CHICAGO (AP) In a season of close calls, it was a predictable ending for the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.
Leon Johnson scored on a one-yard run with 5:34 left and the Bears beat winless Detroit 13-10 Sunday when the Lions” Jason Hanson missed a 40-yard field goal with 21 seconds to go.
“There are no bad teams in the NFL. The games go down to the last four minutes and whoever makes the plays wins. They had an opportunity to tie it up and couldn”t do it,” said Chicago”s Mike Brown.
“We”ve been in situations this year where anything can happen. We knew that. We”re 9-2 and we”ll take it,” Brown said.
Earlier this season, the Bears got two game-winning overtime interceptions from Brown on tipped passes and won another when Tampa Bay”s Martin Gramatica hit the upright with a last-second field goal attempt..
Some will say the Bears are more lucky than good.
“I don”t care,” coach Dick Jauron said. “We”ll take that lucky label as long as it sticks to us.”
The Lions, meanwhile, have lost their last eight games by a total of 35 points. Detroit”s latest defeat came when the normally reliable Hanson, who had made 13 of 16 field goals entering the game, missed three times.
“They”re nowhere near an 0-11 team. A lot of those games they could have won,” Bears linebacker Roosevelt Colvin said.
Chicago (9-2) clinched its first winning season since 1995 by rallying against the Lions, who lost starting quarterback Charlie Batch to a separated shoulder for the rest of the season when he was sacked by a blitzing Brown.
Right after a video replay upheld an on-field ruling that Chicago”s R.W. McQuarters did not make an interception before Mike McMahon”s pass hit the ground, Hanson lined up to try to tie the game.
But after a high snap to new holder Leo Araguz, Hanson”s kick into the wind went wide right and the Bears had won yet another tough game. Araguz was holding in place of John Jett.
“Leo got it down and he snagged it perfectly and that”s my fault for looking up,” Hanson said. “That was some stupid kicking.”
Detroit, matching its 0-11 record for the entire 1942 season, had 10 penalties, none more costly than an offside call on James Hall as the Bears lined up to punt on a fourth-and-six in the fourth quarter.
With the extra five yards, the Bears went for the first down on fourth-and-one and Johnson got it with a 6-yard carry to the Lions 30.
Five plays after a key third-down pass from Jim Miller to Marty Booker kept the drive alive, Johnson scored from the one-yard line and the Bears had their first lead at 13-10.
Two minutes after Johnson”s score, Brown hit McMahon, forced the ball loose and recovered the fumble at the 29 with 3:45 left.