The Bears were at their Monday night worst in a 27-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns, failing miserably in front of a national television audience and 78,722 fans at Municipal Stadium.

Losing their third straight game for the first time under Mike Ditka, the Bears fell victim to a club-record 98-yard touchdown pass play from Bernie Kosar to Webster Slaughter in the fourth period.

The loss dropped the Bears (4-3) out of first place in the National Football Conference Central Division for the first time since the end of the 1983 season.

"Maybe we have to go back to establishing the run," Ditka said after the game. "We're going to go back to the drawing board. Their rush really took us out of sync.

"'I thought our (defensive) kids played pretty good. The best we've played defensively.

"There were a log of good things out there … a lot of bad things."

The Bears are 2-14 in Monday night road games.

Meanwhile, the Browns (4-3) moved into a tie with Cincinnati and Houston for first in the American Football Conference Central Division.

The Bears' only score came on a 5-yard pass from Jim Harbaugh to Wendell Davis with 3 minutes 47 seconds left in the game. Harbaugh relieved an ineffective Mike Tomczak in the third period.

The Browns enjoyed a 7-0 lead at halftime as the Bears were held scoreless in the first half for the first time since Dec. 14, 1987, when the San Francisco 49ers went on to wallop them 41-0.

Kosar completed 7 of 8 passes, including four in a row, as the Browns marched 73 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Kosar's 3-yard touchdown pass to Eric Metcalf capped the drive as the rookie made the grab in front of linebacker Ron Rivera on a crossing pattern. The Browns had seven first downs to the Bears' one in the first period.

Cleveland expanded its lead to 10-0 in the third quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Matt Bahr after a 72-yard drive that featured passes of 20 and 27 yards from Kosar to Slaughter (8 catches, 186 yards).

Frank Minnifield intercepted a Tomczak pass with 6:01 left in the third to set the Browns up at the 25.

Following a 12-yard pass to tight end Ozzie Newsome and a 7-yard pass to Slaughter, Metcalf darted 7 yards for his second touchdown of the night and a 17-0 Browns lead.

After completing only 4 of 14 passes for 76 yards and one interception, Tomczak, celebrating his 27th birthday, was yanked in favor of Harbaugh with 4:25 left in the third.

Richard Dent (bruised thigh), who didn't practice last week, was one of the Bears' two inactive players. Rookie John Shannon started in Dent's place at right end and rookie Tony Woods made his second NFL start at left end in place of Trace Armstrong.

Armstrong, recovering from a severe ankle sprain, did enter the game later in the first half.

"My ankle is coming along pretty fast," said Armstrong. "I think I've surprised a lot of people. I think the biggest key to healing is wanting to come back and seeing yourself get healthy."