What better way to prepare for this Sunday’s Bears vs. Lions game than a little walk down memory lane?
For this week’s installment of ‘Bears Rewind,’ I chose the Bears’ 23-20 victory over Detroit in Week 17 of the 2000 season that featured a wild fourth quarter and the Bears crushing the Lions playoff hopes on Christmas Eve.
The Bears were awful during the 2000 season. Dick Jauron was still the head coach, and the Bears finished 5-11 and at the bottom of the NFC Central. We’re going back to the NFC Central days when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the division with the current NFC North members. On Christmas Eve at the Silver Dome, the Bears had absolutely nothing to play for, except ruining the Lions’ shot at making the playoffs. It was a win-and-in game for Detroit, but the Bears delivered Christmas early for Chicago.
To take you back to the times a little bit here, this was the rookie season for eventual Bears’ legends Brian Urlacher (Round 1, Pick 9) and Mike Brown (Round 2, Pick 39). Of course, Paul Edinger, and his unforgettable corkscrew wind-up, was a rookie, as well, having just been drafted by the Bears in the sixth round, and he’d end up playing the hero in this one. This would also be Cade McNown’s final game with the Bears before they traded him during training camp the following season.
The heavily favored Lions, who were 10-point favorites in Las Vegas that week according to Football Reference, jumped out to a 10-0 lead after one quarter on a Jason Hanson 41-yard field goal and a nine-yard touchdown pass by Charlie Batch to David Sloan. But, surprisingly, the Bears’ defense would put the clamps down on Batch and the Lions for the next two quarters, holding Detroit scoreless until the fourth quarter.
Rookie Mike Brown led the defense with 10 tackles on the day, and Roosevelt Colvin (I miss Rosie Colvin in a Bears uniform) had a fumble recovery on the afternoon. Still, it was the previous offseason’s significant addition, R.W. McQuarters, that stole the show on the defensive side of the ball. More on that shortly.
Paul Edinger drilled a pair of field goals from 37 and 50 yards in the second quarter to make it 10-6 Lions at the half. After quarterback Shane Matthews left the game late in the second quarter with a hand injury, Cade McNown replaced him and led the Bears on their only offensive touchdown drive of the game, a drive that ended with McNown hitting Marty Booker for a 27-yard touchdown strike to give the Bears a 13-10 lead after three quarters.
The Lions would regain the lead on a 13-yard run by Stoney Case (which sounds like one of those computer-generated draft picks in a Madden franchise) with 11:14 to play, and I’ll let you watch the wild finish before I share the rest of my thoughts on the game.
R.W. McQuarters was a bad man in that game! The 61-yard pick-six, the interception that was nullified by the defensive holding, and then the big hit on Stoney Case to force the fumble that led to the eventual Paul Edinger game-winning field goal; have yourself a day R.W.!
Paul Edinger ripped the hearts out of 70,000-plus Lions fans in the Silver Dome that day when he drilled the game-winning 54-yard field goal as time winded down. Absolutely beautiful, and hands down the best moment in a crappy season for Bears fans.