|Detroit 16||Chicago 7|
|October 28, 2007||Soldier Field-Attendance: 62,171 (61,000)||Time: 3:02|
|DET||FG||14:56||Jason Hanson 26 yard field goal attempt is good.||3||0|
|DET||TD||1:53||Kevin Jones rush to the left for 4 yards for a touchdown.||9||0|
|DET||PAT||1:53||Jason Hanson extra point attempt is good.||10||0|
|DET||FG||0:05||Jason Hanson 52 yard field goal attempt is good.||13||0|
|CHI||TD||5:26||Brian Griese pass completion to the right to Greg Olsen for 20 yards for a touchdown.||13||6|
|CHI||PAT||5:26||Robbie Gould extra point attempt is good.||13||7|
|DET||FG||14:42||Jason Hanson 20 yard field goal attempt is good.||16||7|
|Team Stat Comparison|
|3rd down efficiency||4-13||7-14|
|4th down efficiency||0-0||0-0|
|Yards per pass||6.3||4.6|
|Yards per rush||4.3||3.2|
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. Roy 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.''
Defense: --- A. What a gusty performance by the Defense. They had four turnovers including two in the endzone that killed any chance the Bears had of getting some momentum. They also did a decent job getting to Griese and forcing pressure. Although they not be the most talented group in the NFL, they certainly have over achieved in their victories. If they can continue to play smart and force the turnovers, the Lions have a legitimate shot of winning the NFC North and dare I say make the playoffs.
Special Teams: --- C. Marinelli said he would not kick to Devon Hester after he burned them back in Detroit. So how did Chicago's only touchdown get setup? By a Hester 39 yard punt return. Hanson made a lucky 52 yard field goal before the half off the cross bar but botched a 29 yarder in the 2nd half. He did kick two other field goals. Nick Harris did a decent job punting and coverage was better than it was the first time they played the Bears.
Coaching: --- B. I will give Marinelli credit for getting the Lions to believe they could win in Soldier Field after two previous road blow outs. The play calling still gets me worked up at times. In the first half with the Lions inside their own ten facing third and an inch they decide to throw the ball and what happens? Kitna gets sacked! They also need to find a way to use Calvin Johnson more than three times a game. He has so much talent but good is it when he hardly gets the ball.
Overall: --- A+. This was if not the biggest win of the Millen era since it puts the honolulu blue and silver in some unchartered territory. It is also nice to finally get motiviated to write my commentaries and game grades since the past six years have been so repetitive. With the win, the Lions are 5-2 and have one heck of a schedule on the horizon. Next up is a meeting with the Denver Broncos. Let me be the first to say this is a game the Lions should and will win. The Broncos are three plays away from being a winless team. They have a second year quarterback in Jay Cutler who is still going through the growing pains. Travis Henry is nicked up too. If the Lions play like they have this year at Ford Field they will find themselves at 6-2 heading into a very winnable game against a bad Arizona team. After that? Two home games against first place teams - the Giants and Packers. I can only envision how exciting November could be if the Lions keep doing what they are doing. One can only hope after six miserable losing seasons. But, lets all not eat too much cornbread and drink the koolaide. One game at a time :-)