Scott Mitchell couldn't survive two consecutive interceptions and the Detroit Lions lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-28, in overtime on Sunday.
With 35 seconds left in regulation, Mitchell was picked off by Ashley Ambrose at the Detroit 35, but Doug Pelfrey, who missed a 35-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, had a 48-yarder blocked by Ron Rice as time expired, forcing the overtime.
Then Corey Sawyer intercepted Mitchell's pass to Johnnie Morton on the fourth play of overtime and returned it 53 yards for the winning touchdown.
It was redemption for Sawyer.
"They picked up on me. I had a tough day," said the cornerback, who had managed to break up only one of seven passes in his direction before the interception. "Some cornerbacks would lay down, but I just take it on the chin and keep fighting."
Mitchell was 15 for 31 for 204 yards.
The victory was a relief for the Bengals (1-1), who wanted desperately to get off to a good start. Since 1991, the Bengals have gone 9-48 in the first half of the season.
"I told the players at the start of overtime that, 'Here it is. If we ever want to be a good football team, the game is for the taking,' " Bengal Coach Bruce Coslet said. "I said to the defense, 'You've got to believe you're going to stop them and we'll then take it in.' "
Barry Sanders, who rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns in 26 carries, tied the score at 28-28 on a five-yard scamper with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals had taken a 28-21 lead on rookie Damon Gibson's 65-yard punt return for a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Bengal quarterback Neil O'Donnell was 25 for 36 for 303 yards and two touchdowns to Darnay Scott.