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Bears 31, Chargers 20

CHICAGO — Jay Cutler and the Bears won a duel against the Chargers on Sunday.

But the day looks like it will be very costly for Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Cutler broke the thumb on his right (throwing) hand late in the game against San Diego and will miss 6-8 weeks.

That would mean it's possible for him to return for the playoffs if the Bears get there.

The Bears would not confirm the report. Cutler's agent, Bus Cook, did not return messages from the Associated Press.

According to the Tribune, Cutler broke his thumb in the fourth quarter when he fell after being blocked after an interception.

The paper also said the sixth-year pro out of Vanderbilt will need surgery.

Caleb Hanie, who came in when Cutler left last season's NFC Championship Game with an injury, is expected to take over as the starter.

Cutler threw for 286 yards and two scores Sunday to help the Bears win their fifth straight, 31-20 over Philip Rivers and the Chargers. San Diego lost its fifth straight, its longest slide since an 0-5 start in 2003.

Rivers threw for 280 yards. For most of the game, he looked more like a Pro Bowl quarterback than the guy who had been turning it over at an alarming rate. But two late interceptions helped preserve Chicago's win.

The Bears led 31-20 when San Diego's Antoine Cason returned an interception 64 yards to the Chicago 16 before being pushed out of bounds. But Rivers then sealed the loss when, trying to squeeze a pass to Vincent Jackson in the end zone, he got picked off by Major Wright.

Rivers also was intercepted by Chicago's Corey Graham in the closing minutes, giving the quarterback a league-leading 17 INTs.

Can the Chargers bounce back? They've been known to make late surges under Norv Turner, and they need another.

"Absolutely," Jackson said. "We only play 16 regular-season games. We're not like the NBA; we're not like hockey, so each and every one is precious."

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Bears 31, Chargers 20 11/20/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 21, 2011 12:21am]
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