Fueled by an efficient offense and a motivated defense, the Bears recorded their first win of the season Sunday at Soldier Field with a 17-14 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Brian Hoyer passed for 302 yards and two touchdowns, rookie Jordan Howard rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries in his first NFL start and veteran Eddie Royal caught seven passes for 111 yards and one TD for an offense that compiled 408 yards and did not commit a turnover.
Rebounding from a poor performance last Sunday night in Dallas, the Bears defense did not allow a touchdown, produced two key interceptions and made a critical goal-line stand. The same run defense that was gashed for 199 yards by the Cowboys held the Lions to just 66 yards.
View photos from the game as the Bears take on the Lions at Soldier Field in Chicago.
"It was pretty lights out," coach John Fox said of the defense. "Most of them weren't real pleased with our performance last week in Dallas and responded in a very focused week of preparation. [The Lions] are a talented offense. They've got a lot of weapons. They've scored a lot of points and they are very capable."
With Sunday's win, the Bears (1-3) snapped a six-game home losing streak that began last October and a six-game skid to the Lions that dated back to 2012.
The Bears dominated the stat sheet in the first half but led only 7-3 at halftime. They held big advantages in total yards (230-99), first downs (15-5) and time of possession (19:36-10:24).
Royal's leaping 4-yard touchdown reception from Hoyer gave the Bears a 7-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter, capping a 12-play, 83-yard drive. Hoyer scrambled to his right and hit Royal, who snared the high throw with cornerback Nevin Lawson on his back.
"He made a really quick movement," Hoyer said. "I think he went out and then came back in and I saw him and I just tried to put it on him and he made a phenomenal catch. That was good to get the game started and cap that drive off."
After the Lions cut the deficit to 7-3 on Matt Prater's 50-yard field goal with 2:19 left in the first half, the Bears had a chance to answer. But Connor Barth missed a 50-yard try wide right.
The Lions reached the Bears' 22 with :16 remaining in the half. But Matthew Stafford's errant pass was intercepted by Jacoby Glenn at the 13. The pick resulted from miscommunication between Stafford and receiver Golden Tate, who didn't break off his route.
"I read the quarterback's eyes and I made a play," Glenn said after his first career interception. "I took points off the board for my team. We're trying to keep going and get a lot of turnovers."
The Lions opened the second half by marching 68 yards to the Bears' 1. On third-and-goal from the 1, John Timu shot up the middle and dropped Zach Zenner for a two-yard loss. Detroit settled for Prater's 21-yard field goal, but the Bears maintained a 7-6 lead.
Timu's play swung the game's momentum to the Bears, and their offense responded by scoring on its next two drives. Hoyer's 6-yard TD pass to a wide open Zach Miller made it 14-6 with 3:34 late in the third quarter. The touchdown was set up by Royal's 64-yard catch and run over the middle on third-and-11, the Bears' longest play from scrimmage this season.
In two and a half games this year, Hoyer has completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 697 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 103.3 passer rating.
"He's done great," Miller said. "He's played very well. His communication is very good. He's leading in the huddle, taking care of the football, getting the ball out. Everything he can do, he's doing, so he's playing very well."
After Barth's 25-yard field goal made it 17-6 early in the fourth quarter, rookie Deiondre Hall thwarted a Detroit drive by intercepting a Stafford pass at the Chicago 14 with 4:03 to play.
The Lions put a scare into the Bears and their partisan crowd when Andre Roberts returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown with 1:52 remaining. Stafford and Tate connected on the subsequent two-point conversion pass to draw Detroit to within 17-14.
But Sam Acho recovered the ensuing onside kick and the Bears ran out the clock to record their first victory after season-opening losses to the Texans, Eagles and Cowboys.