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Lions kick past last year's win total

11/3/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Lions aren't a great team by any
means, but at home they've been good enough to already surpass last
year's victory total.

Jason Hanson kicked his third field goal from 43 yards out with
48 seconds left to help the Lions defeat the Dallas Cowboys 9-7 on Sunday.

Question on the Cowboys: Are the offensive problems more because of a lack of talent or the injuries to the O-line?
The Cowboys' offensive line is banged up, and that is not something they are accustomed to. After the way Emmitt Smith ran last week, I was surprised the Cowboys didn't focus and dedicate themselves to the run to give some relief to Chad Hutchinson. I wasn't really in favor of benching Quincy Carter so early in the season. They have a lot of problems, and I don't think changing quarterbacks was the sole solution. The Cowboys don't have the type of offense that will put up a consistent 21 points. And teams need that to win games.

Question on the Lions: Other than start Joey Harrington, has Marty Mornhinweg made adjustments or are they competitive in spite of him?
No, Mornhinweg seems to be doing the right things, and the Lions are doing a good job of getting rid of the old losing mentality. Harrington gives the Lions an attitude and a little cockiness that they've missed since Barry Sanders retired. He only completed 14 of 33 passes and was intercepted twice, but the Lions got the W with him at the helm, and Harrington will get credit. The Lions are starting to beat the teams they should beat, and that is the start of becoming a good team. They will be OK if they can focus their offense around Harrington and their defense around Chris Claiborne.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

"We've got a three-game winning streak at home, and that's a big
statement these players have made,'' Detroit coach Mary Mornhinweg
said.

The Lions (3-5) have lost all 12 of the road games they've
played under Mornhinweg, but at Ford Field, they've beaten New
Orleans, Chicago and now the Cowboys (3-6).

Joey Harrington, Detroit's rookie quarterback, struggled for
much of the game, but he completed his longest pass of the day -- a
13-yarder to James Stewart -- on fourth-and-3 from the Dallas 43 to
keep the game-winning drive going.

Harrington completed 3 of 4 passes on the drive, which began on
the Lions 37, and Stewart ran four times to set up the field goal.

"I don't want the game to come down to me -- we want to win by a
touchdown or two -- but I always tell myself to be prepared,''
Hanson said.

The Lions started 0-12 last year and finished 2-14, the
second-worst record in the league behind Carolina's 1-15 mark.

One week after breaking Walter Payton's NFL record for career
rushing yardage, the Cowboys' Emmitt Smith ran for just 39 yards on
16 carries. Smith now has 16,782 yards over his 13-year career.

In a city still bitter about Barry Sanders' abrupt retirement
three years ago, Smith was booed when he was introduced, and he
heard a few "Bar-ry! Bar-ry!'' chants, especially when he was
stopped behind the line of scrimmage.

"Hey, I'm in Detroit,'' Smith said. "Anything less would be
uncivilized.''

Sanders ran for 15,269 yards in just 10 seasons with the Lions
and was one typical season away from breaking Payton's record.
Smith said earlier this week that he'd still be chasing the rushing
record if Sanders hadn't retired.

Troy Hambrick replaced Smith on third-and-short situations and
got the only score for the Cowboys. Hambrick's 3-yard run put
Dallas ahead 7-6 with 7:42 to play.

Dallas forced the Lions to punt on the next possession, but the
Cowboys couldn't produce a first down, giving the Lions another
chance.

With no timeouts and 48 seconds left, Dallas couldn't get past
its own 38 on the final possession.

"You can call it ugly, you can call it whatever you want, but
we won, we won, we won,'' said Harrington, who finished 14-of-33
for 104 yards with two interceptions, both by Derek Ross.

Chad Hutchinson, in his second start for the Cowboys, lost two
of his three fumbles. He was 22-of-39 for 208 yards without a TD or
an interception and was sacked five times.

"The game reminded me of one in 1989, when Troy Aikman was
sacked 11 times but kept getting up and making throws,'' Cowboys
owner Jerry Jones said. "I'm very proud and pleased with the way
Chad played, and the toughness he showed.''

Detroit linebacker Donte Curry forced Hutchinson to fumble twice
in Dallas territory. The second time, Curry blew past Smith, and
the fumble set up the first score of the game.

Hanson's 42-yard kick gave Detroit a 3-0 lead early in the third
quarter. He kicked a 44-yarder on the Lions' next drive.

Hambrick's go-ahead TD capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive that took
up 6:06. On third-and-9 from midfield, Hutchinson threw a perfect
30-yard fade pass to Joey Galloway along the sideline. Hambrick
also ran for a first down on a third-and-1 from Detroit's 16.

Both teams struggled in the first half.

Detroit gained just 50 yards and was 1-for-8 on third downs.
Dallas gained 113 yards and was 1-of-7 on third downs.

After Detroit went three-and-out on four straight drives, Curry
forced Hutchinson's first fumble, and James Hall recovered it
midway through the second quarter at the Dallas 32.

Two plays later, Ross intercepted a pass in the end zone that
had Harrington forced into double-coverage. Ross' second
interception came late in the third, when Harrington lobbed a pass
to Scotty Anderson at midfield.

"You can't ask much more from your defense,'' Dallas coach Dave
Campo said.

Game notes
The Cowboys are the first team Mornhinweg has beaten twice.
They lost to Detroit in final game at the Silverdome last season.
... The Lions had not won a game scoring in single digits since
winning 7-6 at Kansas City on Oct. 23, 1988. ... Hutchinson
connected with eight receivers, led by Galloway's six catches for
56 yards. ... Hambrick ran for 12 yards on five carries.

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