injury with 10 minutes left in the first half of the Washington game on a sack, and backup Josh McCown completed the contest, then played all of Monday night's 27-20 win at Green Bay.
Cutler is slated to become a free agent after this season, but called his contract status no factor in coming back so soon.
"I haven't worried about my contract," he said. "I haven't worried about it, period. That stuff takes care of itself somehow some way.
"So my biggest thing was just helping Josh last week to make sure, even though I knew he would be ready, to make sure I could help him in anyway, and then get back as soon as possible so I could help those guys."
McCown completed 36 of 61 for 476 yards and did not turn the ball over as Cutler's replacement. He had a passer rating of 100.2. Cutler has completed 146 of 225 for 1,658 yards and 12 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He has a passer rating of 91.7.
McCown said he had no problem returning to the sidelines after playing so well.
"Jay got hurt and I served my team by playing and doing what I could to help us win a ballgame, and then play effective football when I was in there," McCown said. "When he's healthy, he comes back and he's the starter and that's how it goes. That's how we operate."