"I knew immediately that one of us on the outside was going to get it," Johnson said. "So I just wanted to work, be patient and he threw a great ball."
Johnson also had a tiebreaking TD reception in the third quarter and Reggie Bush rushed for 105 yards as Detroit (6-3) swept the season series against Chicago (5-4) for the first time since the 2007 season.
When Green Bay lost 27-13 to Philadelphia, the Lions were all alone in first in the division for the first time since the end of Week 5 of the 2005 season.
Cutler threw for 250 yards and a touchdown in his first action since he injured his groin last month. He injured his left ankle in the second quarter and looked progressively worse as the game wore on.
Coach Marc Trestman finally decided to put in Josh McCown before the Bears' final drive.
McCown drove the Bears down the field, throwing an 11-yard TD to Brandon Marshall with 40 seconds left. After a roughing penalty on Willie Young gave the Bears another chance at the tying 2-point conversion, Nick Fairley threw Matt Forte down in the backfield to preserve the win for Detroit.