Detroit Shows It's A Real Contender
CHICAGO - 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 in 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 champs 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. Detroit01303-16Chicago0070-7 Second Quarter Det-FG Hanson 26, 14:56. Det-Jones 4 run (Hanson kick), 1:53. Det-FG Hanson 52, :05. Third Quarter Chi-Olsen 20 pass from Griese (Gould kick), 5:26. Fourth Quarter Det-FG Hanson 20, 14:42. A-62,171. DetChiFirst downs2216Total Net Yards365255Rushes-yards28-11920-63Passing246192Punt Returns2-192-44Kickoff Returns1-192-34Interceptions Ret.4-430-0Comp-Att-Int24-35-022-40-4Sacked-Yards Lost4-222-16Punts5-40.25-47.8Fumbles-Lost1-11-0Penalties-Yards5-327-78Time of Possession34:5425:06 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Detroit, Jones 23-105, Johnson 1-11, Bradley 2-3, Duckett 1-1, Kitna 1-(minus 1). Chicago, Benson 13-50, Peterson 2-11, Griese 3-8, Hester 2-(minus 6). PASSING-Detroit, Kitna 24-35-0-268. Chicago, Griese 22-40-4-208. RECEIVING-Detroit, Williams 8-77, McDonald 6-64, Furrey 3-44, Johnson 2-44, Jones 2-10, McHugh 1-11, FitzSimmons 1-10, Walters 1-8. Chicago, Olsen 6-59, Peterson 6-41, Berrian 4-45, Muhammad 2-23, Benson 2-10, Hester 1-19, Clark 1-11. MISSED FIELD GOALS-Detroit, Hanson 29 (WR). Chicago, Gould 40 (WL).