CINCINNATI (AP) – Rookie Mitchell Trubisky knew there would be plenty of openings against Cincinnati’s depleted defense.
The Bears exploited every one of them for their most-lopsided victory in five years.
Trubisky threw for a touchdown and ran for another in his best showing yet, and Chicago ended a five-game losing streak by routing the lackluster Cincinnati Bengals 33-7 on Sunday.
Their rookie quarterback took full advantage of an aggressive game plan, completing a career-high 25 passes out of 32 attempts for 271 yards. He also ran 4 yards for a score.
“We just had fun doing it,” said Trubisky, who has completed 37 of 47 passes in the past two games without an interception. “We trusted the plan, went out there and let it loose.”
The Bears piled up a season-high 482 yards against a unit missing starting cornerbacks Adam “Pacman” Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick as well as linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil.
“We knew they were banged up on that side of the ball and we wanted to take advantage,” Trubisky said.
The Bengals described themselves as embarrassed by their worst home drubbing since a 34-3 loss to Baltimore in 2008. Many of the 52,002 fans headed for the exits early in the fourth quarter.
“I’m at a loss for words today,” said coach Marvin Lewis, whose contract is up at the end of the season.
Everyone in the NFL’s lowest-ranked offense had a big game. Tarik Cohen ran for 80 yards, and Kendall Wright caught 10 passes for 107 yards – the first Bears receiver to top 100 yards this season.
Andy Dalton was picked off for the first time since Oct. 22 in Pittsburgh, ending his career-best streak of 193 attempts without an interception.
The interception set up Trubisky’s 1-yard touchdown pass that put the Bears in control 26-7 early in the fourth quarter, their biggest lead of the season.
“Definitely embarrassing,” said Bengals receiver A.J. Green, who had a dozen passes thrown his way but managed only five catches for 64 yards. “It’s been a strange season for me.”
Howard has rushed for 1,032 yards this season. He’s the first Bears running back to start their career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
“There’s a great running back tradition here, a lot to live up to,” Howard said. “So to do so, it’s a great feeling.”
The Bears signed kicker Mike Nugent after Cairo Santos went on injured reserve with a groin injury during the week. Nugent spent seven seasons with the Bengals, who released him last season after a streak of missed field goals and extra points. He was booed loudly whenever he came onto the field to kick.
Nugent missed an extra-point attempt – he hit the right upright – after Chicago’s first touchdown, but was good on every other kick, including field goals of 34 and 27 yards.
“You’re going to think of some of the negative stuff, but I had a really good time playing here in Cincinnati,” Nugent said. “I hated to see my run here end.”
The Bears’ big offensive game came on the heels of two of their worst. They managed only 140 and 147 yards in losses to the Eagles and 49ers the past two weeks.
AJ & AJ
Green went in to play defense on Chicago’s desperation pass at the end of the first half, which fell incomplete – Green wound up with the ball. Backup quarterback AJ McCarron got his first playing time of the season, filling in during the closing minutes. He was 4 of 8 for 47 yards with a sack.
Bengals safety George Iloka initially was suspended one game for his hit to Antonio Brown’s head during the Steelers’ win on Monday. The suspension was overturned on appeal. Iloka had eight tackles, third on the team.
Bears: Right guard Kyle Long went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, but the Bears’ offensive line had its way as Chicago piled up 29 first downs, more than double Cincinnati’s total.
Bengals: Running back Joe Mixon was inactive because of a concussion suffered on Monday night. Giovani Bernard carried 11 times for 62 yards as Cincinnati’s offense managed only 234 yards.
The Bears play at Detroit on Saturday. They lost to the Lions 27-24 on Nov. 19.
The Bengals play at Minnesota on Sunday, facing former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.