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Game day blog: Final — Bears 38, Browns 31

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 15, 2013

The Browns (4-10) lost to the Chicago Bears (8-6) 38-31 today in the final game this season at FirstEnergy Stadium. Below is our game day blog.

Final: Bears 38, Browns 31

The fourth quarter was all Chicago, and the Browns lost their third straight game in which they held a fourth-quarter led. The Bears tied the game 24-24 on a 45-yard heave from Cutler to Jeffery early in the quarter. Cutler then found Earl Bennett from the 4-yard line to take a 31-24 lead with 5:41 left in the game. Michael Bush sealed the game with a 40-yard touchdown run just before the 2-minute warning. Campbell hit Josh Gordon for a 43-yard touchdown in the game's final minute, but the Browns couldn't recover the onside kick. Campbell finished the game 23-of-39 for 273 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. 

End 3Q: Browns 24, Bears 17

The Bears took the lead early in the third quarter when Zackary Bowman intercepted Jason Campbell for the second time, this time taking it back for a 43-yard touchdown and a 17-10 Bears lead. On the Browns’ next drive, running back Edwin Baker found the end zone from 2-yards out to tie the game 17-17. T.J. Ward then picked up a fumble that was forced by Billy Winn and returned that 51 yards for the Browns’ second defensive touchdown of the game and a 24-17 lead. Just before that play, cornerback Joe Haden left the game with a hip injury. He went to the locker room and is questionable to return. 

End 2Q: Browns 10, Bears 10

 

Tashaun Gipson intercepted Jay Cutler for the second time in the half and took it to the house. Cutler's pass was tipped by Brandon Marshall and into the hands of Gipson, who returned it 44 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to give the Browns a 10-3 lead. Earlier, Bears kicker Robbie Gould hit a 23-yard field goal to get Chicago on the board. And just before the half, the Bears tied the game 10-10 on Cutler's 5-yard touchdown pass to Marshall, who twice beat Joe Haden on that drive. Earlier, the Bears twice shot themselves in the foot. Facing a fourth-and-1 at the Browns' 24-yard line, the Bears lined up to go for it but a fase start on Alshon Jeffery negated that change. Gould then nailed a 46-yard field goal that was called back due to holding. The Bears then had to punt. 

End 1Q: Browns 3, Bears 0 

The Bears' offense had no problem moving the ball through the air in the first quarter but couldn't come away with any points. After advancing into the red zone on the game-opening drive, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was intercepted by free safety Tashaun Gipson in the end zone on a pass tipped by strong safety T.J. Ward. The Browns turned that into a 35-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff with 7:26 left in the quarter, set up by a 44-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Greg Little. As the quarter came to a close, the Bears were again moving deep into Browns territory. 

Inactives: Browns – Quarterback Alex Tanney, running back Willis McGahee (concussion), offensive tackle Martin Wallace, left guard John Greco (sprained medial collateral ligament in right knee), offensive tackle Reid Fragel, tight end Keavon Milton and tight end Andre Smith (strained calf). Bears – Defensive tackle Christian Tupou, defensive end Cornelius Washington, offensive tackle/guard James Brown, offensive tackle Jonathan Scott, safety Sean Cattouse, quarterback Jordan Palmer and weakside linebacker Lance Briggs (fractured shoulder).

Lineup changes: Browns – Chris Ogbonnaya will start at running back in place of McGahee. Jason Pinkston will start at left guard in place of Greco. Note: Pinkston will start for the first time since Oct. 14, 2012. He missed the final 10 games last season after a blood clot was discovered in his lung. He sat out most of this season with a high-ankle sprain he suffered Aug. 15 in an exhibition game. Bears – Khaseem Greene will start at weakside linebacker in place of Briggs. Note: Briggs will miss his seventh consecutive game.

Ryan Lewis’ top storylines: 1. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returns to lead the Bears after missing more than a month with a high-ankle sprain. Cutler hasn’t played since Nov. 10 and has logged only a game and a half since Oct. 10. He’s thrown for 1,908 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. The Browns will continue to start Jason Campbell, who returned to action last week to have his best game (391 yards, three touchdowns) against the New England Patriots following his concussion No. 24. 2. The Browns and Bears are entering this game on different paths. The Browns are coming off a crushing, last-second loss to the Patriots on the road and have now lost seven of their past eight games. The Bears are coming off a 45-28 rout of the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. 3. That win brought the Bears to a tie with the Detroit Lions for the NFC North lead at 7-6. The Green Bay Packers, at 6-6-1, aren’t far behind, creating a three-team race for the final three weeks of the season. The loser of that division race likely also misses out on a wild-card spot in the NFC. The Browns currently hold the No. 7 position in the NFL Draft. 4. This game features three of the most productive wide receivers in the league this season, Josh Gordon for the Browns and Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery for the Bears. Gordon has 1,400 yards, the most in the NFL, and eight touchdowns. But Marshall (1,090 yards, nine touchdowns) and Jeffery (1,193 yards, six touchdowns) have the most receiving yards as a tandem this season with 2,283 yards. 5. This will be Browns’ fans first look at Bears coach Marc Trestman in the regular season. Trestman is a former quarterbacks coach (1988) and offensive coordinator (1989) for the Browns who also interviewed for the head coaching job with the Browns in January. The Browns hired Rob Chudzinski on Jan. 11, five days before Trestman accepted the Bears’ position.

Preview stories via Ohio.com: 1. Browns quarterback Jason Campbell’s past, present, future to collide in home finale against Bears. 2. Browns vs. Bears key matchup: Joe Haden, Buster Skrine vs. Bears receivers Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery. 3. Five key numbers for Sunday. 4. Quote of the week. 5. Predictions from Nate Ulrich, Marla Ridenour and Ryan Lewis. 6. How they rank. 7. Browns notebook: Guard Jason Pinkston returns to starting lineup 14 months after blood clot threatened his life. 8. Browns edge rushers Paul Kruger, Barkevious Mingo, Jabaal Sheard hope strong finish translates to more production in 2014. 9. Browns’ defense hopes to give Bears quarterback Jay Cutler fits when he returns to action. 10. Browns notebook: Drafted by offensive coordinator Norv Turner, running back Edwin Baker eager for opportunity. 11. Browns coach names Brandon Weeden No. 2 QB, Jason Pinkston starting left guard vs. Bears. 12. Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon shows swagger, displays dominance as he pushes for Pro Bowl selection. 13. From the other sideline: Bears could experience significant changes in roster before game against Browns.

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