Browns vs. Bears -- Sunday, Dec. 15 -- 1:00 p.m. ET
Much like they have done in the preseason for the last 10 years, the Cleveland Browns will end the home portion of the 2013 regular season against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium on Dec. 15.
Despite the consistent preseason games, the teams have met just three times since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, and Chicago is 2-1 in those meetings.
Over the last four meetings, the Browns and Bears have alternated victories, with each team earning home wins. When the Browns and Bears last shared the field in the regular season, Chicago earned a 30-6 victory at Soldier Field.
For the first time in 14 years, the Bears will be without middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who retired in the offseason after 13 years manning the middle of Chicago’s defense.
The Bears finished the 2012 regular season with a 10-6 record, but finished third in the NFC North Division behind the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. After an offseason of coaching changes, the Bears are looking to build on the positives as they head into 2013.
As a team, the Bears converted more first downs (292 to 286), rushed for more yards (1,970 to 1,627), made more field goals (27 to 23) and held a three-minute advantage in the time of possession. They finished plus-20 in turnovers.
Quarterback Jay Cutler completed 255 of 434 attempts for 3,033 yards and 19 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. He was sacked 38 times for 250 lost yards, but despite the hits, finished the year with an 81.3 quarterback rating.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall proved to be Cutler’s favorite target, catching 118 passes for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. No other Bears player had more than 44 receptions, 375 yards or three touchdowns.
When Marshall wasn’t a target for Cutler’s throws, running back Matt Forte was there to take his handoffs. He rushed 248 times for 1,094 yards and five touchdowns. In relief of Forte, Michael Bush rushed for 411 yards and five touchdowns on 114 carries.
Linebacker Lance Briggs led the Bears with 103 total tackles, and tied defensive back Charles “Peanut” Tillman for the team lead with 74 solo stops. Tillman added a league-best 10 forced fumbles last season.
Defensive end Julius Peppers led the way with 11.5 sacks, while fellow linemen Israel Idonije (7.5), Corey Wootton (7.0) and Henry Melton (6.0) also factored into the Bears’ pass rush.
Key Additions: Signed offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod (from New Orleans), and tight end Martellus Bennett (from the New York Giants).
Key Losses: Urlacher (to retirement), as well as tight ends
Draft: The Bears focused on building up their linebacker corps and offensive line during the 2013 NFL Draft. In the first round, they selected guard Kyle Long, and followed it by choosing inside linebacker Jon Bostic in the second. After drafting outside linebacker Khaseem Greene in the fourth round, the Bears selected offensive tackle Jordan Millis in the fifth. They added outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (sixth round) and wide receiver Marquess Wilson (seventh) with their final two picks.
Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor was an assistant special teams coach for the Bears from 2008-10.
Browns tight end Kellen Davis was selected by the Bears in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In five years with the Bears, Davis caught 47 passes for 529 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Browns defensive line coach Joe Cullen served as the University of Illinois’ defensive assistant in 2005.
Browns offensive line coach Mike Sullivan is a native of Chicago.
Bears coach Marc Trestman served as the Browns’ quarterbacks coach in 1988. He was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 1989, and mentored quarterback Bernie Kosar, whom he also coached at the University of Miami.
Chicago defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, an Ohio native, was the Browns’ defensive backs coach from 2005-07 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008. During Tucker’s tenure in Cleveland, the Browns ranked fifth in the league with 73 interceptions. He also coached at The Ohio State University from 2001-04.
Chicago defensive backs coach Jon Hoke is from Kettering, Ohio, and coached Kent State’s defensive backs from 1989-93, while assistant offensive line coach Pat Meyer was a four-year starter at Girard High School in Eastern Ohio, and also participated in wrestling, basketball, baseball and track.
Bears linebacker/special teams contributor Blake Costanzo registered 21 total tackles and two forced fumbles in 26 games with the Browns from 2009-2010.
The Browns are 9-5-0 all-time against the Bears, and 7-1-0 in home games during the regular season.