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Tillman's Timing Is Perfect

October 31, 2005|From Associated Press

DETROIT — With the NFC North up for grabs, the Chicago Bears snatched control.

Charles Tillman intercepted Jeff Garcia's across-the-body pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown with 8 minutes 43 seconds left in overtime Sunday, putting Chicago atop the division with a 19-13 win over the Detroit Lions.

Garcia, making his second start in place of Joey Harrington, rolled right and tried to throw across the field to Mike Williams. Tillman stepped in front of the soft toss.

"The ball was floating," Tillman said. "But my eyes weren't big until I caught it and knew I would score."

Garcia, 35, had been bailed out by the Lions after a poor decision in the fourth quarter.

"This was an emotional game," Garcia said. "You battle for 60-plus minutes, and it falls on your shoulders to make a play, and you don't do it. Right now, it hurts."

Garcia was 23 for 35 for 197 yards with an interception.

The Bears (4-3) led, 13-3, at halftime, then the Lions (3-4) had consecutive scoring drives to tie the score with 13:20 left.

Thomas Jones fumbled on the ensuing drive at Detroit's 28, and then the Lions caught a big break.

Garcia was flagged for intentional grounding when the Bears thought he threw a lateral that linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer returned for a touchdown. The Bears challenged, but the play stood after review.

"I guess if you argue enough with the refs, they're going to change the call in your favor," said Chicago's Brian Urlacher, referring to Lion Coach Steve Mariucci

Chicago won its third game in a row, becoming the first NFL team with 650 victories.

Rookie quarterback Kyle Orton was 17 for 31 for a career-high 230 yards with a touchdown for the Bears.

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