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NFL / WEEK 11 | DETROIT 13, ATLANTA 10

Moeller Off to a Roaring Start

November 13, 2000|From Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Bryant Westbrook didn't hug a teammate or wave to a friend in the stands after Detroit beat Atlanta, 13-10, Sunday. The Lion cornerback walked directly toward his new head coach, Gary Moeller, and extended his hand.

"This is because of you," Westbrook said to Moeller, who replaced Bobby Ross after he resigned Monday.

The Lions (6-4) continued to struggle on offense in Moeller's debut, but they started the game inspired and finished it by making just enough plays to keep their playoff hopes very much alive.

Moeller was faced with a tough decision with five minutes to play. His choice wasn't popular in the Silverdome, but the end result sent the fans home happy. Moeller was booed when he chose to go for a field goal and tie when the Lions had the ball inches from the goal line on fourth down. Jason Hanson made the 18-yard field goal to make it 10-10.

Moeller said he never considered going for the touchdown.

"You get down there, you could have a fumble, all those little things you worry about," he said. "I wasn't going to do that."

Moeller trusted his defense to hold Atlanta (3-8)--and it did.

Danny Kanell's inaccurate pass was intercepted by Corwin Brown, who returned the ball 10 yards to the Falcon 29 with 2:13 left. Four plays later, Hanson kicked a game-deciding 44-yard field goal.

Brown played for Moeller when he coached at Michigan from 1990-94.

"My main man," Brown said with a smile, referring to Moeller. "I've got to make a play for him."

Westbrook sealed the victory he intercepted Kanell's pass at the Falcon 43 with 39 seconds left.

Jamal Anderson, continuing to make progress from last season's reconstructive knee surgery, had his most productive game of the season for Atlanta with 119 yards in 25 carries.

The Falcons, however, had drives stall repeatedly because of the ineffectiveness of Kanell, who completed 14 of 34 passes for 126 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in place of the injured Chris Chandler (concussion).

Detroit quarterback Charlie Batch didn't do much better in completing 12 of 27 passes for 128 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. In his last four games, Batch has completed only 51 of 113 passes for 557 yards and one touchdown.

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