DETROIT – Alshon Jeffery provided one of the Bears' few bright spots in Thursday's 34-17 loss to the Lions, catching nine passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
Jeffery's TD receptions of 10 and 6 yards from Jay Cutler gave the Bears a 14-3 first-quarter lead. He helped set up his team's only other score, Robbie Gould's 35-yard field goal, with catches of 26 yards on third-and-18 and 14 yards on third-and-three.
"He's a heck of a receiver, just what he's been able to do, how many different places we use him," Cutler said. "We throw a lot of screens to him; throw the ball down the field to him. We ask him to block in some unique situations. He does a lot for this football team."
Thursday was Jeffery's first two-touchdown game of the season. He now has seven TDs, including four in the last three games.
More flags: Penalties continued to hurt the Bears Thursday, especially two holding infractions on center Roberto Garza. The first came with the Bears leading 14-10 early in the second quarter and nullified Cutler's 22-yard pass to Martellus Bennett to the Detroit 20. The penalty backed the Bears up to their own 48, and after two incompletions, they were forced to punt.
"They set us back early," said coach Marc Trestman. "We had a couple. We got down in there with the throw to Marty and had a penalty that took us back. If you get behind the chains against a defense like this, it's difficult."
With the Bears trailing 24-17 late in the third quarter, Willie Young sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford at the Chicago 29. But Young was penalized for roughing the passer, giving Detroit a first down at the 9 and leading to a touchdown that made the score 31-17.
"We're a team that has certainly hurt itself throughout the year with the penalties that we have had, taking ourselves out of field position, scoring position on a consistent basis," Trestman said. "We're on it all the time. We've got smart players. They don't want to do it. They have the ability to do it right and we have to continue to move forward and push them through this so that we can get better as we move forward."
The ins and outs: The Bears played without linebackers Lance Briggs (groin) and Darryl Sharpton (hamstring), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee), guard/tackle Eben Britton (illness), defensive end Trevor Scott (knee) and receiver Chris Williams (hamstring).
Jonathan Bostic, D.J. Williams and Shea McClellin started at linebacker, with Williams and McClellin replaced in most passing situations by linebacker Christian Jones and nickel back Demontre Hurst. Will Sutton started at defensive tackle in place of Ratliff.
With Jordan Mills returning to start at right tackle after missing the last two games with a foot injury, Michael Ola moved over to left guard.
News and notes: Robbie Gould tied Kevin Butler's Bears record with his 243rd field goal, Gould's first in six games. … Defensive end Cornelius Washington (chest), safety Chris Conte (eye) and cornerback Tim Jennings (groin) sustained injuries in Thursday's game. … The Bears scored a touchdown on their first possession for the first time since Week 4 against the Packers at Soldier Field. … The Bears have allowed 140 points in their last three road games and are giving up an NFL-worst 28.1 points per game this season. The Lions lead the league with 17.3 points allowed per game. … Rookie Pat O'Donnell averaged 48.0 yards on six punts with a long of 61 yards and three inside-the-20. … Marc Marini had punt returns of 16 and nine yards and a 24-yard kickoff return. … The Bears have lost three straight to the Lions for the first time since 2003-04.