Bears Come Out Firing And Never Look Back

It took three Jason Hanson missed field goal attempts to preserve a Bears 13-10 victory in the first match up of the season December 2. This time around Chicago jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, which they never relinquished. The defense sacked Ty Detmer six times and forced five turnovers in pitching their second shutout of the season leading to a 24-0 Bears victory. The 12th win of the year puts Chicago one away from their first division title since 1990.

The Bears continued to have new players step up and make major contributions. The offense came out passing the ball. D'Wayne Bates, who started for an injured Dez White, came into the game with one reception all season. However, on the opening drive the wideout had two receptions that each went for 28 yards. The second of which gave the Bears a seven point lead 2:42 into the game. The score was Bates first career touchdown.

On their second possession the Bears put more distance between them and the one win team from Detroit. Miller completed a 12-yard pass to Marty Booker for a first down. Then the following play the Bears quarterback went back to his favorite target going to Booker for a 44 yard completion putting Chicago deep in Lions territory. The reception was Booker's 88th of the year, which at the time tied him with Bobby Engram for the second most catches in a season by a Bear. Two plays later Miller went to David Terrell in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.

Four weeks ago Terrell dropped a similar ball in the back of the end zone, but this time the rookie hauled in the reception for his third score of the year.

Through the first 14 games of the year Chicago had 21 first quarter points. Against the Lions had 14 points due mostly of the play of Jim Miller, who went 6/8 for 140 yards and two touchdowns on the teams first two possessions.

``Our game plan is to come out and we want to have some success early,'' offensive coordinator John Shoop said. ``Obviously today we had a lot of success in the first quarter. So I think it gives everybody confidence.''

The Lions offense moved the ball throughout the first half getting into Bears territory on all six of their possessions. However, the defense didn't allow Detroit to put any points on the board.

The Bears offense got back on the board in the second quarter. Miller went back to Bates this time the wideout caught a ball over the middle for a 40-yard reception. Three plays later Terrell looked to have his second score of the day, but receiver Ahman Merritt was called for offensive pass interference nullifying the play.

Merritt was signed to the active roster the day before the game as Robert Newkirk was placed on IR with a knee injury.

Chicago settled for a 38-yard field goal by placekicker Paul Edinger, which put the Bears up 17-0 with 5:47 before the half.

The Lions looked to get back into the game as the offense moved into Bears territory. Fullback Corey Schlesinger caught a short pass and turned up field meeting Walt Harris head on forcing a fumble that he recovered ending another Detroit drive.

Booker continued to add onto his career year numbers by going over the 1,000 receiving mark with a 17 yard reception. The catch also put him into second place by himself on the single season reception list with 89.

Desperate to stay in the game the Lions faked a punt from their 28 late in the second quarter. The gamble worked as Detroit picked up six yards on a direct snap to backup fullback Brock Olivo. The drive stalled just past midfield when Phillip Daniels sacked Ty Detmer. The takedown put Daniels temporarily back into the team lead with nine sacks over Rosevelt Colvin who has 8.5. Detmer, who hadn't started a game since week three, was never able to get into a rhythm as he was pressured throughout the game.

The Bears defense began to take over the game in the third quarter forcing the Lions into a three and out second half snapping a streak of six straight possessions that ended in Chicago territory.

Chicago's shutout looked to be in jeopardy as the Lions moved down the field thanks to three receptions by Johnnie Morton. However, Detroit tried its second trick play of the game. Lamont Warren attempted a halfback pass but overthrew his intended target allowing Bears safety Mike Brown to pick off the ball in the back of the end zone. The interception was Brown's fifth of the season.

The defense held off another Detroit scoring attempt with back to back sacks by Alfonso Boone and Rosevelt Colvin. On 4th and 15 Detmer looked to have a potential first down as he found tight end David Sloan over the middle, but linebacker Warrick Holdman took the ball away for his first career interception. On the ensuing drive Booker and Anthony Thomas rewrote the Bear record books. Booker tied Johnny Morris' single season reception record of 93 with a 13-yard catch early in the fourth quarter. On the following play the "A-Train" had a 13-yard burst up the middle that put him over the 1,000 yard rushing mark. Later in the drive Booker broke Morris' record with his 94 yard reception of the season.

The Bears defense put the finishing touch on the game with their fifth defensive touchdown of the season. Rosevelt Colvin hit Detmer as he followed threw on a pass. The impact caused the ball to float allowing Walt Harris to pick it off and he returned it 39 yards for the score. Edinger's extra point gave Chicago a 24-0 nothing lead with 2:12 left on the game clock.

The defense preserved their second shutout of the season as Jerry Azumah sacked Detmer on back to back plays. The second of which forced a fumble that linebacker Bobbie Howard recovered.

The Bears 12 win output equals the most victories since 1988. However, Chicago was unable to clinch the Central Division as Green Bay defeated Minnesota 24-13. A Bears victory over the Jaguars or a Packers loss to the Giants in the final week of the season will give Chicago their first division title since 1990.

``We've got to go in against Jacksonville and take care of business and make sure we finish the season on top in the division,'' Colvin said.

Although, the Bears are guaranteed of hosting at least one playoff game because the 49ers 27-21 loss to the Cowboys.

``This is money time now,'' said Bears safety Mike Brown. ``This is when, down the stretch, we find out what kind of football team we have, what type of character we have.''

Bear Report Top Stories