The Bears, remember them? It seems like ages ago since that Monday night pasting by the Packers. In reality it was only two weeks ago and the Bears and their fans have had the bye week to either dwell on it or forget about it.
This week it's the Lions, from their new home in downtown Motown with their new quarterback, rookie Joey Harrington. Meanwhile the Bears, looking to avoid their fourth straight loss, are starting Chris Chandler, who turned 38 last week...
As usual we welcome you to this play-by-play feature. And as always, don't forget to drop us a line.
Football is coming up...
It's quite possibly colder in this office than it is outside. I apologize in advance for any typos but I'm wearing mittens.
The Bears can't win; they lose the toss. Paul Edinger kicks to Desmond Howard and the Lions start at their own 22. ... Harrington's first pass hits Bears linebacker Rosevelt Colvin right in the hands, but Colvin drops it. ... Running back James Stewart runs through a huge hole for 14 yards; Stewart runs again on second down but is caught from behind by Bryan Robinson for no gain. ... Harrington throws to Larry Foster for a gain of 17. The Bears are called for illegal contact. Detroit declines and the Lions are in business. ... For the love of God, there's a sack by the Bears. Of course it's not by a down lineman but by linebacker Mike Caldwell, who came untouched on a blitz. ... Stewart gains that back with a 9-yard run across midfield. ... Third and 10, Harrington avoids the blitz and throws to rookie tight end John Owens--not to be confused with the John Owens, who is stopped short. ... The Lions John Hanson trots on to try a 55-yard field goal that falls short.
I see on the wire that cornerback R.W. McQuarters is not playing. Sorry for not telling you that sooner. I'm rusty after the bye week.
Chris Chandler's first play as a Bear is a play-action dump to tight end John Davis, who weaves for 10 yards and a first down. ... Anthony Thomas runs up the middle for maybe a yard and then catches a short pass from Chandler for about 4. ... Chandler pulls a John Elway with the ol' hard count cadence move and draws the Lions offsides. Cleary a veteran move. Third and short and Leon Johnson busts through the line for a first down. ... More play action and Chandler has all day and hits Dez White at the 2. White made a great play keeping his feet in. Of course, the Lions are challenging the call. These eyes say he's in bounds. OK, this is hard to explain but the replay shows part of a camera on the sideline that looks like it's part of White's foot and it's right on the line. It's really the tiny light atop the hand-held camera. The refs overturn the call. I don't know what to say. Is that guy down there from NFL films? Get Steve Sabol on the horn. ... After that the Bears return to their old form and run the dreaded wide-receiver screen that nets nada. And to make matters worse they're called for holding. ... Now the refs are huddling up again. Let's go, people. Something about only one set of headphones are working. Huh? This is football? ... Back to the game, second and 20 and Chandler looks for White down the right sideline again but it's overthrown. ... On third down, Chandler scrambles and scrambles and scrambles and throws it away. Bears punt.
That replay reversal was ... let's just say, not good.
Stewart runs up the middle through another huge hole. But then is stuffed for a 10-yard loss on second down trying to run outside. ... Harrington scrambles and runs it himself and is knocked out of bounds by Brian Urlacher. Harrington jumps up like he's Brett Favre and slaps Urlacher on the butt. He has to be hurting. ... Harrington avoids the rush and lobs it to his back, who is stuffed. Harrington looks pretty good--very active--but the Lions have to punt.
From the Bears' 42, Thomas runs up the middle for a couple. ... A short pass to Thomas brings up third down. ... White picks up 9 on a crossing pattern. ... The announcer keeps calling Marc Colombo "Marco." What the? Hey, fuggedaboudit. White falls on a reverse and it's second and 20. ... Thomas doesn't get much and then Chandler is sacked on third down. ... The punt bounces into the end zone.
The Lions runs Stewart up the middle again on first down, but this time Urlacher fills the hole as the first quarter ends.
Harrington throws incomplete and then hits Foster for a short gain, bringing up fourth down and another thrilling punt. And another flag. Penalties and punts. Can't get enough of those.
Thomas runs for a few up the middle and then turns the corner on second down and levels the defensive back. That's the Thomas we remember from last season. ... On third and short, Chandler throws an out pattern to Marcus Robinson for a first. Well done. ... Thomas bursts through the line and then cuts right into Marty Booker. The ball is loose but Thomas falls on it. Second and 1. ... A dump to fullback Daimon Shelton picks up the first. ... Thomas finds a hole and breaks a decent run for about 8 yards. ... Fox shows Jim Miller on the sideline with his helmet on. He's not coming in, people. Just pipe down. ... Someone it's second and 9. Booker drops two straight passes and Edinger comes on to boot a 53-yard field goal.
Bears 3, Lions 0
Foster botches the kick, picks it up, gets blasted and drops the ball again. The Bears recover. But the replay shows the ball hit the ground and came out. This will be reversed. ... Twenty minutes later it is. Lions' ball. ... Harrington throws to Az-Zahir Hakim on a crossing pattern and then hits Aveion Cason on the run down the sideline for a 30-yard gain. Two great throws by the rookie. ... After a short gain by Stewart, Harrington rolls left and hits Az Hakim but the Lions are called for holding. Third and 16 from the Bears' 38 and Cason drops a Harrington pass. ... John Jett, no relation to Joan, comes on to punt. And it's a good one. The Bears will start at their own 3.
Ralph from Boston e-mails, saying the Bears seem to play at the level of their opponent. Good point, Ralph. You could also say the Lions are playing down to the Bears' level.
Chandler looks for some breathing room with a short pass to tight end Dustin Lyman. ... Oh, brother. Thomas fumbles at the 6 and the Lions' Robert Porcher recovers.
Stewart blasts up the middle right at Urlacher and into the end zone.
Lions 7, Bears 3
Vinny Sutherland returns the kick to the 18. ... Chandler rolls left but it sacked by a blitzing Donte Curry. ... On second down Eric Davis picks off Chandler and returns it to the 16. That was quick.
Stewart runs up the middle inside the 10, but is stuffed on second down. This guy is really explosive. He really hits the hole. The Bears' Reggie Austin is down. He got hit helmet to helmet. He's up and walking off the field. ... Harrington, under pressure from Colvin, rolls right and hits running back Cory Schlesinger at the 1. Mike Brown saves a touchdown with a big hit at the goal line. ... Harrington looks for the tight end in the end zone, but Colvin makes a diving play to knock the pass down. ... Stewart is stuffed and it's third down from the 2. ... Stewart is hit behind the line, spins and is met by four Bears short of the goal line. Mike Caldwell hit Stewart in the back field. The Lions call timeout. Great goal-line stand by the Bears' defense. Wait, the Lions are going for it. ... Scratch that goal-line stand comment, Stewart scores on the same play the Bears just stuffed.
Lions 14, Bears 3
With just over a minute to go, the Bears take over at the 20. ... Chandler hits tight end Fred Baxter with two quick passes and the Bears are at midfield. Timeout. ... A screen pass to Thomas goes nowhere. Thomas didn't get out of bounds. ... Chandler takes a quick snap and hits Dez White for 26 yards down the sideline. ... Dustin Lyman is dragged down short of the first down and inbounds. The Bears call timeout with 11 seconds remaining in the half. ... Chandler makes the Lions jump offsides again, which doesn't mean much at this point. ... Chandler steps up in the pocket and drills it to Booker in the end zone for a touchdown. Very calm and cool drive there by Chandler. Seventy-six yards and Chandler hung out in the pocket and found Booker for the TD.
Lions 14, Bears 10
The Bears got one back right before the half. That was big. If not for those two turnovers, this might be a different game.
Here comes Terry Bradshaw. Mute, please.
After Sutherland takes the second-half kickoff to the 25, Thomas runs for a couple. ... Chandler is hit as he throws by Luther Ellis and almost throws another interception. Ellis is called for driving Chandler into the ground, giving the Bears a first down. ... Thomas runs twice for a yard. ... Chandler hits Baxter for a first down. But again, Chandler is blasted after he throws the ball. He's holding his left hand but stays in the game. Good thing he's right handed. ... Thomas is stuffed again. ... Play action and Thomas makes a tremendous block, picking up two blitzing Lions. Chandler throws long to Dez White to the 4. ... One play later, Thomas powers in for the touchdown.
Bears 17, Lions 14
A 75-yard drive aided by a big Lions penalty and the Bears regain the lead. Chandler is really hanging in there and making things happen but paying a serious price. Remember, Henry Burris is the next option.
Stewart changes direction and breaks one for 20 yards before pulling the gutless Franco Harris move and ducks out of bounds. ... Bryan Robinson gets to Harrington and Harrington fumbles. Alfonso Boone falls on it and the Bears are in great field position. After looking so solid Harrington looked like Shane Matthews there.
A touchdown out of this would be big. Of course the Bears runs two uninspired plays and face third and 9. ... Chandler overthrows Booker and here comes Edinger for a 42-yard attempt. Kick good.
Bears 20, Lions 14
Three straight runs up the middle by Stewart move the Lions to midfield. The Lions' offensive line is having its way with the Bears defense. ... Stewart gets the ball on third and inches and runs for 6 yards. ... More Stewart and he runs for 8 and then picks up the first down inside the Bears' 30. ... Stewart, Stewart, Stewart. Finally the Lions are stopped--by a holding penalty. Second and 16 at the Bears' 30. Harrington fakes a reverse to Hakim and then throws a poor pass. ... The Bears blitz, Harrington rolls out and throws for Hakim in the end zone. Jerry Azumah breaks up the play but Phillip Daniels is called for roughing the passer. It was over. The Lions were done until that penalty. First down Detroit. ... Cason weaves his way inside the 10 but the Lions are called for clipping. It's coming back. Again, can't get enough of the penalties. The way this boring game is going, all we need now is a replay or a punt. ... Harrington throws to Cason to the 10 again, but the Lions are short. Fourth down. ... I've lost track how many times the ball has bounced back and forth between the 30- and 10-yard line. The Lions are about a yard and a half short and call timeout to discuss something. ... They're going for it again. Let me guess. A running play to Stewart? ... OK, we've just seen the worst play in football. Worse than a punt. When the offense tries to make the defense jump offsides on fourth down and it doesn't work so they take the delay-of-game penalty. They needed a timeout for that? Field goal good.
Bears 20, Lions 17
Good thing the Bears signed this return specialist Vinny Sutherland. He's quite adept at running right into the pile. And another penalty on the Lions. Re-kick and Sutherland has been replaced by local guy Ahmad Merritt. Wow. Dick Jauron with a quicker hook than Jerry Manuel. Vinny, we hardly knew ye. Merritt busts the kickoff 63 yards. Great run behind some great blocking. And get this: no penalty.
Bears start at the 30. Thomas busts one up the middle for a decent gain and the ball goes flying at the end of the play. The Lions recover. High and tight, Anthony. His second fumble of the game. End of the third quarter.
A few nice runs by Stewart has the Lions at midfield. But on third and 9, Harrington over throws Scotty Anderson. Anderson was wide open. ... Jett's punt lands at the 1 like a pitching wedge and is downed at the 2.
Thomas finds a hole and is brought down at the 9. He was really holding on to the ball there. ... Another run gets the first down. But that's about it. Two runs from Thomas get nothing and it's third and 10. The Bears get a gift as the Lions are called for encroachment. ... Third and 5 and the Bears go to Robinson, who stops short of the first-down marker and the pass is broken up. Punt, please.
Lions run Stewart a few times and get nothing. On third down Urlacher slips through the line and nails Harrington as he throws incomplete. Harrington gets up and slaps Urlacher on the back. More Favre behavior. You guessed it, another punt.
Thomas runs up the middle, Chandler throws a short pass to Shelton and Thomas runs again for the first down, staving off another punt for now. ... How long have we heard about Chandler throwing the best deep ball in the league? Let's see it. ... Instead Thomas runs twice and it's third and short. We may have another punt in our future. But first a Bears timeout. ... Third and very short from the Lions' 34 and Johnson runs for a very short gain. This will be close. We may have our punt. The chain gang comes out. This is Motown but the Lions sound people do not cue up Sam Cooke. Anyway, it's first down for the Bears. ... The Bears run twice, bringing up another third and 6. With 2:52 on the clock the Lions burn a timeout. ... Chandler rolls right and is nailed by Corey Harris on a safety blitz. Here's our punt.
Harrington comes on with 2:21 on the clock and down three. He'll start at this own 22. ... Harrington is pressured and throws it out of bounds. That should be an intentional grounding penalty. Harrington was still in the pocket. Ref say there was a receiver in the vicinity--on the bench but in the vicinity, no less. ... Harrington hits Scotty Anderson for a first down and that takes us to the two-minute warning. ... Harrington throws to Anderson again but Reggie Austin pokes it away incomplete. This will be a ref review with under two-minutes to play. Another delay. Why not? This will be reversed. It was a completion and Austin poked the ball out of bounds. There's nothing more exciting in football than a ref with his head in the replay hood. We'll be with you in about 20 minutes.
OK, as predicted it's overturned and Lions first down Lions at the Bears' 48. ... Stewart catches a short pass and takes it the 32. ... Harrington guns to Hakim at the 15. ... A short sideline pass to Anderson stops the clock with a minute remaining. ... Harrington dumps one to tight end John Owens who lumbers and fights to the 3. Not sure what's going on here now: Stewart is stopped short by an early whistle by the refs. Third down, 11 seconds left and the Lions will go for the win. The Bears call timeout. ... Harrington is pressured and Mike Green grabs ahold of Hakim for a pass interference penalty. Green saved the touchdown but it moves the ball 6 inches from the goal line with seven seconds left. Of course the Lions call for a pass play and it's broken up. With 5 seconds on the clock the Bears call their final timeout. ... The Lions line up four wide. They're going to throw it again. Unbelievable. Harrington drops back and is blindsided by Larry Whigham. But the play is dead. A false start is called on the Lions. The '89 49ers offense this ain't. ... Finally Jason Hanson comes on to try a 24-yard field goal. It's good and this brutal game goes to overtime.
Bears 20, Lions 20
The Lions pound it with Stewart all game and then run two pass plays on the goal line with the game on the line. That last sequence was about as ugly as it gets.
There are still 2 seconds on the clock, enough time for the Cal-Stanford band play. Instead the Bears just fall on the squib kick. A second on the clock and the Bears take a knee.
The way this game is going it'll end on a game-winning punt. Is that possible? Where's Heidi when you need her?
The Bears lose the toss and will kick.
Edinger's kick goes out of bounds and the Lions will start at the 40. Not a good start.
Stewart runs twice and picks up the first down at midfield. ... Stewart runs again for a couple. Seriously, did the Lions rehire Wayne Fontes for that goal-line sequence? Where was Stewart? He must feel like Barry Sanders right before Sanders retired. ... Stewart runs right, hurdles Urlacher and is brought down at the Lions' 35. Lions kicker Hanson is already warming up on the sideline. ... Green and Urlacher bring Stewart down behind the line. Big play for the Bears because that puts the Lions right on the edge of field-goal range. ... A short run is shy of the first down and here comes Hanson for a 48-yard attempt. It's good and this one's over.
Lions 23, Bears 20
The Bears lose a punt and penalty party to Detroit and fall to 2-4.