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Surging Lions beat Bears 24-13 and improve to 5-0

Detroit Lions fan Jason Waller, of Charlotte, N.C., cheers during warm-ups before the NFL football game between the Lions and the Chicago Bears in Detroit, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. Detroit Lions fan Jason Waller, of Charlotte, N.C., cheers during warm-ups before the NFL football game between the Lions and the Chicago Bears in Detroit, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
By Larry Lage
AP Sports Writer / October 10, 2011

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DETROIT—Matthew Stafford's second touchdown pass put Detroit ahead in the third and Jahvid Best's 88-yard run later in the quarter gave the Lions a double-digit lead in a 24-13 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday night.

The Lions (5-0) are undefeated through five games for the first time since 1956 -- the year before their last NFL title.

The defending NFC North champion Bears (2-3) are off to their worst start since 2007. They are three games behind Detroit and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay in the division.

Detroit and its fans were clearly fired up for the franchise's first Monday night game in a decade.

The Lions had their largest crowd at Ford Field and the 67,861 fans created enough noise to rattle the Bears into nine false starts.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

DETROIT (AP) -- Jahvid Best took a handoff from Matthew Stafford and went untouched up the middle for an 88-yard touchdown, and the Detroit Lions led the Chicago Bears 21-10 after three quarters Monday night.

The unbeaten Lions, playing their first regular-season Monday night game in a decade, trailed 10-7 at halftime before two third-quarter touchdowns. Stafford put Detroit ahead with an 18-yard strike to Brandon Pettigrew, and Best's long run padded the Lions' advantage.

Best's touchdown was the second-longest run in franchise history behind Bob Hoernschemeyer's 96-yard scoring run in 1950.

Stafford threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson in the second quarter.

The Bears looked unnerved at times by the raucous Ford Field crowd. Chicago committed six false start penalties in the first half -- an NFL season-high for a game, according to STATS, LLC.

The Bears were able to move the ball when they weren't making mistakes before the snap. Matt Forte ran for 111 yards through three quarters, and Jay Cutler was 16 of 21 for 129 yards.

Stafford was 16 of 23 for 204 yards with his two TD passes. He threw an interception late in the first half.

Cutler threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Davis with 1:11 left in the second quarter to give the Bears a 10-7 lead.

Johnson's touchdown catch was his ninth this season. In Detroit's previous game, he became the first NFL player to catch more than one touchdown pass in each of the first four games of a season.

Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers left briefly with a knee injury but quickly returned to the game.

Lions kick returner Stefan Logan made a brief appearance at running back, rushing for 6 yards on one carry before being shaken up and leaving the game. He returned later in the first half.

Detroit rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley finally made his debut. The first-round draft pick had missed his team's first four games after having surgery on his left foot.

The Lions played in a regular-season Monday night game for the first time since 2001, and the home fans were ready. Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders was on hand to assist with the coin flip, and the fans welcomed him back with "Bar-ry! Bar-ry! chants when he walked onto the turf.

Ndamukong Suh wrapped up Forte on fourth down in the final seconds of a scoreless first quarter, delighting the crowd, and after the Bears unsuccessfully challenged the call, Chicago was left without any remaining timeouts for the half. The Bears used their first two earlier in the first quarter.

Chicago was whistled for three false starts on its first offensive series and another on its second possession. The Bears used two timeouts in the quarter in short-yardage situations.

The Bears called their first timeout while facing third-and-1 from their own 21. They picked up the first down when Detroit's Cliff Avril was called for a facemask penalty.

In the final minute of the quarter, Chicago called a timeout at the line of scrimmage while facing fourth-and-1. Forte was then stopped by Suh.

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