Griese directs winning drive as Bears hold off Lions

DETROIT (AP) -- Making a quarterback change was part of the plan,
the Chicago Bears insisted.

That probably won't stop questions about who is best suited to
lead the NFC's top seed in the playoffs.

Brian Griese replaced Rex Grossman in the fourth quarter and led
two drives that set up field goals, helping Chicago beat the
Detroit Lions 26-21 Sunday.

"I thought I was going to play the whole game," Grossman said.
"But I guess they had plans that they were going to get me out
mid-third quarter."

Griese directed a 72-yard drive that put Robbie Gould in
position for a go-ahead field goal midway through the fourth
quarter and made a pass to set up Gould's fourth field goal, giving
Chicago a five-point cushion with 2:50 left.

"I hadn't played in a while, so it felt good to get out there
and contribute to a win," said Griese, who didn't play in the
previous seven games after being used sparingly. "I'm ready to
play whenever they want me to, but I don't have any expectations."

Switching QBs added a touch of intrigue to a game with nothing
at stake.

The Bears (13-2) clinched home-field advantage throughout the
NFC playoffs last week and Detroit (2-13) has been relegated to
playing for pride since midseason -- for the sixth straight year.

One possession after Jon Kitna's NFL-high 30th turnover, the
Lions had a shot to win, but came up short as they have often this

Kitna threw a pass into the end zone on the final play that
leaping wide receiver Mike Williams got his hands on, but couldn't
control in the end zone while being closely defended by cornerback
Devin Hester.

"I owe it to myself and the team to make that play," Williams
said. "That's just a play you make."

Chicago coach Lovie Smith insisted before the game that he would
play to win -- not to avoid injuries -- by using his starters as long
as necessary in the hopes of staying sharp for the playoffs.

After the game, Smith said the move at QB was planned.

"We wanted to get a win in the worst way and we wanted to look
at a few other players," Smith said.

Smith stuck with Grossman earlier this month as his starting QB
after he threw three interceptions in two straight games.

Grossman responded by throwing four TDs without an interception
in the next two games, adding a career-high 339 yards passing last
week, in two wins that helped Chicago earn the right to stay at
home in the NFC playoffs.

Against the Lions, he had another lackluster performance in what
has been an up-and-down season -- but Chicago won its fourth

Grossman was 20-of-36 for 197 yards with a TD. Griese was 6-of-9
for 51 yards.

Bernard Berrian's 13-yard score early in the second quarter gave
the Bears the lead and was one of the only highlights Grossman had
in a game that could lead to speculation during the final week of
the regular season and into the playoffs.

"We'll leave the decisions up to the coaching staff," said
wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, whom Grossman overthrew badly on a
play that likely would've been a touchdown in the third quarter.
"I'm confident with both guys, but Rex has been our guy all

Kitna completed 27 of 45 passes for 283 yards and TDs to Roy
Williams, Dan Campbell and Mike Furrey, who had 10 catches for 107

But Kitna fumbled when Mark Anderson sacked him late in the
game, adding to his long line of miscues at crucial times. Adewale
Ogunleye's recovery at the Detroit 32 with 3:46 left set up a field
goal that forced the Lions to go for a TD on their final drive.

"We turned the ball over one time, but that was one time too
many," Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said. "We didn't get any on
defense, and that's critical in a game like this."

Like many games this season, the Lions were solid at times and
had a shot to win but made too many mistakes.

"That's just how our year has gone," Campbell said.

Detroit has lost seven straight and is an NFL-worst 23-72 since

Game notes
The Bears had two starting defensive backs inactive -- Todd
Johnson (ankle) and cornerback Charles Tillman (back) -- and lost
starting fullback Jason McKie (ankle) early in the game. ...
Detroit was without cornerback Fernando Bryant (concussion) and
returner Eddie Drummond (hip), and defensive line coach Joe Cullen,
who was suspended by the NFL for the game for two arrests -- one for
nude driving and one for drunken driving. ... About 100 fans left
their seats during the second quarter in a protest against team
president Matt Millen, who took control of the franchise when its
slide began in 2001. They gathered to chant "Fire Millen!" and
left the stadium.


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