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Harrington leads Lions to OT victory

10/21/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Lions have won as many games in six
weeks as they did all of last season. They still don't think
anybody believes in them.

Question on the Bears: What happened to all those breaks and good karma from last year?
Good players are more important than good karma, and the Bears have been hurt by injuries. CB R.W. McQuarters was out for awhile, and he's back now but isn't playing consistently. Plus, the season-ending injury to DT Ted Washington was huge, because he helped keep those offensive linemen off the linebackers.

Question on the Lions: Has Harrington's success possibly brought Millen and Mornhinweg another year?

I believe so. GM Matt Millen probably deserves another shot, but I'm not sure if coach Marty Mornhinweg will stick around. Personnel-wise, the Lions made a great decision in drafting QB Joey Harrington. Every week, he gets better -- and he gives Detroit fans reason to be optimistic about the future.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Jason Hanson's 48-yard field goal with 10:18 left in overtime
gave Detroit a 23-20 win Sunday over the Chicago Bears, who have
lost four straight.

"I don't think it silences a lot of people, I really don't,''
said James Stewart, who ran for a career-high 172 yards and two
touchdowns on 32 carries. "I really think people will still look
at us as being on the bottom of the league. I really don't think
this win makes people change their minds about us, but we can't
worry about that.''

While the Lions (2-4) matched their win total from last season,
Chicago (2-4) already has more regular-season losses than all of
last year, when it won its first division title since 1990.

The victory was especially sweet for rookie quarterback Joey Harrington, who failed to lead Detroit on fourth-quarter comebacks
last week against Minnesota and in his first start against Green
Bay -- throwing an interception each time.

After leading 10 fourth-quarter comebacks at Oregon, Harrington
now has one in the NFL after completing 16 of 30 passes for 199
yards with no TDs or interceptions.

"We've been very close a couple times and haven't pulled it
out, so it's a frustrating feeling to be 2-4,'' Harrington said.
"But it's a good feeling because we've been so close and we've
been improving. We're really optimistic.''

The Bears scored 17 unanswered points to take a 20-14 lead
midway through the third quarter.

Harrington then led a 14-play drive to pull the Lions within
three late in the third. The game-tying drive -- with no timeouts
left -- set up Hanson's 24-yard kick with 2 seconds left.

"These are the games we were winning last year,'' Chicago's
Rosevelt Colvin said. "Now, we're losing them.''

Anthony Thomas ran for 92 yards and a TD, but fumbled twice.

Chris Chandler, starting in place of an injured Jim Miller, was
16-of-25 passing for 163 yards with one TD and one interception. He
extended his own NFL record (since the 1970 merger) by starting for
his seventh team.

Hanson's kick to force overtime capped a wild, 12-play drive
that covered 72 yards. It started at the Detroit 22 with 2:21 left.

The Lions benefited from instant replay for the third time in
the game when Harrington's 15-yard pass to Scotty Anderson at
midfield was ruled a catch and fumble, not an incomplete pass by
the replay official.

Five plays later, the Lions had a first-and-goal from Chicago's
2 with 34 seconds left. After Harrington was stuffed on a sneak, he
spiked the ball with 11 seconds to go.

Chicago's Mike Green was called for pass interference on third
down, which gave the Lions a new set of downs from the 1 with 7
seconds left.

Two plays later, a false start by Lions rookie Matt Murphy
negated Larry Whigham's sack, which would've ended the game.

Harrington was relieved it didn't.

"I didn't have a clue -- I never saw the flags,'' he said. "I
was on the ground, and I heard the ref coming in and yelling 'False
start, false start -- no play,' and I was yelling back 'Thank you!
Thank you!'''

Chicago's overtime kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Lions
the ball at their own 40. Detroit ran the ball seven straight times
to set up the game-winning kick.

"I didn't watch it,'' Stewart said. "I was on my knee, letting
the crowd let me know what happened.''

Game notes
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was in Detroit to visit
Ford Field, the site of the 2006 Super Bowl. ... Chandler, who
started 14 games for Atlanta last season, has also started for
Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, the Houston Oilers, the Los Angeles Rams
and the Phoenix (now Arizona) Cardinals. ... Hanson was to fly to
his home in Washington state Sunday night to be with his wife, who
is expecting their third child. ... Detroit receiver Germane
Crowell played for the first time since injuring his knee on Oct.
21, 2001, and caught two passes for 21 yards. ... Gary Moeller,
fired as Detroit's head coach after the 2000 season, is the Bears'
linebackers coach.

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