Detroit 23, Chicago 20 (OT)

Oct. 20, 2002 at 8:46 PM   |   0 comments

DETROIT, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Jason Hanson kicked a game-tying, 24-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation Sunday and boomed a 48-yarder 4:48 into overtime to lift the Detroit Lions to a 23-20 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Last December at Chicago, Hanson missed a potential game-tying 40-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter of a 13-10 loss.

"After what happened in Chicago last year, this is a great feeling," Hanson said. "It's the complete opposite of how I felt when I missed that kick."

Hanson's tying field goal this time came after rookie quarterback Joey Harrington engineered a 12-play, 72-yard drive.

Detroit (2-4) then capitalized in overtime when Paul Edinger's kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Lions possession at the 40. James Stewart then took over, breaking off runs of nine and 14 yards to help set up Hanson's winning field goal.

"I told James at the start of overtime that we've been riding his shoulder all game and that now we're going to ride him for a win," Harrington said. "He had a great game."

Stewart rushed for a career-high 172 yards on 32 carries and accounted for both Lions touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 28 yards to give him 200 yards of total offense.

"I wouldn't say this was easy, but we got into a rhythm," said Stewart who had not rushed for more than 88 yards in a game this season. "I think the offensive line got used to what they were doing and the backs got used to what was going on."

"We talked about this team staying together," said Lions Coach Marty Mornhinweg, who matched his win total from last season. "I told them a couple of weeks ago that they are a rock. These players refuse to let anybody, inside or outside the organization, interrupt the way they practice or play."

The Lions defense came up big in the second quarter, causing two turnovers that gave its offense the ball twice inside the Chicago 25.

Defensive tackle Luther Ellis forced Chicago's Anthony Thomas to fumble at his own six. On the next play, Stewart ran up the middle for his first touchdown of the season, giving the Lions a 7-3 lead with 4:59 left in the half.

Thomas finished with 92 yards on 26 carries, but fumbled twice.

"I think people want to doubt us," Stewart added. "We fight that every week. Even though we won the game today, there will be naysayers who still say we're not going to amount to anything. You just have to keep focused and keep plugging along."

On Chicago's next possession, cornerback Eric Davis intercepted a pass by Chris Chandler and brought it to the 21, setting Stewart up for his second rushing touchdown from one yard out.

Harrington connected on 16 of 30 passes for 109 yards but did not find the end zone.

"I struggled a little today," Harrington said. "It's tough to get into a rhythm in those games when you're playing a team that controls the ball as well as Chicago. We were running the ball so well there was no need to throw."

Chandler delivered a modest performance in his first game back as a starter since last December. The 15-year veteran completed 16 of 25 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown.

"Obviously we can't turn the ball over like we did and then have the opponent run the ball like they ran the ball and think you're going to win the game," Bears Coach Dick Jauron said. "We gave it up twice in the first half resulting in 14 points. The only turnover we got resulted in three. There's your football game."

Chandler started in place of Jim Miller, who is bothered by elbow and shoulder tendinitis.

Coming off a bye week, the Bears (2-4) have lost four straight after starting the season with two wins.

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