DETROIT – To Matt Forte, the Bears’ early game plan was an exercise in common sense.
Feed Forte the ball. Then, do it again. And again.
The plan, while imperfect, helped the Bears hang on for a 26-24 win Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Forte rushed 24 times for 103 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bears, who teamed up to rush for twice as many yards as the Lions (144 to 72).
“It’s something that we have to do,” said Forte, who excelled despite playing with a sore right ankle. “The last games that we’ve won, we’ve run the ball well and fed off of that. You’ve got to run the ball and eat up the clock and keep the other offense off of the field.”
On a personal level, Forte achieved one of his annual goals as he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the third time in five seasons with the Bears.
Forte, 27, finished the season with 248 carries for 1,094 yards and five touchdowns. He became the third player in Bears history to rush for 1,000 yards in at least three seasons, joining Hall of Famer Walter Payton (10 seasons) and Neal Anderson (three seasons).
Forte also caught 44 passes for 340 yards and one touchdown to finish with 1,434 yards from scrimmage. He missed one game in Week 3 against St. Louis because of an ankle injury.
Strange sight: Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has earned a reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, but he showed his softer side against the Bears.
After Suh knocked down Cutler in the first half, he extended his arm toward the quarterback. Cutler accepted the offer and grabbed Suh’s arm to get back to his feet.
Until then, most interactions between Suh and Cutler had been ugly at best. Suh drew a hefty fine for slamming Cutler to the turf two seasons ago, he ripped Cutler’s helmet off one season ago, and he briefly knocked Cutler out of the game with a hard takedown in October.
Silent treatment: Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton created a stir last week when he described the Lions as a “dirty” team and ripped veteran Lions center Dominic Raiola.
Once the game began, Melton said, both he and Raiola kept their mouths shut.
“I don’t think we said anything to each other,” said Melton, who registered two tackles after a two-game absence. “We had a couple staredowns. That was about it.”
Bears bits: Second-year player Anthony Walters made his first career start at free safety and nearly came up with his first career interception on a deflected pass in the second quarter. . … The Bears prevented Lions receiver Calvin Johnson from becoming the first player in NFL history to gain 2,000 receiving yards in a season. Johnson finished 36 yards shy.