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) beat the bumbling Browns 30-6 Sunday.
Anderson had another miserable day for the Browns (1-7) and was lifted for Brady Quinn, the man he replaced 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: Deciding on a starting quarterback.
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 struggled to complete drives early on, settling for field goals 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 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.
The Bears got a scare when Devin Hester limped off the field 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 and touchdowns on the first four possessions against the Bengals and old friend Cedric Benson, the Bears held Cleveland to 191. 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 earlier if not for some missed opportunities.
Robbie Gould gave them a 3-0 lead with a 37-yard field goal with 2:20 left in the first quarter, and the Bears immediately had a big opportunity when a Danieal Manning lunged to pick off a deep pass intended for Mohamed Massaquoi. He returned the ball 35 yards to the Cleveland 13, but instead of a touchdown, Chicago had to settle for a 29-yarder from Gould that made it 6-0 with 1:13 left in the quarter.
The Bears had another shot at the end zone early in the second when they recovered a fumble by Jamal Lewis near midfield, only to call on Gould again. This time, he booted a 32-yarder after Cutler got sacked by an unchecked Kamerion Wimbley on third down at the 3, but Wimbley's late helmet-to-head on the quarterback on third down at the 31 a few minutes later proved costly.
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.
NOTES: Besides the change at left guard, the Bears juggled their defensive lineup. DT Tommie Harris started after being benched the previous week. 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. ... Browns K Phil Dawson was active after missing five weeks with a strained left calf. He missed an extra point.