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Clausen proves he can play in NFL

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Starting for the first time in four years, Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen proved that he can still play in the NFL. But that wasn't his primary goal heading into Sunday's game against the Lions.

"What do I think I did for myself?" Clausen said, repeating a question from a reporter after passing for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-14 loss at Soldier Field. "I think I just went out there and competed. That's the biggest thing I think I did. I think I showed I could play in this league.

"But it's not about me or anything like that. It's about winning football games. That's what we were trying to do today—win against a division opponent—and we came up short."

After a slow start—the Bears opened with two three-and-outs—Clausen shook off the rust that had accumulated since his last NFL start on Jan. 2, 2011 when he played for the Panthers. 

"I was just trying to get a feel for the speed again because obviously it's different than preseason, obviously it's different than practice," Clausen said. "After the first one or two drives, I settled in."

Clausen's first touchdown pass was an 11-yarder to Kyle Long late in the first half. Clausen beat an all-out blitz, hitting a wide open Forte in the left flat. He later fired a 20-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery in the right corner of the end zone late in the third quarter.

Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards with two TDs, one interception and a 77.0 passer rating. His numbers would have been better had he not been victimized by at least four drops.

When coach Marc Trestman made the switch from Jay Cutler to Clausen, the Bears coach said that he hoped the change would create a spark. Asked if he accomplished that Sunday, Clausen said: "I don't know. The only thing I was trying to do was play how I've played my entire life.

"I'm very blessed to have this opportunity, very blessed to play the game I love in football, just to go out there with these 53 guys. We've worked so hard each and every day on our craft. I told them before the game, let's just go out and have fun. Just play like you're in the backyard, like you played in high school and college. Have fun and let the score take care of itself."

On the Bears' final drive of the game, Clausen took a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot from defensive end Ezekiel Ansah as the quarterback slid to the ground after scrambling for two yards. Clausen charged at the 6-5, 278-pounder to inform him he wasn't pleased with the tackle.

"That's football, getting hit like that," Clausen said. "It's part of the game. Obviously I don't want to get hit like that. My emotions are going 100 miles a minute at that time. I'm just fired up and got up talking a little trash like he was. But that's just football; just two guys playing."

Starting for the first time in four years, Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen proved that he can still play in the NFL. But that wasn't his primary goal heading into Sunday's game against the Lions.

 

"What do I think I did for myself?" Clausen said, repeating a question from a reporter after passing for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-14 loss at Soldier Field. "I think I just went out there and competed. That's the biggest thing I think I did. I think I showed I could play in this league.

 

"But it's not about me or anything like that. It's about winning football games. That's what we were trying to do today—win against a division opponent—and we came up short."

 

After a slow start—the Bears opened with two three-and-outs—Clausen shook off the rust that had accumulated since his last NFL start on Jan. 2, 2011 when he played for the Panthers.  

 

"I was just trying to get a feel for the speed again because obviously it's different than preseason, obviously it's different than practice," Clausen said. "After the first one or two drives, I settled in."

 

Clausen's first touchdown pass was an 11-yarder to Matt Forte late in the first half. Clausen beat an all-out blitz, hitting a wide open Forte in the left flat. He later fired a 20-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery in the right corner of the end zone late in the third quarter.

 

Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards with two TDs, one interception and a 77.0 passer rating. His numbers would have been better had he not been victimized by at least four drops.

 

When coach Marc Trestman made the switch from Jay Cutler to Clausen, the Bears coach said that he hoped the change would create a spark. Asked if he accomplished that Sunday, Clausen said: "I don't know. The only thing I was trying to do was play how I've played my entire life.

 

"I'm very blessed to have this opportunity, very blessed to play the game I love in football, just to go out there with these 53 guys. We've worked so hard each and every day on our craft. I told them before the game, let's just go out and have fun. Just play like you're in the backyard, like you played in high school and college. Have fun and let the score take care of itself."

 

On the Bears' final drive of the game, Clausen took a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot from defensive end Ezekiel Ansah as the quarterback slid to the ground after scrambling for two yards. Clausen charged at the 6-5, 278-pounder to inform him he wasn't pleased with the tackle.

 

"That's football, getting hit like that," Clausen said. "It's part of the game. Obviously I don't want to get hit like that. My emotions are going 100 miles a minute at that time. I'm just fired up and got up talking a little trash like he was. But that's just football; just two guys playing." Urlacher happy to be in NFL 100 commercial

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