Lions improve record to 5-2 for first time since 2000

CHICAGO (AP) -- Surprised? Yes, Roy Williams was surprised.

He was surprised to find out the Detroit Lions are 5-2 for the first time since 2000, not that they beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"2000? Two thousand years?" Williams asked.

Either way, it's been a long time.

Jon Kitna passed for 268 yards, Kevin Jones ran for 105 yards and a touchdown, and the Lions again showed they're serious contenders in the NFC with a 16-7 victory over the Bears on Sunday.

With the strong start, Detroit is making a bid for its first playoff appearance since 1999. The Lions have endured six straight seasons with at least 10 losses and won just three games last year, coach Rod Marinelli's first. But things are different now.

"This is uncharted territory for us," center Dominic Raiola said. "I think Rod is going to keep us in there, keep us knowing that next week's game [against Denver] is even bigger. We know what it means. ... We need to keep it in perspective and got to keep that mind-set that every week is a big game."

Four weeks earlier, the Lions scored an NFL-record 34 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Bears 37-27 in Detroit.

This time, they didn't need the dramatics.

They got two field goals by Jason Hanson along with a 4-yard touchdown run by Jones in the second quarter to take a 13-0 halftime lead and hung on from there.

Jones, making his second straight start after injuring his foot last December, was effective and Kitna was efficient, completing 24-of-35 without an interception. Williams caught eight passes for 77 yards, and Shaun McDonald added six catches for 64 yards.

Greg Olsen's 20-yard touchdown catch with 5:26 left in the third quarter pulled the Bears within 13-7, but it was a dreary day for a team that was hoping to go into the bye with a .500 record. Instead, the defending NFC champions are 3-5 and reeling.

Brian Griese was unable to carry over the magic he used to orchestrate a game-winning 97-yard touchdown drive at Philadelphia the previous week, and the running game was a rumor again.

Griese threw four interceptions and got picked off three times in the end zone.

The Bears were threatening to pull within 16-14 when Gerald Alexander intercepted a pass intended for Mark Bradley midway through the fourth.

Blame for this loss goes beyond Griese, who was 22-of-40 for 208 yards.

Cedric Benson had another rough afternoon. He finished with 50 yards on 13 carries, 10 of those attempts coming in the first half. He dropped a pass on the game's first play, and things did not improve for him or the Bears.

Safety Adam Archuleta didn't help matters when he bumped Williams on a deep pass down the right side, a 47-yard penalty that moved the Lions to the 28. That set up a 26-yard field goal by Hanson on the first play of the second quarter.

Things continued to get worse for Chicago when Griese attempted to hit Mark Bradley in double coverage in the end zone. A leaping Kenoy Kennedy made the interception, and the Lions again made the Bears pay.

Jones ran it in from the 4, plowing over Lance Briggs, to make it 10-0 and cap a 93-yard drive.

"We didn't even know if we were going to have him at all this year," Kitna said. "And to have him playing at the high level that he is playing at is great for us."

Game notes
Devin Hester set up Olsen's touchdown with a 39-yard punt return. ... Bears CB Nathan Vasher missed his fifth game with a groin injury, and DT Darwin Walker (sprained left knee) missed his third straight. ... The Lions were without DE Kalimba Edwards (knee). ... Detroit signed safety LaMarcus Hicks from the practice squad and released TE Courtney Anderson.


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