YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Decision Blows Away Lions

November 25, 2002|From Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Detroit took the wind and Chicago got the win.

Sore-armed Jim Miller came off the bench to rescue the Bears, who benefited from Detroit's unconventional overtime strategy Sunday to beat the Lions, 20-17, and end an eight-game losing streak.

"The wind was a factor. They wanted us to drive the length of the field, which is exactly what we did," Miller said after Paul Edinger's 40-yard field goal gave the Bears their first win since the second week of the season.

"Any team wants the ball in overtime. They made the decision and it cost them," Miller added.

Miller, who has a sore right elbow, led the Bears to 10 points in the final 2:33 of regulation, featuring two great catches by Dez White, and Chicago (3-8) forced overtime on Edinger's 22-yard field goal on the final play.

After winning the coin toss to start overtime, the Lions (3-8) decided to play defense first with a 17-mph wind at their backs instead of taking the ball.

"Knowing the outcome of this game, I wouldn't do it again," Detroit Coach Marty Mornhinweg said. "But in a similar situation, I would. I had complete confidence in our defense up to that point. I had complete confidence we would get a stop. The wind knocked the ball off the tee when we were kicking off. It was substantial, that was my rationale."

But given the ball first, Miller moved the Bears from their own 35 to the Detroit 22, connecting on third-down passes of 14 and 15 yards to Marty Booker and then passing to White for a five-yard gain on fourth-and-three from the Detroit 30 to get Edinger in position for the game winner.

"You always want to take the ball," Edinger said. "It's sudden death."

Mornhinweg made another debatable decision during the final drive after Chicago was called for holding on a third-and-five from the Lion 35. Detroit accepted the 10-yard penalty, backing the Bears up but also giving them an extra down that Miller used to connect with Booker for the 15-yard gain.

"It was a 52-yard field goal and I wanted to give them little or no chance at points," Mornhinweg said.

"I don't really understand why they didn't decline it," Edinger said. "They knew what the wind was doing."

Los Angeles Times Articles