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Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears prove toughness in victory

Monday night won't go down as Jay Cutler's most prolific performance, but it certainly will be amongst his most memorable.

The Chicago Bears' 13-7 win over the Detroit Lions was about survival for the quarterback and putting some unfair criticisms to rest.

Forget the knee injury that took Cutler out of the 2010 NFC Championship Game. He is tough. He proved that irrefutably when he was buried by Ndamukong Suh during the second quarter Monday night and refused to let the Lions' bully of a defensive tackle end him.

Cutler missed one series at the end of the second quarter, then took every snap after spending halftime being examined by trainers who probably couldn't believe his rib cage still was intact.

Cutler acknowledged after the game that the injury limited his ability to throw, forcing the Bears to move to a more-conservative approach in the second half. But he refused to sit.

"I'm going to be really sore in the morning," Cutler told ESPN. "It loosened up a little bit, but it was a rough hit. Laying on the ball, those things happen."

The quarterback impressed in one way, the Bears' defense in another. Just ask the Lions, who put up 474 points last season but couldn't manage anything for the better part of four quarters  Monday night. Calvin Johnson (three catches for 34 yards) was shut down by Charles Tillman and a Bears secondary that wouldn't let Matthew Stafford lean on his favorite weapon to stage another late comeback.

The Lions turned over the ball three times in the red zone. That's terrible execution by Detroit (and undoubtedly some brutal game tape to revisit), but Chicago deserves credit for refusing to give in.

With each week, the Bears are looking more and more impressive. They're now 5-1 and in control of the ultra-competitive NFC North. This is a team that's tough in more ways than one.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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