Buffone's Reaction to the Action

It might not have been pretty, but the Bears have won three straight games and in the process have taken control of the NFC North after their 19-13 overtime victory over the Lions.

While the game definitely had slow moments, it was exciting because of what was at stake. It's been a long time since the Bears had a chance to be in sole possession of first place.

After dominating the second quarter, the Bears looked like they could blowout the Lions again. But after jumping out to a 13-3 lead, the offense didn't put another point on the board.

Despite starting four possessions in Detroit territory the Bears came away with just one Robbie Gould field goal.

Part of that seemed to be the absence of Mark Bradley. He caught five balls for 88 yards before going down with a right knee sprain in the second quarter. He looked to be coming into his own before leaving the game on a cart, which is never a good sign.

Don't even get me started on that stupid turf. There was nothing bad about the way Bradley came down and his foot gripped on the turf.

With Bradley's immediate future up in the air, it was nice to see Justin Gage came up with a few big catches after being inactive the week before.

Thomas Jones also failed to finish the game because of a rib injury. He struggled to get yards all day (22 rushes for 72 yards) and had a fumble in the fourth quarter that took away a chance to kick a field goal. On the play Roberto Garza pulled and Olin Kreutz failed to get over and pickup Shaun Cody, who stripped the ball from Jones.

However, Cedric Benson came up with some big runs in overtime, which is important if Jones has to miss time or even to give him a break.

Ron Turner had a heck of a game calling plays. The unit went down field and challenged a Detroit secondary that was missing their best cover corner. The 99-yard drive was very impressive. Orton had the courage to turn his back to the line of scrimmage on a play action pass in the end zone and found Jones. Then he hit Bradley in stride for a big gain and finished the drive with a perfect pass to Muhsin Muhammad for a touchdown.

I thought if the Bears won this game the division race was over. Minnesota and Green Bay are horrible, while the Lions are now two games behind because of the tiebreaker.

There's still room for improvement, but this team appears to be headed in the right direction after getting their first road victory of the year.

Tidbits
The Bears had 206 yards of offense in the second quarter, which is the most they've had since Dec. 7, 1987 against Tampa Bay.

The Bears went 32 quarters without surrendering a rushing touchdown. Kevin Jones ended the streak with his six-yard score. He was also the last player to reach the end zone on the ground against the Bears in the second quarter of Game 15 last season.

Jones' score was also the first of any kind the defense had allowed in more than 164 minutes, dating back to the Cleveland game.

The little things make a difference in a tight game. Right before the half, Robbie Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal. On the ensuing the kickoff Leon Joe stopped Eddie Drummond after just a 10-yard return. The defense forced a three and out and got the offense the ball back with great field position. That led to another field goal and a 13-3 advantage at the half.

In overtime, the Bears lost the coin toss and had to kickoff. Drummond is a threat to take one back at any time, yet Israel Idonije went down there and made the tackle at the 22-yard line. It won't get a lot of attention, but it helped the field position battle.

Doug Buffone played 14 seasons for the Bears (1966-79) and is the founder of the Bear Report. He also hosts a show on WSCR The Score AM-670 from 6-8 pm Monday through Friday.


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