Bears Finally Out Of The Dog House


As Erik Kramer ran out for the Chicago Bears' last series, his arms raised in victory, he heard a very unfamiliar sound.

Applause.

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  • After weeks of boos, the Bears finally gave fans something to cheer Sunday. Kramer threw for two TDs and running back Edgar Bennett added a TD pass. Kramer also ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as Chicago (1-4) scored 21 straight points and rallied for a 31-27 victory over the Detroit Lions (1-4).

    It was Chicago's first victory in five games this season, and its first since beating the St. Louis Rams last Dec. 14.

    "It's been awhile, to have that exalted feeling after a game. Now we've got to keep it up," said Kramer, who beat his former team for the first time in seven tries.

    "We've overcome a lot to get here," he said. "We put ourselves in a hole every game and finally we were able to battle our way out of it. There's a lot of relief, a lot of satisfaction."

    Kramer was 26-of-37 for 275 yards and two TDs, and Bennett had his best outing as a Bear, rushing for 88 yards on 21 carries. Chris Penn, starting in place of the injured Curtis Conway, caught six passes for a career-high 106 yards.

    Lions QB Charlie Batch (10) played well but couldn't get his team the victory against a feisty Bears team. (AP)

    Chicago limited Barry Sanders to 28 yards on 14 carries, one of his worst games ever. Lions rookie Charlie Batch was 16-of-31 for 268 yards and two TDs, and Johnnie Morton caught two passes for 138 yards, including a 98-yard TD catch.

    "We just took a good old-fashioned whupping in the fourth quarter," Lions coach Bobby Ross said. "We had them at 27-10 in the fourth quarter and let them back. We couldn't stop them."

    Actually, the Lions couldn't stop the Bears at all. Chicago did that all on its own. The Bears fumbled the ball five times, leading to 13 Detroit points. Their third-quarter woes continued as the Lions scored 17 consecutive points. The Bears have now been outscored 61-0 in the third quarter this season.

    But instead of giving up like usual, Chicago rallied. With rookie Curtis Enis in the locker room with back spasms, Bennett took charge. He rushed for 20 yards, and then hit Chris Penn with the 18-yard scoring pass on the halfback option to cut Detroit's lead to 27-17 with 12:52 left.

    "We workedd on that all week," Penn said. "We had it in the game plan for a couple of weeks, and we were just trying to find the right time to use it."

    Bennett refused to talk after the game.

    After the Lions went three-and-out, Kramer found Fabien Bownes for a 6-yard score, pulling the Bears to 27-24 with 4:34 left. The Bears defense did its job again, getting Chicago the ball back at its own 42 with 3:18 left.

    On second-and-five from the Detroit 38, Kramer connected with Penn on what looked like a touchdown. But Penn went out at the 1, and Kramer ran in on the next play for the 31-27 lead with 1:50 left.

    "I should have scored, but I didn't want to get greedy," Penn said, laughing. "I just wanted to get close and hold onto the football."

    Batch broke the 10-10 halftime tie with a 3-yard pass to Pete Chyrplewicz, and then got the ball back on another Chicago fumble. Batch connected with Morton on a 40-yard pass, and Tommy Vardell ran it in from the 1 to make it 24-10 with 4:59 left in the third quarter.

    Kramer was sacked on the first play and fumbled, leading to Jason Hanson's 43-yard field goal that made it 27-10. Detroit's first score, Hanson's 28-yard field goal, also was courtesy of a Chicago fumble.

    "We were sloppy with the ball today," coach Dave Wannstedt said. "To turn it over five times today and be able to overcome that, it shouldn't happen. It shouldn't happen."

    Detroit added another score in the first quarter on Morton's long TD. With Batch backed up deep into the end zone, Morton gave Terry Cousin a little shove, caught the pass at his own 29 and ran untouched to the end zone. It as the scond-longest TD reception in Detroit history.

    Notes

  • Chicago's comeback was its largest since 1987, when the Bears erased a 20-point lead for a 27-26 victory at Tampa Bay.
  • The Bears' five lost fumbles tied a team record set in 1973 against Dallas.
  • Sanders' 28 yard was his lowest total against the Bears.

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