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Bears snap eight-game slide with OT victory

11/24/2002

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Detroit took the wind and Chicago got the
win.

Question on the Lions: Since Hakim and Schroeder have had struggles, does it make any sense for them to draft or sign a high-profile WR next year?
Wide receiver is a concern for the Lions because of Bill Schroeder's drops and Az-Zahir Hakim's lack of size. They need some bigger wideouts to help their young quarterback, Joey Harrington. It's difficult to draft a receiver in the first round, unless he's a superb prospect. I think they should go for a defensive player first and then look for a receiver in the second or third round.

Question on the Bears: Since Miller and Chandler can't stay healthy, should they be in the market for a QB next season?
Yes. And they may not have to look too far -- such as look to St. Louis and see what the Rams will do with Marc Bulger. The Bears need a young quarterback to build the offense around. I think they're still suffering from the failed Cade McNown experiment.

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

Sore-armed Jim Miller came off the bench to rescue the Bears,
who benefitted from Detroit's unconventional overtime strategy
Sunday to beat the Lions 20-17 and end an eight-game losing streak.

"The wind was a factor. They wanted us to drive the length of
the field, which is exactly what we did,'' Miller said after Paul
Edinger's 40-yard field goal gave the Bears their first win since
the second week of the season.

"Any team wants the ball in overtime. They made the decision
and it cost them,'' Miller added.

Miller, playing with a sore right elbow, led the Bears to 10
points in the final 2:33 of regulation, featuring two great catches
by Dez White, and Chicago (3-8) forced overtime on Edinger's
22-yard field goal on the final play.

After winning the coin toss to start overtime, the Lions (3-8)
decided to play defense first with a strong 17 mph wind at their
backs instead of taking the ball.

"Knowing the outcome of this game, I wouldn't do it again,''
Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg said. "But in a similar situation,
I would. I had complete confidence in our defense up to that point.
I had complete confidence we would get a stop. The wind knocked the
ball off the tee when we were kicking off. It was substantial, that
was my rationale.''

But given the ball first, Miller moved the Bears from their own
35 to the Detroit 22, hitting third down passes of 14 and 15 yards
to Marty Booker and then connecting again with a 5-yarder to White
on fourth-and-3 from the Detroit 30 to get Edinger in position for
the game winner.

"You always want to take the ball,'' Edinger said. "It's
sudden death.''

The Lions made another debatable decision during the final drive
after Chicago was called for holding on a third-and-5 from the
Lions 35. Detroit accepted the 10-yard penalty, backing the Bears
up but also giving them an extra down that Miller used to hit
Booker on the 15-yarder.

"It was a 52-yard field goal and I wanted to give them little
or no chance at points,'' Mornhinweg said.

"I don't really understand why they didn't decline it,''
Edinger said. "They knew what the wind was doing.''

The Bears' eight-game losing streak had tied a franchise record.

Chicago starter Chris Chandler had to leave with a sprained
ankle in the third quarter and Miller, who's been unable to even
throw in practice because of tendinitis, entered the game.

With the Bears trailing 17-7, Miller went 8-for-11 in a 91-yard
drive with White making a spectacular 23-yard touchdown catch over
Detroit's Todd Lyght with 2:33 to go.

Down 17-14, the Bears got the ball at the Detroit 47 with just
over two minutes left. They appeared to be out of field goal range
when Miller fumbled the snap and Leon Johnson recovered for Chicago
after a 10-yard loss.

But on a fourth-and-20 from Detroit's 45 and a minute left,
Miller fell down after taking the snap, somehow got to his feet and
threw a 33-yard pass to White to the Lions 12.

"I knew we had to get a first down. Maybe I should scramble a
little bit more sometimes,'' Miller said.

"That's what got it open. From what happened in the backfield,
I was open all of a sudden,'' White said.

After two incompletions, Edinger kicked a 22-yard field goal as
the clock was winding down.

"It looked to me like we had Miller. He was down but was still
able to find a wide open receiver,'' Lions defensive tackle Luther
Elliss said. "If a guy is that wide open, somebody's not doing
their job. That's disheartening.''

Joey Harrington led the Lions on a 69-yard drive on their first
possession of the second half, converting three straight third
downs with completions, including a 34-yard pass to Scott Anderson
that carried the Lions to the Chicago 2.

The pivotal pass to Anderson on a third-and-16 and came one down
after Harrington had been sacked for an 8-yard loss.

Detroit had a first-and-goal at the 2 and after the Bears held
for three downs, Harrington rolled out on fourth and tossed a
1-yard TD pass to Germane Crowell for a 10-7 lead.

After the Bears had to punt and fans at Memorial Stadium began
to boo, Detroit's Eddie Drummond had a 16-yard punt return to give
the Lions good field position.

James Stewart then turned the corner and broke three tackles on
a 23-yard TD run that made it 17-7.

Chicago led 7-3 at the half. R.W. McQuarters picked off a tipped
pass from Harrington near the end of the opening quarter. Five
plays later, Chandler found Marcus Robinson with a 3-yard TD pass
in the back of the end zone.

It was the second OT game of the season between the two old
rivals. Detroit won the first game at Ford Field 23-20.

Game notes
Stewart, who had a career-high 172 yards in the first
meeting, finished with 85. ... Booker had 10 catches for 157 yards
and White a career-high eight for 106 yards. ... The Lions are 0-6
on the road and still winless in away games under Mornhinweg.

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