Bob Thomas kicked his third field goal of the game -- a 19-yarder -- with two seconds left to lift the Chicago Bears to a 16-14 victory over Detroit today.
The triumph made the first-place Bears 8-4 and eliminated the defending champion Lions (3-8-1) from the NFC Central race.
With the Bears trailing, 14-13, with 3:46 to go, a poor punt by Mike Black gave them the ball at the Lions' 47. Detroit appeared to have held, but quarterback Steve Fuller hit tight end Emery Moorehead on a 27-yard play on fourth down to give Chicago a first down at the Lions' 18. Four plays later, Thomas made the game-winner.
On two earlier field goal attempts, holder Brian Baschnagel, wearing gloves to protect his hands, had bobbled center snaps.
"I told him I wanted him to take off the gloves for the final attempt," said Chicago Coach Mike Ditka. "I might have yelled at him before that. I didn't mean to. There wasn't any discussion about that last kick."
"It wasn't as cold as I thought," said Baschnagel.
Thomas defended his holder for eight seasons: "Brian has done an excellent job. If he isn't my holder next week, then I won't be out there."
Quarterback Gary Danielson had given the Lions that 14-13 lead with a seven-yard scoring pass to Jeff Chadwick with 6:04 left in the third quarter. Danielson also set up a one-yard touchdown run by James Jones in the first half with a 13-yard pass to Rob Rubick.
Chicago held a 10-7 halftime lead on a one-yard touchdown pass from Fuller to Pat Dunsmore and a 24-yard field goal by Thomas.
Thomas equaled the longest kick of his career with a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
The Bears' touchdown came on their first possession, the ninth time in 12 games they had scored the first time they had the ball.