Greetings from Mo-Town. The big story in town is the Lions are trying to win two games in a row for the first time since the advent of the forward pass. Everyone's picking the Lions because they're at home and the Bears haven't exactly done anything on the road. They've lost 11 straight. So that's what everyone's talking about. This and Kid Rock's new album.
This stadium is very cool. It's kind of a cross between an old industrial space and the field house at Evanston Township High School. I hope they're not going to make me do the 9-minute run, especially after the pulled pork sandwich they fed us for breakfast. I guess they like their BBQ here. I don't know.
One complaint, though: Ford Field is more secure than the Baghdad airport. "Sir, can you turn your laptop on for me?" "Sir, your cell phone...press 1, 2, 3, please." "Sir, no water in the stadium." No water? This is the Lions and Bears, for God's sake; they should be--could be--giving away these tickets.
On a football note, Marty Booker and Anthony Thomas are back. If you remember they were missing for the first Lions game two weeks ago. Also, center Olin Kreutz will play. I don't think there was ever any doubt.
For the Lions, they're still missing much of their secondary. Both Dré Bly and Jimmy Wyrick are out. In case you're wondering about the other guy on the Detroit roster with an accent egue on his name, linebacker Donté Curry is out as well.
OK, now that the BBQ pulled pork sandwich they fed us for breakfast has digested, it's time for football.
"Dee-troit has won the toss," referee Bernie Kukar says, and we're ready to go. Hey, a Bryan Knight appearance. The former starting outside linebacker nails Reggie Swinton on the kickoff coverage. The Lions will start on their own 26. Joey Harrington over-throws his receiver on first down. Az-Zahir Hakim jumps on second down followed by a Lions timeout. Detroit looks a lot like they did two weeks ago. Much booing early. Jerry Azumah shows blitz and then drops back. Harrington hits Cory Schlesinger out of the backfield and Azumah races in to make the tackle. The Lions are called for holding on third down and will kick. The PA guy announces "Paul Edinger deep for the Bears." Uh... McQuarters returns the kick 6 yards and the Bears will start at their own 39.
The Bears start with five wide, and then run some quasi-shenanigans, trying to hit Booker out of the slot a yard off the line. Chandler's pass goes high and that's that. Chandler then hits David Terrell for 8 yards. On third-and-2 Dustin Lyman lets a pass go off his hands and that series took all of about 10 seconds. Lyman is down.
They just showed a guy on the big screen with a blow-up skeleton doll in a Chandler jersey with a noose around its neck. Once he saw he was on TV, the guy punched the doll for a good 30 seconds as the crowd cheered. The Lions are 2-6, dude. Dial it down.
Are TV timeouts getting longer? I wouldn't doubt it.
Shawn Bryson runs left before being knocked out of bounds by Mike Brown. Gain of a yard. Harrington hits Scotty Anderson with Brian Urlacher on his back. Harrington's pass is long, wide and out of play. The real battle here is whether either team can get a first down. Bad punt. Thirty-two yards bad.
Chandler drops back, sees nothing and decides to run. He quickly hits the turf after 2 yards. Smart move. Is Anthony Thomas active? Where is he? Well, now he's under a pile of Lions. No gain on Thomas' first carry. At least that leaves the clock running. We had played just over 3 minutes of game time in over 20 minutes or real time. Not good. Chandler's throw is incomplete, bringing up fourth and killing the clock again. Can't get enough of punts and TV timeouts. The first first down in this tilt should be followed immediately by a trumpet fanfare and a ceremony at midfield.
Harrington's pass is too long and then Lance Briggs throws Bryson out of bounds for a 3-yard loss. Stopping the clock again. Oh, some excitement. Harrington is pressured but dumps it to Bryson who picks up 12 yards and nearly a first. But not nearly enough. Punt. But first a delay-of-game penalty.
From the 26, Terrell catches a 6-yard pass, gets nailed and then stands there doing some kind of shimmy while Chandler yells at him to get back in the huddle. False start on the Bears. Chandler hits Booker who falls over for a gain of 2. Chandler looks and looks before the pocket collapses on him. Barrett Green is credited with the sack. Another punt and this one doesn't even make it to midfield.
Harrington looks downfield but has to dump it to someone named Casey Fitzsimmons for 8 yards. Olandis Gary is dumped behind the line by Urlacher et al. Harrington has all day and hits a wide-open Scotty Anderson for 27 yards to the 18. A first down! Or course, this calls for razzle-dazzle. The Lions run some sort of reverse to Swinton who looks to throw and finally does to avoid a sack. The Bears were called for holding on the play. What's the down and distance? I'm so confused. Harrington throws one incomplete and we've got second-and-10 at the 14. Bryson catches a pass but is dropped for a 2-yard loss by Michael Haynes. Bryson picks up 9 but is stopped short of the marker by Bobby Gray. The crowd went something like "Oooooohhhhhh......awwwww #$*@!" on that play. Jason Hanson's 24-yard kick is good.
Lions 3, Bears nil
At this rate that field goal could hold up.
Thomas runs for 2 yards. Chandler hits Booker for 7. Third and short, whaddya got, Shoop? From the I-formation, Thomas runs right but there's a flag for holding on big ol' Aaron Gibson. That's a killer right there. Quarter ends mercifully.
Where were we? Detroit? OK, third-and-11. Wait, there was a penalty on the Lions. They give back 5 of the yards Gibson cost the Bears. Third-and-6 now. Chandler finds Lyman for a first down, the Bears' first. Thomas finds a big hole and gets into the open field for 17 yards. Two straight firsts! Then Chandler throws two balls that could've been picked off, the second by Bryan Walker, who's got his entire name on the back of his jersey. I guess not to be confused with the other safety, Bracy Walker. Too many guys in the in the huddle and the Bears are going backwards again. Chandler hits Justin Gage for 16 yards and a first. They're back around the 30-yard line. Thomas can't get around the corner and is dropped behind the line by Boss Bailey. Chandler tosses another one into traffic. Rabih Abdullah gets 7 back and Edigner will try one from 43. Right down the middle and the Bears draw even.
Bears 3, Lions 3
Avon Cobourne picks up a few. Bryson picks up a few. Bill Schroeder drops a pass on third down. The fans boo. Punt. No, a fake! Punter Nick Harrison lofts one up for Byrson. But he's slammed to the turf by Gray and the ball comes out. Incomplete. The Bears take over in good shape at the Detroit 38.
Chandler takes a two-step drop and flings one to Dez White, who's tackled immediately. Play got 5. Thomas has nothing in front of him and is brought down at the line. Chandler lofts one to White, who clearly pushed off on Terrence Holt. White continues his questionable play. Desmond Clark grabs a pass and gets 12 yards back. Edinger will try from 48. It's blocked and the ball bounces into the end zone.
Bracy Walker hurt his hand on that fake punt and may not return, which helps because I kept getting him confused with whatshisface, Bryan Walker.
Avon "Next stop North and" Cobourne runs for a few. Harrington then hits, um, someone, for a first. Then finds Fitzsimmons for another first, 17 yards down the field. Harrington takes a shot at Anderson in the end zone but it's just over-thrown. Azumah got a little touchy-feely there and the crowd wants a flag for interference. Bryson runs for a few now. Geez, how many backs do these guys have? Ball's on the Bears' 31, by the way. Swinton picks up a first, gets up, spikes the ball and does a little David Terrell like shimmy. Please. Ball now on the 15 and Harrington has to throw it to the sideline. Heads up, photag! Cobourne falls over after taking the handoff and everyone in the press box laughs. Harrington hits Az-Hakim, who shakes Gray. Anyway, the Lions kick a field goal. Zzzzzzzzzzzz......
Lions 6, Bears 3
If you're joining us late and you love punts and field goals and hate first downs, you've missed a great game. Many people filling the aisles to get a jump on the beer line or bathroom line or both. I wouldn't blame them if they didn't come back.
Azumah gets a good return out to midfield. Chandler then finds White for 13 yards and that takes us to the two-minute warning. Consider yourself warned: There are two-minutes left in this half. If it catches you by surprise, it's your own fault. Booker is hit immediately after catching a 4-yard dump. Abdullah is dropped in the backfield at the 40. Bears call timeout and gather the brain trust.
Booker can't handle Chandler's pass and Brad Maynard trots on to punt the ball away. Great punt. It's downed inside the 5 by Hunter Hillenmeyer. Detroit runs the ball and the Bears don't call timeout. Why not call timeout? We'll never know That's the game, folks. Great one. Instant classic. I'm out of here. Halftime? Damn.
After the numerous media buffets this season, I may be set on sausages for life. Please pass the Prilosec.
Oh, the game started. After a minor scuffle involving Desmond Clark, Thomas runs for a few to bring up third-and-2. Football really needs to work on its fights. They lack behind hockey, baseball and even basketball. Chandler's third-down pass falls incomplete and let's get this half off the right way: with a punt.
All of a sudden Alex Brown is all over the joint. He makes a tackle, forces a fumble (which Detroit recovered) and bats down a Harrington pass on third down. Have we set a record for punts yet? Now they're saying the fumble was really a sack. Credit Brown. Hope Greg Blache doesn't bench him for that.
The Bears start at midfield on the blue Lion silhouette. Thomas runs for 3 and then 7 which equals third-and-1. Thomas picks up 5 more and then 1 more. Chandler hits Booker on a short slant and Booker has open field in front of him. Twenty-three yards and a first. Thomas gets nothing. I'd be remiss not to tell you the ball's on the 12. Chandler throws one over Stanley Pritchett's head. Stanley Pritchett in the red zone. No offense, but forget this guy. Chandler looks and looks and then rifles one to Clark for a touchdown. Nicely thrown ball there. Bears lead for the first time.
Bears 10, Lions 6
Swinton returns Edinger's kick 25 yards to the 39. Harrington hits Scotty Anderson for 17 yards across midfield. And then finds Anderson again who runs in the open field down to the 18. The Lions stall in the red zone, though, as Brown gets to Harrington on third down. The ball flies up in the air, but falls to the turf. The Lions will kick a field goal, which is good.
Bears 10, Lions 9
Azumah makes another nice return. Thomas runs twice, setting up third-and-5. The Lions jump and that's a first. Much booing. But not sustained booing, like, "Yeah, yeah, we know we're supposed to boo but it gets too taxing." Thomas is tripped up on a counter.
Third-and-10, Chandler throws to Booker over the middle but Corey Harris is there early. No flag from the side judge but here comes one from way deep. Correct call. End of the third.
Chandler hits Pritchett for a first down at the Lions 32. Thomas gains a yard. Clark makes a catch on third down and the Bears are a yard shy of the first at the 23. Big third-down play here. Bears call timeout. They give it to Thomas straight ahead and he's short. Edinger misses the field goal from 41 yards. Wide left. Wow, his second miss of the day. Huge. That third-down play was the key.
OK, major technical difficulties with my laptop and the cappuccino machine in the food room during that last Bears drive. I apologize. All you need to know is Paul Edinger's 41-yard field goal was wide left, much to the delight of the guy in the fuzzy lion suit. He went nuts. My colleague Chris King subbed on that last paragraph. I thank him.
The Lions got the ball back, drove a little bit, getting their fans into it before yanking the field-turf carpet out from under them with a punt. A 29-yard punt. That punt was worse than this coffee. That's just like the Lions. As Winston Churchill once said, "If this is coffee, bring me tea. If this is tea, bring me coffee."
The Bears get the ball deep, deep in their own territory and can't do diddly. Chandler is sacked for an 11-yard loss to bring up third-and-19. A draw play and then a punt. Have we set the record for punts yet? Block in the back on the punt and the Lions will start at the 28.
I just figured out why all these classic rock tunes they keep blaring sound a little strange. David Lee Roth sounds really off. It's because they're being played by a live band in the corner of the end zone. "There's a fire in the hole! Hey, hey, hey!"
So the Lions get the ball and do even worse than the Bears. Like the Bears they punt. It's nearly blocked by Justin Gage. Is that even how that song goes? This coffee just gets worse over time. Kind of like this game.
Couple of firsts and the Bears may be able to ice this. Three and a half minutes on the clock and Thomas runs for nada. Chandler then hits Clark for 7. Another third down. This one's big, folks. Chandler's pass isn't close to Clark and so much for my little plan.
Harrington throws a nice ball to Az-Hakim for 18 yards. Harrington then hits Bryson for 8 more down to the 39. Two-minute warning. Seriously they should've warned people entering the stadium today. "Warning: Two bad football teams inside." Fitzsimmons catches soemthign that looks oddly like the Bears wide-receiver screen. He stretches for the first. The Bears will lose on a field goal. I can see it driving up whatever street this stadium is on. "Timeout Deee-troit." Take five, guys. The end zone band's play list apparently doesn't contain any Kid Rock. Or maybe they don't want to desicrate the work of Detroit's favorite son. Actually I'm not sure where he ranks next to Eminem. They went from Mo-town to those two guys? Harrington hits Schlesinger to bring up a third-and-3 at the 30. From the shotgun, Harrington over-throws Az-Hakim. How does this guy's name work, anyway. Hanson on for a 48-yarder. They sure love their field goals here in Detroit because they went nuts after that one. It gives the Lions the lead.
Lions 12, Bears 10
Here we go, 39 seconds on the clock, the Lions keep it on the ground and Joe Tafoya rumbles 12 yards with the ball to the 42. Wonder when the last time he ran with the ball was. "Timeout, Dee-troit." I'll bet you money this ref pronounces cement "cee-ment." Chandler's pass is behind Gage and it's picked off by Harris. Wow, talk about not letting it get exciting at all. The first play. Refs want to take a look at this one. Maybe the ball hit the ground. Maybe not. Either way, this crowd is out of here. Play stands and the 10 people still here stand and applaud.
That's it. Knee city. The Bears have lost 12 straight road games. The Lions have won two straight. Spare the taxicabs, citizens of Detroit.
Thanks for reading, everyone. More "fun" next week back in Chicago.