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Bear with us: Play-by-play commentary
Late start this morning, so let's get right into the action...
The Lions' 13-game road losing streak goes head to head against the Bears' equal opportunity, home-and-away eight-game streak. Something's got to give.
The Bears kick to the Lions and on first down James Stewart runs into the pile for about a yard. ... Joey Harrington throws behind the receiver on second down and it's third and long. Harrington hits Larry Foster just beyond the first-down marker, a gain of 13. ... Cory Schlesinger runs for a few and then Harrington trips over the 30-yard line dropping back and again it's third and long ... and again Harrington finds someone, this time tight end Michael Ricks, for the first. ... The Bears call a timeout for some reason and that gives me time to catch up. ... We're back and Stewart runs for a few up the middle, brining up third and 11. ... The Bears blitz and Harrington cooly finds Stewart over the middle for a third straight third-down conversion. ... Stewart runs straight ahead for two, just inside the Bears' 40. Stewart runs right for not much. Another third and long. ... Looks like a nice day in Champaign. Harrington can't convert this one, missing badly on a desperation dump to Stewart. To make matters worse, the Lions are called for holding and they'll punt. The kick lands on the 1 like a pitching wedge and the Bears will have 99 yards to go.
Our old friend Pat Summerall takes time from his busy Golden Tee schedule to call today's game.
The Bears run Anthony Thomas on first down and it gives them some breathing room out to the 5. ... Chris Chandler lofts one on the money to Marty Booker, who makes an over-the-shoulder catch and falls out of bounds at the 33. ... Thomas runs for a few and then right guard Chris Villarrial jumps and the Bears are backed up five yards for the false start. ... Play action to Thomas, Chandler then throws to Thomas in the flats, he picks up a nice block and is pushed out after an 11-yard gain. Third and 1, which is always an adventure for the Bears. ... Chandler lofts another one to Booker and he burns Todd Lyght again for a big gain, inside the 20. A 40-yard pick up. ... Thomas pounds it for a few and a Lion is down, so we go to commercial.
Hey, I ran into Dan Hampton in the hallway coming in this morning. He gave me a spin to the outside and ducked in the WGN studios. It was very odd rushing in here to do this and seeing him on the way.
Second and 7 from the Lions' 15, Chandler lofts one to the coner of the end zone for Dez White but it's broken up. ... Chandler has to throw it away and that brings out Edinger. Edinger's theatrical set up would make Michael Flatley proud. It's something straight out of "Lord of the Dance." All high kicks and spins. ... His 35-yard attempt looked like it was taken by Flatley; it's wide right. He had made 13 in a row before that miss.
Summerall's partner, Brian Baldinger, is the guy who kept calling Marc Colombo "Marco Colombo" a few weeks ago and he just did it again while explaining Mike Gandy had stepped in a left tackle. It's not like Colombo was some undrafted free agent. He's the team's first-round pick. Apparently no rosters up in the booth.
Harrington's first-down pass is behind the receiver, but he hits the tight end in stride with his next attempt for an eight-yard gain. ... Schlesinger is stopped at the line but the Bears are flagged for offsides. Schlesinger again and he bounces off a few Bears before fumbling the ball. Keith Traylor knocked it out and, I belive, Mike Caldwell recovered. Don't hold me to that. ... Marty Mornhinweg tosses his red hanky; he wants to know if Schlesinger's knee was down. It's close but looks inconclusive.
During the review Summerall and Baldinger engage in a conversation straight out of a Mensa meeting.
Summerall: "Have you ever used the word indisputable?"
Baldinger: "No, I didn't even know it was a word."
Referee Tony Correnti: "There was no indisputable evidence. The play stands on the field."
So there you go.
First down Bears. Chandler runs that same play to Booker again, this time down the left sideline and Booker flat out drops it. Right through his hands. A sure touchdown just hit Memorial Stadium's ersatz grass. Booker grabs and shakes one of the metal barricades in the end zone out of frustration. ... Thomas on second runs for two and then the Lions are nailed for encroachment. ... The Bears need five on third down and they throw it two yards. The math apparently confused the coaching staff. They'll go for it on fourth and Chandler's pass is tipped. End of that drive. Dez White was wide open, by the way.
On the Lions' first play of the drive, James Stewart is nailed in the backfield by Rosevelt Colvin. ... The Bears blitz on second down and Harrington unloads, but it's behind Stewart. ... Third and 12 from the 35 and Harrington throws it right to R.W. McQuarters and McQuarters makes a nice return to the Detroit 15. The ball looked like it was tipped on the line.
So the Bears take over in great shape and give it to Leon Johnson, who runs up the middle and down to the 6. ... Johnson again and he's short of the first down. That's the end of the first.
Chandler takes it himself and he exits the pile holding his neck. He hurt his neck on a QB sneak a few weeks ago. They get a good spot; first and goal. ... Johnson runs right and gets no where. Well, he got a couple. ... The Lions blitz and Chandler rifles one to Marcus Robinson for a touchdown in the middle of the end zone.
Bears 7, Lions 0
Summerall, of course, called Robinson Booker. And then did it again right before the commercial.
To quote Summerall's Golden Tee both partner, Peter Jacobsen, "Wrong again, Pat."
On the ensuing kickoff Eddie Drummond breaks a decent return to the Detroit 39. I'm not sure I've ever used the word "ensuing" not referring to a kickoff. But that's just me. ... Play action to Stewart, Harrington has all day and tries to fire it to Schlesinger. But Colvin breaks it up. ... Bryan Robinson bats Harrington's third-down try and the Lions will punt.
The Bears start at their own 25 after minimal return by Leon Johnson and go three and out on a combination of short passes and no-gain runs. ... Brad Maynard's punt rolls inside the 25 on the other end of the field. Back and forth.
Harrington hits Bill Schroeder for a five-yard gain and then finds Germane Crowell, who spins and bounces his way to the first down.
In the midst of a discussion about Ed McCaskey, Summerall attempted to sing "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" and started with "Fight on, Chicago Bears..." before trailing off after realizing he butched the first line.
Harrington throws incomplete twice and then goes downfield to Ricks. Ricks trips and flags fly. Mike Green is called for pass interference. Their feet got tangled but because Green really did initiate the contact. That moves the ball inside the Bears' 30. ... Harrington finds Scotty Anderson on a crossing pattern down to the 17 and then dumps a screen to Schlesinger, who follows an escort of blockers down to the 5. ... Schlesinger gets nothing on first and goal and then Harrington throws high for tight end John Owens in the end zone. ... Brian Urlacher read Harrington all the way and knocked down the ball intended for, I believe, Crowell. Again, don't hold me to that. ... Jason Hanson's short kick is good.
Bears 7, Lions 3
It's nice to see McDonald's has brought back some characters not heard from in years, like Grimace and the Hamburgler. But in yet another effort to desensitize anything mildly frightening for our children, the new Hamburgler, who used to be sinister and shady, looks a like a Backstreet Boy. Mayor McCheese has called a news conference to address this.
Bears tight end Dustin Lyman just had his helmet ripped off near the Lions' bench. I didn't see how it started, but that's never good. The Bears pick up two straight first downs. Thomas runs for five and then Chandler finds a sliding Booker. ... Chandler hits Johnson for a short gain and Thomas picks up a few on second down. So, third and short, but first the two-minute warning. ... Two-minutes later, no, wait, that's not how that works. Anyway, Chandler hits Booker beyond the marker, but offsetting penalties bring up another third down. ... Chandler pumps once and then lofts another nice ball over the shoulder of White. But White can't get both feet in bounds and so the Bears will punt.
Fox is still going with the hang-time clock. Is there any purpose to this? By the way, Maynard's punt hung up there 4.7 seconds for those of you keeping record of this. The Lions are called for two penalties on the punt and that--or those--backs--or back--them up to their own 5.
In the first meeting the Bears made journeyman James Stewart look like Gale Sayers. Stewart ran all over the place for 172 yards. Stewart resembles George Bailey in this one. He was just stuffed twice. But on third down, Harrington finds an open receiver for a first down and then calls timeout with 14 seconds remaining in the half. But then the Lions run Stewart and the half ends. What was the timeout for? We'll never know...
The Bears coming out running the ball and quickly face third and short. ... Chandler fires one but it goes in and out of the hands of a Lions linebacker. Detroit's Drummond muffs the punt but falls on top of the ball. I didn't get the hang time on that one.
Harrington throws on first down, to whom, that's anyone's guess as the ball hits the turf and skids out of the picture. ... Harrington goes deep on second down and Schroeder makes a tremendous diving, finger-tip catch. The Lions are called for holding and the catch is ruled incomplete, so it's third and 10. .. Harrington throws high to Crowell, who stretches to make the catch and takes a big hit in the midsection from Mike Brown. Crowell gets up and gets right in Brown's face. Brown turns to the official, throws up his hands, like "What do you want from me?" And the yellow flag flies. Taunting on Crowell. Crowell goes to the sideline and gets an earful from the Lions special teams coach (no idea on the name there) and --I hate typing this name--Mornhiweg comes over, takes off his headset and says something to the receiver, we can only imagine along the lines up, "What the heck are you doing?" Mornhinweg is the correct spelling. ... Harrington throws incomplete. ... Harrington unloads just before Alex Brown arrives and goes down with the ease of a South American soccer player. No yellow card for diving. ... Third down and Harrington avoids Colvin and throws on the run to Schroeder. Great Favre-esque play there for a first down. ... Stewart runs twice and picks up another first down at the Bears' 30. I just realized I hadn't saved in a while. I apologize if you were refreshing and nothing was happening. ... Schlesinger is stuffed by Urlacher and Colvin sacks Harrington for a loss of eight. ... So, third and 16 and Harrington throws down the sideline to Anderson, who comes back inside Jerry Azumah on the underthrown ball and makes a great catch inside the 5. ... Stewart once for nothing and twice for a couple. Third and goal from inside the 1. ... Harrington fakes a hand off, rolls right and in an attempt to dive for the pylon, loses the ball, It flies out of his hand and out of bounds. A loss of about two. Bryan Robinson took a great angle there and chases the QB down. ... They're going for it ... Harrington rolls right again, stops and then fires back against the grain to Crowell for a touchdown. No taunting and no dirty looks from the coaching staff.
Lions 10, Bears 7
That was a 15-play drive that took well over 8 minutes.
Marty from Milwaukee writes in with a question about that diving attempt by Schroeder, a play that also featured a holding penalty on Detroit:
"My question is, could the Lions have challenged the play after the Bears declined the penalty and would the Bears be allowed to reverse their call to accept the peanlty, if the play was ruled a catch?"
Good question, Marty from Milwaukee. I'll get to this out as soon as I figure out how to determine a quarterback rating and how the BCS works. Seriously, good question. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer. I suggest you ask our guy Jerry Markbreit.
Chandler is hit from behind as he unloads and is rolling around holding his ankle. Jim Miller quickly starts throwing on the sideline. Henry Burris hasn't put down the clipboard.
So, here's Miller, facing a second and 10 from his own 11. He takes the snap and hands off to Thomas, who is forced out after no gain. Jim Miller hasn't thrown a pass all week--and it looks like it. Miller one-hops one to Booker and Chandler leaves on the back of a cart. Now "Big Cat" Williams is limping off the field. Summerall and Baldinger say the Bears will have to go with Burris. I highly doubt that. ... Maynard kicks out of his own end zone and Drummond avoids a few Bears before being taken down by Mike Brown inside Bears territory.
I may eat my words. Burris has a helmet on and is warming up.
The Lions start at the 35 and Harrington finds Stewart, who breaks a tackle and is brought down after nine yards. ... Stewart finishes what he started by diving into the line for the first down.
Dave from Jupiter wants to know if Bill Wade was the Bears' quarterback in 1963. I believe he was. Unfortunately, he's not available. Oh, yeah, Jupiter, Fla., that is.
Stewart runs left, stiff-arms Alex Brown and Damon Moore in succession and then runs through Mike Brown and stretches for the goal line. Wow. That looks like the Stewart we saw in Week 7. The stiff-arm on Moore put Moore down faster than a wraslin' clothesline. I take back the George Bailey crack.
Lions 17, Bears 7
Schlesinger just blasts Johnson on the kickoff. ... Miller comes out again and hands off to Thomas for five yards. Play action and Miller throws on a line to Booker but it's broken up by Todd Lyght. That throw looked pretty good. ... And that one didn't: A one-hopper to Robinson looked pretty bad. Getting the ball to the receiver on a bounce doesn't count. Robinson did make a nice back-door cut though. ... Maynard unloads a good kick and Fox already is hyping the Tampa-Green Bay game next. I don't blame them.
Phillip Daniels tips a Harrington pass and Stewart runs for a couple as the third quarter ends.
The Bears start at their own 25 and Miller hits Booker in stride before Eric Davis flips Booker. ... Booker shaken a bit comes out and Ahmad Merritt comes on. Miller goes right to Merritt, who gets spun and fumbles the ball. The Lions recover.
Stewart rumbles for about eight yards.
Baldinger: "This is the best football I've seen the Lions play."
Summerall: "They look quicker."
If that's not a slap at the Bears, I don't know what is.
The Lions can't make anything of the turnover and eventually punt. The ball tumbles through the end zone for a touchback.
The Bears, down 10 and led by a quarterback with a wounded wing, need to score here. Yes, I'm here to point out the obvious. Thank me later. Thomas runs around the corner for four yards. ... Miller finds Booker for eight yards. "Big Cat," who's back in the game, made a great block, picking off the end at the last minute. ... No amount of blocking can stop that blitz as Miller goes down almost as he takes the snap from center. ... A short pass to Booker gets some back, but it's third and nine. ... Miller is hit as he throws and the ball is right at Todd Lyght, who can't hang on. I guess that's why he's not a receiver. Maynard comes on to punt but Detroit is called for a neutral zone infraction. That makes it fourth and 3 and the Bears will now go for it. If they make this and score on this drive that play is big. A lot of ifs, I know. ... Miller hits John Davis, who makes a heck of a catch. But now it's ruled incomplete. I'd throw the red hanky on that one. Of course, Fox goes to commercial before showing any replays.
Davis stretched, made the grab, brought it into his body but the ball might have come lose as he was falling to the ground.
We'll see more James Stewart here than you'll see Jimmy Stewart on TV leading up to Christmas.
The Lions run Stewart twice and then Harrington throws incomplete on third down. A quick three and out. John "put another dime in the jukebox, baby" Jett punts and Leon Johnson makes a fair catch inside the 10.
The Bears last four possessions went like this: downs, fumble, punt, punt.
Miller hands to Thomas on first down and the fans don't like it. ... Miller hits Lyman for a first down. ... Play action and Leon Johnson makes a one-haded catch, spins around a guy and picks up 14 yards. He never even touched his right hand to the ball. That was like one of Michael Jordan's one-handed rebounds back in the day. He snagged it, tucked it and went on his way. ... Miller finds Dez White and the Bears, all of a sudden, are moving. ... Spoken too soon as Miller nearly throws an interception at the goal line. ... Miller comes right back and finds Johnson for a first. ... Up the middle to White to the 15 and the Bears forsake the huddle. ... Miller then underthrows Marcus Robinson in the end zone. Under three minutes to go and the dreaded wide-receiver screen rears its ugly head. Merritt makes something out of it, a few yards, but Robinson is called for an illegal block in the back. ... So it's second and 20 from the 23 with under three minutes to play. Miller's pass hits a defensive lineman in the back of the head. It wasn't even tipped; he just drilled it right in his dome. ... Third and 20 and Dez White makes an unbelievable catch for a touchdown. White reached over Todd Lyght's shoulders and snatched it away and then had the awareness to get both feet in. That's about as good as you'll ever see. Seriously. ... Edinger's kick pulls the Bears within a field goal.
Lions 17, Bears 14
Give Miller a lot of credit for coming off the bench cold and engineering that drive. Major props.
Edinger kicks it through the end zone.
Both teams have all their timeouts. Just so you know. The Lions start with 2:33 left and run Stewart right. Crowell is called for holding and that backs up Detroit to the 15. ... Stewart runs for a few and the Bears use their first timeout. ... Schlesinger rambles right and the Bears force him out of bounds. The Lions are called for holding again. The Bears decline and it's third and 13. ... Interesting. Harrington hands the ball off to Stewart and he's stopped. The Bears call timeout and they'll have a full two minutes and a timeout to get this done. Jett punts from his own 5 and doesn't get all of it. Johnson fiels it at the 50 and is met by the entire Lions special teams unit at the 47.
So here we go. Miller finds Dez White over the middle to the 42. The Bears go without a huddle and Miller hits Merritt for about 7. ... Not sure what happened there, but Leon Johnson fell on the ball in the backfield and Miller burns the Bears' final timeout. Miller dropped the snap and then booted it trying to pick it up. A 10-yard loss. ... Miller throws low to Booker and just like that it's third and 20. ... Just over a minute to go and Miller looks for Lyman but it's broken up by safety Bracy Walker. They're too far for a field goal, so they'll go for it. For some reason, Detroit calls a timeout, which gives the Bears some time to think about the impending fourth and 20 play. ... Miller takes the snap, falls down, gets up and then hits Dez White at the 12. White gets out of bounds. Summerall called that a miracle and who am I to disagree. That was nuts. He fell down. ... Miller takes two shots at the end zone but they're both way off and that leaves 45 seconds on the clock. ... Merritt takes the dreaded wide-receiver screen and almost gets to the first-down marker. A curious call. That play needs to be stricken from the playbook. Go for the end zone again. ... Edinger comes on to try and tie it. No River Dance jokes here. Edinger's kick is good. Tie game.
Bears 17, Lions 17
Detroit wins the toss and takes the wind over the ball. Yes, you read that right. Wind over the ball. Someone should remind him this is sudden death. The Bears will receive.
It's not quite Thanksgiving, but close enough. It's hard not to think of David Williams here.
No such luck this time as Merritt takes it three yards deep in the end zone and barrels his way to the 35. Not a bad return but we can't stop thinking about Williams.
Miller's pass is tipped and flutters incomplete. ... Johnson busts through the line and rambles to midfield. ... Wide-receiver screen gets nothing as usual. Dan Jiggets reports the wind isn't that strong and questions Mornheinweg's decision to defer on the kickoff. ... Miller is sacked but comes right back and hits a diving Booker at the 37. Nice throw and equally nice catch. They're going to review this to see if the ball hit the ground. This rule makes it virtually impossible for anyone to make a lay-out, diving catch anymore. But this one looks good. Booker has huge hands and the ball basically disappears into his body as he tucks it. You can't beat the excitement of instant replay. The play stands; let's play some football, not the VCR. ... Miller dumps one to Pritchett but the fullback lets it bounce off his shoulder and up in the air. A Lion gets a hand on it but the ball finally falls incomplete. ... Miller's pass to Lyman is incomplete but the Bears are called for holding. The Lions accept the penalty and give the Bears another play. That decision might backfire. ... It just did. Miller finds Booker over the middle to the 30 and that puts them in Edinger's range. It's fourth and 3. Had they not taken the penalty it would've been fourth and 8 from the 35 or a 53-yard field goal. It's now a 48-yarder. The wind is in the Bears' faces. Edinger is standing with his arms crossed, waiting to run on the field, but the offense huddles up. Miller joins them and Edinger goes back to kicking into the net on the sideline by himself. Very interesting, folks. ... Miller drops back and hits Dez White, who dives for the first. Clutch play there. ... Now the Bears pound it with Leon Johnson straight ahead for two yards.
If the Bears win here, Marty Mornhinweg is going to get ripped for accepting that penalty.
Johnson runs again for a yard and then loses two yards on third down. Here comes Edinger for a 40-yard attempt into a swirling wind. It's right down the middle and the Bears have won a game.
Mornhinweg--I'm glad I don't have to type that name anymore--throws down his clipboard and rips off his headset while Edigner is carried off the field.
Final: Bears 20, Lions 17