Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Joique Bell and Calvin Johnson each scored twice as the Detroit Lions grabbed a 34-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving.
Matthew Stafford was 34-for-45 for 390 yards with two touchdown passes for the Lions (8-4), who bounced back from a pair of road losses to Arizona and New England.
"We had shown that we could do it in spurts at time this season," Stafford said of his offense. "To put it together for 60 minutes was gratifying."
The victory moves Detroit a half-game back of Green Bay for first place in the NFC North. The Packers host the Patriots on Sunday.
Bell totaled 91 yards on 23 carries, while Johnson had 11 catches for 146 yards for Detroit, which had lost nine straight games in its traditional Thanksgiving Day game, but have now won its past two thanks to this win and a victory over Green Bay last year.
Jay Cutler was 31-for-48 for 280 yards with a pair of touchdown passes to Alshon Jeffery along with two interceptions for the Bears (5-7), who had won their previous two coming into the contest. Jeffery had nine catches for 71 yards.
"We had a fast start which was good," Bears head coach Marc Trestman said. "Then they got on a roll and really made their money throwing the football and moving it around."
Starting the second half with the ball, Cutler converted a 3rd-and-5 with a 12-yard pass to Martellus Bennett. Jeffery had a pair of third-down catches to move the chains, but the drive stalled at the Detroit 17 and a 35-yard field goal from Robbie Gould made it a 24-17 game six minutes into the third quarter.
Each team then punted once, with the exchange seeing the Lions start with the ball at their own 5, but Stafford was able to convert a third down with a 6- yard pass to Golden Tate. Johnson then caught a pass for 21 yards and a 22- yard catch by Tate moved the ball past midfield. On the first snap of the fourth quarter and facing a 3rd-and-1, Bell ran around the left end untouched for a score and a 31-17 lead.
Two possessions later, Cutler had a deep pass deflected into the hands of Glover Quin, who made a beautiful diving grab on the ball to give his team possession at the Chicago 42.
That led to a 40-yard field goal from Matt Prater to put the game away with 6:16 to play.
Detroit went three-and-out on its first touch and the Bears got the ball back at their own 45.
It took Chicago just six plays to find the end zone, as Cutler passed on all six snaps with the last a short toss to his left where Jeffery grabbed the ball and took it in for a 10-yard score.
The Lions came back with a 46-yard field goal from Prater to cap off an eight- play, 52-yard drive, and got the ball back at their own 5 after forcing a Chicago punt.
However, Jared Allen rushed around the left end and knocked the ball out of Stafford's hand then recovered the fumble to give his team the ball at the 5.
Two plays later, Cutler found Jeffery in the back of the end zone and the Bears had a 14-3 lead with 3:35 to play in the first.
Detroit was able to counter that touchdown with one of its own, its first in 26 consecutive drives.
After getting a couple of first downs, the team faced a 1st-and-20 and Stafford found Corey Fuller for 21 yards down to the Chicago 28. Three plays later on 3rd-and-7, Stafford went deep over the middle and Johnson came up with a leaping grab for a 25-yard score and a 14-10 game two minutes into the second.
Chicago was driving on its ensuing touch and got down to the Detroit 43, but a holding call on second down pushed them back and the team ultimately had to punt.
Stafford efficiently guided his team down the field, converting a 3rd-and-5 with a 31-yard pass to Jeremy Ross. A short catch by Tate saw eight more yards tacked on due to an unnecessary roughness call to Chicago to set up a 1st-and-goal at the 8. Facing a 4th-and-1, the team went for it and Bell leaped over the pile for a 17-14 lead with 3:18 to play in the half.
Holding the Bears to a three-and-out, the Lions got the ball back at their own 36 and the first play saw Johnson catch a ball for nine yards, moving him over 10,000 for his career. He reached the milestone in an NFL-record 115 games, one fewer than Torry Holt.
Three more completions moved the ball to the Chicago 6, and Stafford floated a pass into the left corner of the end zone where Johnson came down with it to give the team a 24-14 lead at the break.
The Thanksgiving series between the teams is tied at 8-8 ... Detroit hosts Tampa Bay in Week 14 ... Chicago hosts Dallas next Thursday ... Gould's field goal was his first since Oct. 12 at Atlanta. He didn't attempt a field goal in three games, and missed one in each of the past two games ... Tate had eight catches for 89 yards ... The Bears totaled just 13 rushing yards ... Detroit running back Reggie Bush missed a third straight game with an injured ankle, while left tackler Riley Reiff sat out with a left knee injury ... The Lions outgained the Bears, 474-269 ... Bennett finished the game with eight catches for 109 yards.