CHICAGO — Pounded the previous week and losers of two straight, the Chicago Bears couldn’t afford to go down again. Good thing for them that Derek Anderson and the Cleveland Browns were in town.
Jay Cutler threw for 225 yards, Matt Forte ran for two touchdowns and the Bears (4-3) be
at the bumbling Browns 30-6 Sunday.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s good to get a win at home but offensively we’ve got to get to work,” Cutler said.
Anderson had another miserable day for the Browns (1-7) and was lifted for Brady Quinn, the man he replace
d in Week 3, with about three minutes left in the game. Anderson completed just 6 of 17 passes for 76 yards and got intercepted twice.
That certainly didn’t help a rating that was already a league-low 40.6 entering this game. And now, the Browns appear to be back in a familiar spot: trying to decide on a starting quarterback.
“We’ll look at it,” said coach Eric Mangini, whose team is off next week. “We’ll look at every single position.”
Asked why he didn’t lift Anderson sooner, Mangini replied: “I thought we actually moved the ball at times earlier.”
Anderson, meanwhile, said he’s “not happy about anything.”
“I’m not happy that I got pulled out, I’m not happy we lost, I’m not happy about anybody’s play, my play, nothing,” he said. “I haven’t been happy.”
The Bears paid tribute to Walter Payton at halftime on the 10th anniversary of his death, then delivered a performance that was far from sweet.
Chicago settled for field goals early on instead of touchdowns but did just enough to put away the team with the league’s worst defense and second-worst offense. That won’t settle the nerves of fans who were more than antsy after a 45-10 thumping the previous week at Cincinnati.
Cutler was on the run all day and got sacked a season-high four times despite a shakeup on the line in which Josh Beekman replaced Frank Omiyale as the starting left guard. A late hit to the chin from Kamerion Wimbley on a third down in the second quarter left him with a bloody mouth, and he got leveled by Shaun Rogers on a 31-yard pass to Johnny Knox in the third. Both plays led to touchdown runs by Matt Forte, who finished with 90 yards on 26 carries.
“Shaun Rogers is a big guy so every time he hits you that counts as two,” said Cutler, whose mouth didn’t stop bleeding until sometime in the fourth quarter.
The Bears also got a minor scare when Devin Hester limped off the field with a slight left ankle sprain after making a catch late in the fourth quarter. He came back for a punt return and finished with seven receptions for 81 yards.
After giving up a season-high 448 yards against the Bengals and old friend Cedric Benson, the Bears held Cleveland to 191. They also recovered three fumbles.
“Very important, especially seeing all the guys come back and not just get a win but keep the offense down to just six points,” said defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who was in on two tackles after being benched the previous week. “We did an excellent job of that, and with the turnovers, it was a great game. We just have to build on that.”
The Browns didn’t score until Anderson ran it in from the 1 early in the third, making it 16-6, and the Bears pulled away from there.
They might have broken it open early on if not for some missed opportunities.
The Bears finally got a touchdown after Wimbley’s late hit to the chin that caused Cutler to bite his tongue on third down at the 31 in the second quarter.
Not only did the Bears finally score a touchdown, the Browns lost linebacker Eric Barton to a right shoulder injury. That happened when he and Eric Wright tackled Greg Olsen on a 12-yard pass that put the ball on the Cleveland 14. Three plays later, Forte ran it in from the 1 to make it 16-0.
“You can’t depend on roughing-the-passer penalties to always be your momentum,” Cutler said. “You’re not always going to get those. We’ve got to get some big runs. We’ve got to get some big passes and get the wheels going a little bit.”
NOTES: Browns RB Jamal Lewis said he plans to retire at the end of the year. … Browns return specialist Josh Cribbs ran back six kickoffs for 137 yards. … K Phil Dawson was active after missing five weeks with a strained left calf. He missed an extra point. … Besides the change at left guard and Harris’ return, the Bears juggled their defensive lineup. The Bears also went with Marcus Harrison over Anthony Adams at nose tackle, and had Hunter Hillenmeyer at middle linebacker, with Nick Roach moving to the strong side.