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...
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.