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Bears gain sole possession of first place

It was a productive bye weekend for the Bears, who returned to Halas Hall Monday after four days off in sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

"Without playing, that's not bad," said tight end Kellen Davis. "You can't beat that really."


Jay Cutler and the Bears are in first place in the NFC North with a 4-1 record.
The idle Bears (4-1) moved a half-game ahead of the Vikings (4-2), who lost to the Redskins 38-26 Sunday in Washington. Minnesota led 9-0, but Washington rallied to snap an eight-game home losing streak behind Robert Griffin III.

The dynamic rookie quarterback rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yarder with 2:43 remaining in the game. He also completed 17 of 22 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

"It sounds pretty good to me," said safety Chris Conte. "I rather would have played and had first place. But whenever you're back at home and can have that happen, it's not a bad thing."

While the Vikings lost, the Packers (3-3) and Lions (2-3) both inched a half-game closer to the Bears with impressive road wins.

Aaron Rodgers set a career high and tied a franchise record with six touchdown passes in Green Bay's 42-24 victory in Houston, while Detroit rallied from 10-point fourth quarter deficit to stun the Eagles 26-23 in overtime on Jason Hanson's 45-yard field goal.

"There are a lot of great teams in this division, so I definitely think it's going to come down to the wire," Conte said. "It's always tough."

"Our division has got some really good teams," Davis said. "It's going to be a tough race. It's still early in the season, so I don't think you can write off anybody."

The Bears currently own the second best record in the NFC behind the Falcons (6-0), who remained undefeated with a 23-20 win over the visiting Raiders.

The Bears return to action next Monday night when they host the Lions. On Sunday, the Vikings host the Cardinals (4-2) and the Packers visit the Rams (3-3).

"It's real huge," said cornerback Tim Jennings. "We know it's a division opponent, on Monday Night Football. It's a big game. We take it as we need this win to stay on top of our division to try to get where we want to go, and that's that first-round bye when the playoffs come, so we need to take care of this."

Roster moves: The Bears on Monday signed tight end Brody Eldridge to a one-year contract and waived running back Kahlil Bell.

Eldridge was selected by the Colts in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of Oklahoma. The 6-5, 265-pounder started 16 of 27 games played in 2010-11, catching 14 passes for 84 yards.

Eldridge spent the offseason with the Rams, but was released Aug. 27. He was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Bell appeared in two games this season, rushing for 32 yards on 12 carries and catching one pass for 11 yards.

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