Some NFL analysts had speculated that Lamarr Houston wouldn't remain with the Bears past last Tuesday's trade deadline, especially after the veteran outside linebacker played just four snaps in last Sunday's loss to the Vikings.
Houston not only is still with the Bears, but he delivered two of their biggest plays of the season late Monday night, sacking Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers on back-to-back snaps on San Diego's final drive to help ice a 22-19 victory.
Down by three points, the Chargers had reached the Chicago 46 at the two-minute warning. That's when Houston dropped Rivers for an eight-yard loss. Smelling blood in the water, Houston jumped offside before the next play, giving San Diego five yards back. But then he sacked Rivers again for a 10-yard loss, leading to third-and-23.
Rivers followed with two incomplete passes, and the Bears took over on downs at the San Diego 41 with 1:09 remaining.
Houston's two sacks were the only ones the Bears recorded Monday night.
Record breaker:** Jay Cutler became the Bears' all-time leader with 138 touchdown passes when he hit tight end Martellus Bennett with a 1-yard score in the second quarter.
The TD came off a play-action fake on first-and-goal and drew the Bears to within 13-7. Bennett broke to the right uncovered and made an easy catch.
Off target: Robbie Gould entered Monday night's game having made 17 of 18 field-goal attempts this season. But he missed twice against the Chargers, from 47 yards on the game's opening possession and then when he hit the left upright from 34 yards in the third quarter.
"It's no different than when somebody makes a mistake," said coach John Fox. "It's part of football. You strive for perfection and a lot of times you don't get it. It's how you rebound. Robbie will be fine. He's a pro, so we'll be fine."
Aches and pains: Bears who missed Monday night's game due to injuries included running back Kyle Long (knee), receiver Eddie Royal (knee), center Hroniss Grasu (neck), linebacker Shea McClellin (knee). Other inactives were safety Jonathan Anderson, tackle Tayo Fabuluje and defensive lineman Ziggy Hood.
This and that: The Bears have now played five straight games decided by three points or less for the first time since 1987. ... The Chargers entered Monday night's game with just one punt-return yard all season and were unable to add to that total as Javontee Herndon called fair catches on both of Pat O'Donnell's punts. ... San Diego has now lost five straight games since a 2-2 start and remains in last place in the AFC West with a 2-7 record. ... The Bears are 3-0 against the AFC West and 0-5 versus the NFC this season. ... The Bears held Chargers rookie running back Melvin Gordon to 31 yards on 11 carries with a long run of just five yards.