Bears Crumble Late Against Lions

The Chicago Bears put together a tremendous defensive effort for three quarters against one of the best offenses in football, but they were not able to overcome all their injuries and Brian Griese looked awfully Rex Grossman-like in a 37-27 loss to the Detroit Lions.

DETROIT (AP) – The Detroit Lions turned a here-we-go-again loss into a new-look win.

Jon Kitna threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and Detroit overcame mistakes and missed opportunities to beat the Chicago Bears 37-27 Sunday.

Brian Griese, who had three interceptions as a starter in place of Rex Grossman, threw a 1-yard pass to Desmond Clark on a fourth down with 52 seconds left to pull the Bears within three points.

However, the onside kick bounced to Detroit's Casey FitzSimmons and he returned it for a TD to seal the victory.

It was the kind of game Detroit used to lose as the league's laughingstock, but these might not be the same-old Lions, who are 3-1 for the first time since 2004.

The Bears, meanwhile, are not off to a great start as defending NFC champions, falling to 1-3. Chicago can only hope the slow start turns into a good season, as it did in 2005 when it lost three of the first four games and bounced back to finish 11-5.

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

Griese was 34-of-52 for 286 yards with two TDs and three interceptions. He wasn't bad enough, however, to allow the Lions to blow out the Bears.

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 4-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

QB Brian Griese
Paul Sancya/AP Images

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 5 minutes with a short TD run to put Detroit ahead 30-20 with 3:34 left.

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

Both teams struggle to run the ball -- no one had more than 50 yards rushing in the game -- 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.

The Bears were without four starters on defense, including most of their secondary, but Detroit didn't take advantage of that until it scored three TDs in the final quarter.

Griese's production was poor from the start, but Bernard Berrian did not help him out by dropping passes on two of the first three drives that would've converted third downs.

That first drop forced Chicago to attempt a 52-yard field goal, which was blocked by Shaun Rogers, giving him an NFL-high 11th blocked kick since 1991.

Detroit seemed to catch a break when it scored early in the first quarter because the officials ruled Kitna was in the grasp of Tommie Harris on a third-down sack. That call allowed Jason Hanson to kick a 49-yarder, giving Detroit a 3-0 lead.

The Bears went ahead 7-3 late in the second quarter when they picked up a blitz, and Griese connected with Muhsin Muhammad for a 15-yard TD.

Chicago then failed to add to its cushion when Griese floated a pass behind Berrian, allowing Fernando Bryant to intercept at the 1 in the final minute of the first half.

Kitna fumbled on the Lions' first play of the second half, giving Chicago the ball at their 12, but Griese blew the scoring opportunity with an errant pass that was picked off.

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