The Bears (1-3) got a win after starting 0-3 for the second time in as many seasons under Fox. They also stopped a six-game home losing streak as well as a six-game slide against Detroit (1-3), though things got tight near the end.
Chicago was leading 17-6 when Andre Roberts returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. Golden Tate then caught a 2-point conversion pass from Matthew Stafford to cut it to 17-14 with 1:52 left, but the Bears recovered the onside kick.
Fox has been noncommittal when asked if Cutler will start when he is ready to return, and he wasn't about to tip his hand after this one. Chicago visits Indianapolis next week.
"I'd like to enjoy this for at least a few hours," Fox said.
Hoyer shrugged off a similar question, saying, "It's my role to do whatever's asked of me. Today, I'm going to enjoy the victory. Whatever they say to me tomorrow, then that's what I'll prepare to do. I think that's being a professional about it."
Zach Miller caught a touchdown, and the Bears gained 408 yards in just their second home win in 10 games under Fox.
The Lions dropped their third straight, with Stafford struggling to find open receivers and a short-handed run game once again unable to get going.
Stafford was 23 of 36 for 213 yards and was intercepted twice deep in Bears territory. He got picked off by Jacoby Glenn on a miscommunication with Tate near the end of the first half.
And the Lions had the ball on the Chicago 23 when Deiondre Hall picked off a pass intended for Anquan Boldin with about four minutes remaining in the game.
Marvin Jones Jr. had 74 yards receiving after setting a career high with 205 yards against Green Bay the previous week.
"We were just not sharp at all," coach Jim Caldwell said. "There was no rhythm to it. That's my fault."
TO RECAP: The Lions settled for a 21-yard field goal by Matt Prater on the opening drive of the second half after two runs at the Chicago 1 got stopped.
Hoyer hit Royal deep down the middle for a 64-yard gain on the next drive, setting up a 6-yard touchdown catch by Miller that increased Chicago's lead to 14-6 in the third quarter.
But Chicago's Kevin White was slow to get off the ground after being tackled by Glover Quin following a short catch and eventually walked to the locker room with an ankle injury. Fox said he had no details on the severity of the injury.
QUOTABLE: Tate on the interception late in the first half with the Lions on the Chicago 22: "Just a silly mistake on my part. I'll own up to that. Just missed a signal. That cost us three points. It's tough. It's tough."
Bears right guard Kyle Long on winning: "We were 100 percent invested into this game. I don't even know who we play next."
MISSING PLAYERS: Ansah sprained his ankle two weeks ago in Detroit's loss to Tennessee and didn't return to the game. Levy has a quadriceps injury. He missed much of last season with a hip injury.
Besides Cutler, Chicago played its second game without LBs Danny Trevathan (sprain thumb) and Lamarr Houston (season-ending left ACL tear). RB Jeremy Langford (ankle) was inactive after getting hurt last week at Dallas.
OLD FRIEND: Joique Bell had a quiet debut for Chicago, running for 6 yards on three attempts. Bell was released by the Lions in February and worked out for them last week before signing with Chicago on Tuesday.
INJURIES : Lions RB Dwayne Washington limped off in the first with a left ankle injury after he was tackled by John Timu on a second-quarter run. ... TE Eric Ebron aggravated his ankle injury and hurt his knee blocking on a run in the first quarter, but returned.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul having surgery on left knee
Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is having surgery on his left knee -- the same knee on which he had surgery in July to clean up cartilage that was causing discomfort.
Why Stephen A. sees Big Ben as the Steelers' only option
Stephen A. Smith emphasizes how important it is that the Steelers commit to Ben Roethlisberger for the 2021 season.
Pittsburgh Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger to return in 2021, team president Art Rooney II says
The Pittsburgh Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger to return as their quarterback next season, according to team president Art Rooney II.
Spears sounds off on MVP predictions for Wentz
Marcus Spears explains why Carson Wentz is a long shot to win the MVP award next season.
Should the Cowboys draft a QB?
Marcus Spears suggests the Cowboys consider drafting a quarterback if they can't get a deal done with Dak Prescott.
Graziano: Momentum for Big Ben to return to Steelers
Dan Graziano analyzes the Steelers' negotiations with Ben Roethlisberger.