Jimmy Clausen was speared in the head, and dropped.
He got back up, helmet off, and pointed right at the perpetrator Detroit’s Ziggy Ansah Sunday. A small shoving match broke out, which seemed to delight the Soldier Field fateful minutes before Clausen’s final drive failed and the Bears lost 20-14 to the Lions.
Any emotion from the new quarterback, it seemed, would be preferable to the body language of the old one.
“My emotions are going 100 miles a minute at that time. ” Clausen said. “I’m just fired up, and got talking a little trash like he was. But that’s football.”
Ah yes, football. The Bears claimed they played a better version of it Sunday, though it was another loss in the march toward the end of a lost season. And in front of 9,028 unused seats.
If coach Marc Trestman was looking for a spark, Clausen was a slow burn — notably, with no mistakes — until he took issue with the illegal hit.
“I respect that,” defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff said. “If it goes down, hey, we’re all in.”
Center Roberto Garza called his new quarterback “fiery,” saying he tried to make plays all day.
“He was the reason we were in this game,” Garza said.
It’s damning with faint praise, but the Bears fought Sunday. They were competitive for four quarters, a welcome change.
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod called it superior to the last game between the two teams, on Thanksgiving — and this one featured no Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Kyle Long or, for most of the second half, Willie Young, who injured his Achilles tendon Sunday.
“It was just an overall better team performance than we did last time we played them,” he said. “We just gotta find a way to, at the end of the game, go down there and get seven.”
They couldn’t. Clausen would gain zero yards after the unnecessary roughness flag, throwing three incompletions and, with 1:56 left, a fourth-down interception to Glover Quin.
The Notre Dame alum completed 23-of-39 attempts for 181 yards. His 11-yard touchdown pass to Matt Forte with 30 seconds left in the first half tied it at 7. One play earlier, the Bears recovered Jeremy Ross’ muffed punt return.
The Bears had their best special teams game, blocking a fourth-quarter field goal attempt, too.
Clausen’s 20-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery gave the Bears a 14-10 lead late in the third quarter. Joique Bell’s 17-yard run halfway through the fourth— set up by Tim Jennings’ 46-yard pass interference penalty — and a 30-yard Matt Prater field goal put the Lions up six.
Playing more man defense, the Bears were feisty, intercepting Matthew Stafford twice in the second quarter — once in their own end zone and then at their 2.
“It was a different feel out there for us, defensively,” said safety Ryan Mundy, who had one of the picks. “We were out there competing, having fun.
“I think there’s a lot to be said for that.”
It’s not winning, though.
“No one in there is comfortable with the results of this game,” Trestman said. “Regardless of how it went for four quarters.”