Bears-Lions post-game notes

The Bears needed help from all phases in the game to beat the Lions 24-16.

ROOKIE STARTERS: Bears running back Brock Forsey became the fourth rookie to start a game this season when he made his first NFL start against the Lions. In addition to Forsey, the other three Bear rookies who have started games this season were also in the starting lineup Sunday: linebacker Lance Briggs (4 starts), left cornerback Charles Tillman (4), and linebacker Joe Odom (3).

ROOKIE PRODUCERS: Chicago's first scoring drive of the game began and ended on big plays by rookies. Charles Tillman's first career interception and subsequent 32-yard return set-up the Bears' three-play, 24-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 21-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Justin Gage, the first of his career. Also warranting credit on the interception play was rookie defensive end Michael Haynes who hurried Detroit quarterback Joey Harrington with a big hit on the play. The INT return by Tillman was the longest for the Bears since the 43-yard return by R. W. McQuarters earlier this year vs. Oakland on Oct. 5.

SCORING YOUNG: In addition to the receiving touchdown by Justin Gage, fellow rookie Brock Forsey rushed for an eight-yard TD in the third quarter. The two scores marked the first time that a pair of Bears rookies combined to catch a scoring pass and run for a TD in the same game since David Terrell caught a nine-yard TD pass and Anthony Thomas ran for a two-yard TD on Jan. 6, 2001 vs. Jacksonville.

ZOOM-ZOOM-ZOOM: The 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Bears kick returner Jerry Azumah to start the second half was the first for the Bears since the 94-yarder by Glyn Milburn at Green Bay on Dec. 13, 1998. Milburn also stood as the last Bear to return a kickoff for a TD at Soldier Field with his 88-yard return in the 1998 season opener vs. Jacksonville on Sept. 6.

MORE ZOOM: Following his TD return, Jerry Azumah added to his third-quarter heroics with his cornerback play, ending Detroit's ensuing drive with an interception and 11-yard return. Back in the starting lineup for the first time in four games, Azumah's INT was his first since the final game of 2001 season vs. Jacksonville (Jan. 6) and the third of his career.

RETURN MADNESS: The 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Detroit's Reggie Swinton was the first allowed by the Bears since a 90-yard scoring return by Green Bay's Don Beebe on Oct. 6, 1996 in a game played at Soldier Field. The kickoff return for a TD was the first for the Lions since a 105-yard return by Terry Fair on Sept. 28, 1998 vs. Tampa Bay.

RETURN WAYS: Punt returner R. W. McQuarters also had success on the afternoon, producing his second-longest punt return of the season after Detroit's opening drive of the game stalled, return the ball 26 yards off the a 43-yard punt from the Lions punter Nick Harris. Chicago couldn't capitalize on the drive that began at the home team's 47-yard line following the longest punt return McQuarters since his 54-yard return vs. Oakland on Oct. 5. On the afternoon, McQuarters returned a season-high five punts for an 11.2-yard average.

LEADING LYMAN:Tight end Dustin Lyman, making his first start of the season, was Chicago's leading receiver with six catches for 42 yards. The last time Lyman started the game was last Dec. 1 at Green Bay when he led the team with seven catches for a 58 yards and two touchdowns.


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