Overcoming several big mistakes, the Bears came back to defeat the Browns 38-31 on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland.
The win gives the Bears (8-6) a half-game edge over Detroit in the NFC North pending the Lions’ Monday-night game against Baltimore.
In his return to the lineup, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler completed 22-of-31 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, with a pair of scoring throws in the final quarter.
Trailing 24-17 early in the fourth quarter, the Bears scored on three straight drives to seize control.
The first touchdown in the sequence — a 45-yard Cutler-to-Alshon Jeffery connection — was the most spectacular, as the Bears’ star second-year wideout caught the ball in-between two Browns defensive backs to tie the game with 10:59 left in regulation.
Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, who twice picked off Cutler earlier in the game, had a chance at a third interception on the long pass to Jeffery, but he appeared to misjudge the ball. He leaped for the pass, but it soared over him, and Jeffrey hauled it in to even the game at 24.
The Bears would take the lead for good on the next series, as Cutler connected with Earl Bennett on a four-yard touchdown with 5:41 left.
The Bears would add their final score a 40-yard TD run by Michael Bush with 2:17 in regulation. Cleveland (4-10) cut the margin to 38-31 with 59 seconds left on a Jason Campbell-to-Josh Gordon 43-yard touchdown, but the Bears would recover the ensuing on-side kick and run out the clock.
More than half of the Browns’ points came off of takeaways. Gipson returned one interception for a second-quarter touchdown, and his first-quarter pick set up Cleveland’s first field goal of the game. Later, a 51-yard TD return of a Martellus Bennett fumble by T.J. Ward gave the Browns a 24-17 third-quarter lead.
However, the Bears’ turnovers stopped there — and just in time for Chicago.