CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) – Detroit took the wind and Chicago got the win.

Sore-armed Jim Miller came off the bench to rescue the Bears, who benefitted from Detroit’s unconventional overtime strategy yesterday to beat the Lions 20-17 and end an eight-game losing streak.

“The wind was a factor. They wanted us to drive the length of the field, which is exactly what we did,” Miller said after Paul Edinger’s 40-yard field goal gave the Bears their first win since the second week of the season.

“Any team wants the ball in overtime. They made the decision and it cost them,” Miller added.

Miller, playing with a sore right elbow, led the Bears to 10 points in the final 2:33 of regulation, featuring two great catches by Dez White, and Chicago (3-8) forced overtime on Edinger’s 22-yard field goal on the final play.

After winning the coin toss to start overtime, the Lions (3-8) decided to play defense first with a strong 17 mph wind at their backs instead of taking the ball.

“Knowing the outcome of this game, I wouldn’t do it again,” Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg said. “But in a similar situation, I would. I had complete confidence in our defense up to that point. I had complete confidence we would get a stop. The wind knocked the ball off the tee when we were kicking off. It was substantial, that was my rationale.”

But given the ball first, Miller moved the Bears from their own 35 to the Detroit 22, hitting third down passes of 14 and 15 yards to Marty Booker and then connecting again with a five-yarder to White on 4th-and-3 from the Detroit 30 to get Edinger in position for the game winner.

“You always want to take the ball,” Edinger said. “It’s sudden death.”

The Lions made another debatable decision during the final drive after Chicago was called for holding on a third-and-five from the Lions 35. Detroit accepted the 10-yard penalty, backing the Bears up but also giving them an extra down that Miller used to hit Booker on the 15-yarder.

“It was a 52-yard field goal and I wanted to give them little or no chance at points,” Mornhinweg said.

“I don’t really understand why they didn’t decline it,” Edinger said. “They knew what the wind was doing.”

The Bears’ eight-game losing streak had tied a franchise record.

Chicago starter Chris Chandler had to leave with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, and Miller, who’s been unable to even throw in practice because of tendinitis, entered the game.

With the Bears trailing 17-7, Miller went 8-for-11 in a 91-yard drive with White making a spectacular 23-yard touchdown catch over Detroit’s Todd Lyght with 2:33 to go.

Down 17-14, the Bears got the ball at the Detroit 47 with just over two minutes left. They appeared to be out of field goal range when Miller fumbled the snap and Leon Johnson recovered for Chicago after a 10-yard loss.

But on a fourth-and-20 from Detroit’s 45 and a minute left, Miller fell down after taking the snap, somehow got to his feet and threw a 33-yard pass to White to the Lions 12.

“I knew we had to get a first down. Maybe I should scramble a little bit more sometimes,” Miller said.

“That’s what got it open. From what happened in the backfield, I was open all of a sudden,” White said.

After two incompletions, Edinger kicked a 22-yard field goal as the clock was winding down.

“It looked to me like we had Miller. He was down but was still able to find a wide open receiver,” Lions defensive tackle Luther Elliss said. “If a guy is that wide open, somebody’s not doing their job. That’s disheartening.”

It was the second overtime game of the season between the two old rivals. Detroit won the first game at Ford Field 23-20.

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