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Published: Monday, 10/1/2007

4-star 4th for Lions in victory over Bears

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Detroit wide receiver Shaun McDonald, left, celebrates catch ing a four-yard touchdown pass with teammate Sean McHugh. Detroit wide receiver Shaun McDonald, left, celebrates catch ing a four-yard touchdown pass with teammate Sean McHugh.
PAUL SANCYA / AP Enlarge

DETROIT - The Detroit Lions did it all in a record-breaking fourth quarter, scoring on the ground, through the air, on defense and special teams.

The new-look win took the place of a here-we-go again loss for a team that used to be the NFL's laughingstock.

"Luck is turning our way," Roy Williams said after Detroit beat the Chicago Bears 37-27 yesterday. "We're a 3-1 ballclub and not a lot of teams can say that."

No other team in league history can say it scored 34 points in the final quarter as Detroit did against the defending NFC champions, and no game included a combined 48 points in the fourth.

"We collapsed as a team at the end of the game," Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

Chicago (1-3) led 13-3 after three quarters in a terribly played game before both teams scored three times as many points in the final 15 minutes.

"It was a big finish," Williams said.

The Bears insist they're not finished, even though their quarterback change backfired and their banged-up team is reeling.

"Our season is not over," Brian Urlacher said. "But we have to get better. "We stink right now."

Brian Griese, starting in place of Rex Grossman, had three interceptions.

The Bears still had a chance to win.

Griese threw a one-yard pass to Desmond Clark on a fourth down with 52 seconds left to pull the Bears within three.

However, the onside kick bounced to Detroit's Casey FitzSimmons who returned it for a touchdown to seal the victory.

It was the kind of game Detroit used to lose as it put together one of the worst six-season stretches in NFL history - with at least 10 losses from 2001-2006 - but these might not be the same-old Lions.

Detroit is 3-1 for the first time since 2004 and it has already matched the number of wins it had last year in coach Rod Marinelli's first year.

"This game was probably like me - ugly," Marinelli said. "It was also like me because it was a fight."

The Bears, meanwhile, are off to a bad start, falling to 1-3. Chicago can only hope the season turns around as it did in 2005 when it lost three of the first four games and finished 11-5.

"It can be done," Urlacher said. "But we've really got to get to work."

At quarterback, though, it might be time for Plan C.

Griese was 34-of-52 for 286 yards with two TDs, but three interceptions.

Smith said he didn't consider putting Grossman in the game, but wasn't pleased with Griese's performance.

"It wasn't good enough," Smith said.

Griese agreed.

"If you're going to have plays that don't go your way, you better make enough to make up for it," he said.

Robbie Gould made field goals on consecutive drives late in the third quarter to put Chicago ahead 13-3.

Then, Detroit's offense suddenly came to life and Kitna connected with Shaun McDonald for a four-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Lions went ahead when Griese threw a pass directly at cornerback Keith Smith and he returned it 64 yards for a 17-13 lead.

Devin Hester quieted the crowd by returning the ensuing kick 97 yards, his seventh kick or punt return for a score in one-plus seasons, but the Bears couldn't hold onto the lead.

Kitna threw a 15-yard pass to Troy Walters, whose foot-dragging score needed a video review, and Kevin Jones capped a drive that lasted longer than five minutes with a short TD run to put Detroit ahead 30-20 with 3:34 left.

The game lasted 3 hours and 35 minutes, and the final quarter seemed to go on forever.

"That was long," Kitna said. "I have food waiting at my house, and I hope it isn't ruined.

"That's what happens in the NFL, things can get crazy. Everything gets carried by momentum and emotional swings, and you end up with 10-3 games that turn into something like this."

Kitna finished 20-of-24 for 247 yards with two scores, a fumble and no interceptions.

Both teams struggled to run the ball. No one had more than 50 yards rushing , and that was more problematic for Chicago because Griese was unreliable in a pass-happy offense.

Chicago decided to bench Grossman, a 2003 first-round pick, a once-popular decision in the Windy City that might now be second-guessed.



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