(Reuters) - The resurgent Detroit Lions continued their perfect start to the season with a 24-13 home victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday to confirm their status as surprise contenders.
Jahvid Best ran rampant for 163 yards and a score, and Detroit's defense harassed Bears quarterback Jay Cutler throughout the contest as they improved to 5-0 to mark their best start since 1956.
In front of a raucous Detroit crowd that has suffered through 10 straight losing seasons prior to this year, the Bears were rattled into several penalties while the Lions made a bold statement with a strong divisional win.
"It was a great night for the city and we need to get used to playing in games like this and having atmospheres like this," Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters. "The fans did their part tonight. We took our cue from them."
The Lions had trailed 10-7 at halftime but seized control of the game with a decisive third quarter.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford drove the Lions down-field for an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew with 9:55 to go in the third and on Detroit's next possession, Best broke free for an 88-yard run that gave the home team a 21-10 advantage.
"It was an inside zone play, the (offensive line) made a little crease, I hit it and ran as fast as I could," Best said.
The Bears could not find much offense against Detroit and failed to mount a rally as they fell to 2-3, three games behind the NFC North-leading Lions and Green Bay Packers, the NFL's only two remaining undefeated teams.
Stafford finished the game with two touchdown passes, finding favorite target Calvin Johnson for a 73-yard strike and a 7-0 lead in the second quarter to give the wide receiver his NFL-leading ninth scoring reception of the season.
Chicago responded with a field goal and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Kellen Davis to take their only lead of the game shortly before halftime.
Cutler ended the night with 249 yards passing and Matt Forte ran for 116 yards in the loss.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)