Hanson Boots Bears; Wins Kicker's Duel

Jason Hanson says yes, he's competitive. Yes, he wants to win. But no he wasn't out to get Paul Edinger and no he wasn't out to prove anything. He just wanted to win a football game. Interview with Jason Hanson inside.

(DETROIT) - Jason Hanson says yes, he's competitive. Yes, he wants to win. But no he wasn't out to get Paul Edinger and no he wasn't out to prove anything. He just wanted to win a football game.

So with :39 left in the game and the Bears leading 10-9, Hanson did what he does better than anyone else, including Edinger. Hanson booted a 48-yard field goal to give the Detroit Lions a 12-10 win over the Bears, their second in a row boosting their record to (3-6), equaling their win total from last year.

But Hanson insists there's no special significance in out-kicking Edinger, who missed a crucial attempt that would have forced Detroit to drive for a game-winning touchdown, not a field goal. Edinger also had one blocked by Detroit defensive tackle Jared DeVries.

"Well, yeah, I'm not super competitive against Paul Edinger, yet I do know that he's kicked well," admitted Hanson. "I do know he made a 43-yarder against us last year," Hanson said referring to the game-winning field goal in the infamous "take the wind" game that led to the demise of former coach Marty Mornhinweg. "I do know that he made a 53-yarder three years against us that set everything in motion in this organziation," Hanson said in reference to Edinger's boot that kicked the Lions out of the playoffs resulting in the firings of Chuck Schmidt, Gary Moeller and his entire staff and the hiring of Matt Millen and his regime.

Actually the 1999 kick was a 54-yarder, but who's counting? You think Hanson has been keeping tabs on Edinger, maybe just a little?

"It's more just that it's fun beating the Bears. They beat us last time and these rivalries, you play 'em all and they think they're better than you and you want to say 'we're better than them' and all that stuff. So it's fun for 'em (field goals) to go in, but ultimately, it's just the situation. It doesn't matter who it is. I don't care who's across the field, it's just "I'm supposed to make this."

You couldn't blame Hanson if he took just a little satisfaction from winning the personal battle with Edinger and the dreaded Bears. In 2001, Chicago was the scene of Hanson's biggest professional failure as a kicker. In Marty Mornhinweg's first year, Detroit had a chance to win their first game after going 0-10 under Mornhinweg.

Detroit called on Hanson three times and three times Hanson missed. It didn't matter to Mornhinweg that the snap was high and that Hanson was dealing with a new holder, Leo Araguz, subbing for the injured John Jett.

"In this league, it's snap, hold and kick," barked Mornhinweg. "It doesn't matter if you have a new holder or not."

Hanson made no excuses. He stood up and took the heat from the press afterwards, admitting the obvious. "The second one was perfect and I pushed it right and on the other two, the combination was not right," Hanson said. "I've been in the league 10 years and I know how to adapt and I didn't adapt."

Even Edinger was taken aback by the 2001 three miss performance by Hanson. "It's Jason Hanson, he's a great kicker," Edinger said. "He just wasn't there today. It happens."

On this day, though, it was Edinger with a 41-yard miss and a 48-yarder blocked, costing the Bears six points and perhaps their third victory in a row. Hanson knows Edinger is a better kicker than that, but on this day, the roles reversed and it was sweet redemption for Hanson.

"It's fun beating the Bears," admitted Hanson.

Indeed it is.


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