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Pro Football Week 11 | DETROIT 26, CHICAGO 3

Batch Is Difference for Lions

November 16, 1998|From Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Detroit rookie Charlie Batch came of age, making the Lions better while heaping more frustration upon the Chicago Bears.

Batch completed 16 of 21 passes for 253 yards and Tommy Vardell scored three touchdowns as the Lions defeated the Bears, 26-3, Sunday night.

"When the quarterback is playing well, and when he is comfortable with the flow of the game, it makes everyone's life easier," said Barry Sanders, who turned in his 75th game of rushing for 100 yards or more.

The Bears were trying to make do without quarterback Erik Kramer and running back Curtis Enis, both out with injuries.

"Not to take anything away from Steve Stenstrom and Edgar Bennett, but they lose a big chunk of their offense without Kramer and Enis," Lion defensive tackle Luther Elliss said.

Stenstrom, making his second start in place of Kramer, was never in sync against the Lions (3-7), who won a Sunday game for the first time this season. Stenstrom was 13 for 25 for 159 yards for the Bears (3-7), who scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat Detroit, 31-27, with Kramer in charge on Oct. 4 in Chicago.

"The disheartening thing is you come in at halftime and you look at the numbers and it was almost identical," Bear Coach Dave Wannstedt said. "So we really went out in the second half with the feeling we could get it turned around."

The Bears held Sanders to 28 yards in 14 carries in their first meeting. But this time Sanders, wearing a flak jacket to protect sore ribs, rushed 24 times for 114 yards.

"I think he sucked it up for us, I really do," Lion Coach Bobby Ross said. "He didn't practice until Thursday because of the pain."

Detroit led, 17-3, by halftime.

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