20 - 31 Final
  for this game

Cutler lifts Chicago over struggling San Diego

Nov 21, 2011 - 6:29 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jay Cutler threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another score as Chicago took down San Diego, 31-20, at Soldier Field.

But it appears Cutler's season could be over. The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday night that Cutler broke his right thumb and will miss six-to-eight weeks.

Chicago head coach Lovie Smith made no mention of the injury.

"Some bumps and bruises, but we came out of the game in pretty good shape," Smith said.

Johnny Knox posted 97 yards and a TD on only three receptions for the Bears (7-3), who have won five straight and tied Detroit for second place in the NFC North.

Matt Forte racked up 59 yards rushing on 21 attempts, and Marion Barber added a rushing score for the victors.

Philip Rivers completed 21-of-31 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted on two occasions as the Chargers (4-6), lost their fifth straight.

"I think the Bears are an outstanding football team," said San Diego head coach Norv Turner. "I thought they played at a real high level today. Through most of the game, I thought we were able to match that, and we were going to have a chance."

Vincent Jackson totaled game-highs of 165 yards and seven receptions with a touchdown, and Antonio Gates notched a TD reception. It wasn't enough for San Diego, which fell into the AFC West basement, one-half game behind Kansas City, which plays on Monday night.

Jackson was on the receiving end of a five-yard scoring strike from Rivers to cap San Diego's opening possession of the second half which forged a 17-all deadlock, but Cutler capped the ensuing series with a one-yard run to put Chicago back on top.

Ryan Mathews had the ball punched out from behind on the very next play from scrimmage and Charles Tillman recovered at the Bolts' 37. Two plays later, Cutler and Knox hooked up for a 24-yard touchdown and a 31-17 advantage.

Nick Novak delivered a 48-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, and then the defenses stepped in to throw a kink in each club's passing game.

Chicago's next drive was halted after Aveion Cason picked off Cutler at his own 20 and raced 64 yards to the Bears' 16. Rivers threw two incompletions then was picked off in the end zone by Major Wright and Chicago took over on its own 10 after an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.

The Bears eventually reached the Chargers' 45 with 1:59 left but a fake punt try on 4th-and-8 backfired when Adam Podlesh overthrew a wide-open Craig Steltz.

All was well, however, after Corey Graham stepped in front of a Rivers pass intended for Vincent Brown near midfield on the following down.

Cutler took a knee three times to run out the clock.

Each team traded scores in the opening quarter as Novak connected from 28 yards out and Robbie Gould made a 42-yarder.

Barber's one-yard scoring rush was countered by Gates' eight-yard TD reception just prior to the two-minute warning.

But Chicago went into halftime ahead 17-10 after Kellen Davis hauled in an four-yard pass from Cutler with 20 seconds to play.

Game Notes

Chicago has won seven of 12 all-time meetings with San Diego, including six of seven since 1993...The Bears finished 8-of-14 on third-down conversions, and the Chargers clicked on just 5-of-11...Rivers upped his NFL-worst interception total to 17...Cutler posted his third game this season with two or more TD passes, his first since October 23 at Tampa Bay.