CAREER BEST: Bears quarterback Shane Matthews finished the day connecting on 30 of 50 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns. Matthews' previous career best was 266 yards on Dec. 26, 1999 at St. Louis. The 300-yard passing game is the first by a Bears QB since Cade McNown passed for a 301 yards vs. Detroit on Dec. 19, 1999.
Despite the numbers Matthews was unhappy with his performance.
"We killed ourselves today," Matthews said. "I killed us especially. The first interception was tipped. David (Terrell) was wide open. The second interception was just a bad throw. I didn't see the guy. Then we were driving in the second half to try and tie it up, and another ball gets batted in the air and gets picked off. It's frustrating but it's my job to try and find passing lanes. I am frustrated with the way I played, but winning makes it a lot easier."
Dick Jauron said he never considered bringing in Jim Miller. "I didn't want to bring Jimmy in. I have great confidence in Shane, but we were struggling. We never really would have considered Jimmy unless we had to. I don't think that he's really ready to play. He could throw the ball, but I'd be worried that if he got hit again, he'd be back to where he was or worse."
ROUGH START: Cleveland entered the game as the league leader in interceptions with 13 picks and were one of only two teams with only one fumble recovery (Buffalo was the other). The Browns increased their pick production with two first quarter interceptions off a Bears QB Shane Matthews. The Bears turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the game as Cleveland's Wali Rainer sacked Matthews and forced a fumble on the game's second play and Browns defensive end Courtney Brown scooped up the loose ball and raced 25 yards for a touchdown. The Browns entered the game tied for fifth in the league with a +6 turnover margin. Cleveland increased their total to 16 interceptions with a third-quarter pick.
LAND AND AIR: Bears running back Anthony Thomas, ranked second in the league in rushing yardage among rookie rushers, had over 100 combined rushing and receiving yards in the first half. He had 42 yards rushing on 17 carries and was the Bears leading receiver in the first 30 minutes with five receptions for 67 yards, for 108 yards combined. He scored from two yards out to tie the score at 7-7 with just 0:20 remaining in the half marking the third consecutive game (and fourth TD in the last five games) he has scored a touchdown. He finished the game with 96 yards on 31 attempts and six catches for 71 yards for 167 yards total.
SACK EXCHANGE: After only giving up two sacks in the previous six games and none in the last 15 quarters, the Bears surrendered three sacks in the first half and two more in the second against the Browns. Shane Matthews and Jim Miller had each only been sacked one time this season (Matthews at Baltimore; Miller at Atlanta) before today and the Bears entered today's game leading the league in fewest sacks allowed per pass attempt.
TABLES TURNED: The Bears had recorded at least one take-away in each of the previous six contests entering Sunday's game and had turned those turnovers into 41 points while Bears opponents had scored only 24 points off of turnovers. It took until the last play of the game, but Mike Brown's interception return for a score cut the Cleveland advantage to 14-6 in defensive scoring for the game. The Browns scored on a 25-yard fumble return in the first quarter and a third quarter Shane Matthews interception turned into a four-play, 92-yard drive for a touchdown.
INJURY UPDATE: Bears starting right guard Chris Villarrial left the game with a strained right hip muscle suffered in the second quarter, he returned but left in the third quarter. He will be re-evaluated during the week.