Bears grind out win over Browns in home finale

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It wasn’t pretty, but the Chicago Bears gave their fans an early Christmas present with a methodical 20-3 victory over the hapless Cleveland Browns at snowy Soldier Field on Christmas eve. The Bears record stands at 5-10 with the regular season finale at Minnesota next Sunday. The Browns remain winless at 0-15.

Befitting the holiday season, Soldier Field looked like a snow globe with slippery conditions throughout the first half.  The Bears took advantage of Cleveland mistakes en route to three rushing touchdowns on a day when the running game picked its spots to shine. Bears RB Jordan Howard had tough sledding as the Cleveland defense stacked the box against a makeshift Chicago offensive line.  Still, Howard managed to score on both 2 yard and 16 yard touchdown carries.

The real Chicago star on offense was reserve RB Benny Cunningham. Catching the Browns on a pair of blitzes, the Bears dialed up screen calls to Cunningham, who promptly lumbered 40 and 22 yards to give Chicago prime field position. The Bears would convert on each, first on QB Mitch Trubisky’s 4 yard keeper, then on Howard’s 16 yarder. Cunningham also tacked on a 28 yard kickoff return, accounting for 90 yards of total offense. 

Trubisky didn’t stand out, but he was efficient, completing 14 of 23 passes for 193 yards with no turnovers. He also rushed for 44 yards and one touchdown on 7 carries.

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Defensively, Bears CB Kyle Fuller continued his resurgent season with an outstanding effort. Blanketing the Browns top offensive threat, WR Josh Gordon, Fuller was up to the challenge. Unofficially, Fuller was credited with 6 pass breakups and also hauled in an overthrown pass for an interception, stalling a Cleveland scoring threat in the first half.

Chicago LB Nick Kwiatkoski was also active for the Bears attack unit, pressuring Br

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owns rookie QB DeShone Kizer on blitzes and making a pair of open-field tackles.

Cleveland was as bad as advertised. Costly penalties, including a unsportsmanlike conduct and offsides call, gave the Bears new life on a pair of offensive possessions, leading directly to Chicago scores and negating a interception return for touchdown by Browns DL Myles Garrett, the overall top choice in last spring’s NFL Draft. Kizer appeared shaky in the pocket and lacked accuracy as he sprayed the ball all over the Soldier Field turf.

For the Bears, at least on this day, the result was mostly satisfying and will make Christmas a bit brighter

 

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