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Three-and-Out: Bears QB Jay Cutler shoves Lions DE Ziggy Ansah

Quick observations from the Bears’ 24-20 loss against the Lions in Week 17:

1. A late dustup

What led to quarterback Jay Cutler’s shove of defensive end Ziggy Ansah in final minutes of the fourth quarter?

“There were some choice things said, and it escalated,” Cutler said. “Then it de-escalated.”

Ansah hit Cutler during his throwing motion, leading to an underthrown pass to receiver Deonte Thompson and safety Glover Quin’s interception, which ended the Bears’ rally efforts.

Right tackle Kyle Long came charging in to defend Cutler, who was face-to-face with three Lions.

“I just saw Jay was in a tight spot,” Long said. “Three vs. 1 is never good. Three vs. 2, I like our chances.”

2. Mariani matters

The Bears were missing their top three receivers and top two tight ends against the Lions, leaving returner Marc Mariani as Cutler’s best option.

And he didn’t disappoint.

Mariani made a career-high six catches for a career-high 80 yards. He finished the season with 22 receptions and 300 receiving yards, which are career-best marks.

“I’ve been waiting my whole career for that opportunity,” said Mariani, who also had a 47-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. “They called my number this year.”

3. Houston is trouble

The Bears sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford four times. Outside linebacker Lamarr Houston had one to give him seven this season to lead the team. His seven sacks also are a career high.

Houston nearly had two sacks, but linebacker Christian Jones was given credit for a take down of Stafford late in the first quarter.

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns