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Hanson's OT field goal propels Lions past Eagles

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Detroit Lions trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter and all the momentum was in the other huddle. In other words, the Lions had the Philadelphia Eagles right where they wanted them.

"We always feel that we're at our best when things look the worst," Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson said. "And things looked pretty bad."

That's because the Eagles had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and it seemed as if nothing was going the Lions' way. Then, suddenly, everything was going their way as they pulled out a 26-23 victory in overtime on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Lions tied the game with just three seconds left to play when Jason Hanson kicked a 19-yard field goal and after the Lions' defense stopped the Eagles to start overtime -- sacking quarterback Michael Vick twice -- Hanson won it with a 45-yarder.

"I'm numb," Hanson said just minutes after his game-winner sailed over the crossbar. "I know I've been at this for 20-plus years, but I was nervous because we needed this bad to get our season on track."

The Lions' defense set up winning kick after the Eagles (3-3) won the coin flip to start overtime and elected to receive. The two sacks pushed the Eagles back toward their own goal line and the Lions (2-3) got the ball back at midfield, then moved close enough for Hanson's fourth field goal of the game.

"This one really stings because we had that lead in the fourth quarter and we're supposed to win when we have a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter," Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "It just got away from us."

The Eagles had taken a 23-13 lead on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Vick to Jeremy Maclin with 5:18 left to play and it seemed like that would be the play that sealed the Lions' fate. But the Lions scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to Burleson and the tide started to turn.

Detroit coach Jim Schwartz gave much of the credit to Stafford, who struggled early, then shined late.

"He has confidence in his teammates, he has confidence in his defense and he has confidence in himself," Schwartz said. "That's why we're never out of the game in the fourth quarter."

The Eagles lost a heartbreaker last week in Pittsburgh, when they also lost on a field goal on the final play of the game. And after starting the season 3-2, they're at .500 as they head into their bye week.

"We put ourselves into this position and we're the only ones who can do anything about it," Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "We won some close games early in the season, but you can't keep doing that in this league. Eventually the other guys are going to make plays at the end and that's what happened the last two weeks."

The Eagles did get four field goals from kicker Alex Henery, but their failure to convert those possessions eventually cost them the game.

"We all just need to look in the mirror and figure out what we can do individually to maximize our opportunities to win football games," Vick said. "It's very frustrating."

NOTES: Eagles WR Mardy Gilyard returned punts for the first time this season, replacing rookie WR Damaris Johnson. The Eagles also beefed up their coverage teams by activating WR Riley Cooper as well as LB Casey Matthews. ... Lions DT Corey Williams was deactivated because of a knee injury and second-year man Nick Fairly made his first NFL start in his place. ... Lions had two other changes to starting defense -- Jacob Lacey started at RCB for Bill Bentley and Amari Spievey replaced Erik Coleman at SS. ... Eagles WR Riley Cooper caught his first pass of the season, an 8-yarder that picked up a first down. He missed first five games with broken collarbone.
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