Like the rest of his teammates on the Bears defense, Akiem Hicks winced while watching tape of the unit's lackluster performance in last Sunday night's loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Motivated by that outing, Hicks and company raised their level of play across the board a week later, allowing only one field goal in a 17-14 win over the Lions at Soldier Field. Detroit scored its lone touchdown on an 85-yard punt return late in the game.
"We had enough of being down," Hicks said. "Guys stood up and said we're going to take our manhood back. This is what we needed, this type of win. We held them to three points. This is exactly what we needed to get back on the right track and I'm excited about it."
It was a team effort by the defense. Hicks and Cornelius Washington recorded their first sacks of the season, young cornerbacks Jacoby Glenn and Deiondre Hall intercepted Matthew Stafford passes and linebacker John Timu made a key stop at the goal line, forcing the Lions to settle for a field goal early in the second half that enabled the Bears to maintain a 7-6 lead.
"We've got a lot of young guys," said coach John Fox. "As I've told you, nobody has been pleased with our start. But in time, they get better. I think you'll see those guys continue to grow and continue to improve. Sometimes there are some growing pains."
No play was more important than the one by Timu, who dropped Zach Zenner for a two-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 1. Timu, who started at inside linebacker after being promoted from the practice squad Tuesday, burst across the line just as the ball was snapped.
"It was a perfect call by [defensive coordinator] Vic [Fangio]," Timu said. "If they were to show you what kind of play they were running, we wanted to be in that defense specifically. It was just perfect timing for us. That series was huge for the second half. It kind of defines what happens and we wanted to make sure we got off the field."
In a rush:** Rookie Jordan Howard made the most of expanded playing time, rushing for 111 yards on 23 carries in his first NFL start. The fifth-round pick helped fill the void with Jeremy Langford (ankle) and Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring) unable to play due to injuries.
"Jordan is a big back and we knew that when he came out of Indiana," Fox said. "The thing that we didn't know is the quickness of his feet and the vision he has. He's outstanding and we'll ride him pretty good moving forward."
Five days after signing with the Bears, running back Joique Bell rushed for six yards on three carries. He was dropped for a two-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the Detroit 36 midway through the second quarter.
Super sub: In his second straight start in place of the injured Jay Cutler (thumb), Brian Hoyer completed 28 of 36 passes for 302 yards with two touchdowns, no turnovers and a 120.1 passer rating. Hoyer tossed TD passes of 4 yards to Eddie Royal and 6 yards to Zach Miller.
"He's a pro," Fox said of Hoyer. "He works hard at it. He studies. He's been there before. He's got a winning record as a starter. He's adapted well. [Coordinator] Dowell Loggains and the offensive staff have done an outstanding job coaching him up for his first two outings, today being the best one because we got the 'W.'"
News and notes: Receiver Kevin White exited in the second half with an ankle injury after catching six passes for 55 yards. White leads the Bears with 19 receptions this season. ... After missing a 50-yard field goal attempt and making a 25-yarder, Connor Barth is 2-of-4 this season. ... Bryce Callahan made his first start of the season at cornerback and recorded five tackles.