Lions Stay Unbeaten

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Jon Kitna gave up his body and perhaps his mind for the Detroit Lions.
Kitna was knocked out of the game with a concussion, only to return and set up Jason Hanson's 37-yard field goal in overtime that lifted the Lions to a 20-17 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
"I don't think he knew where he was," Detroit receiver Roy Williams said. "He might've thought he was back at Central Washington, but he led this team to a victory."
Kitna said it was the worst concussion of his 11-year career, and the first since 2000.
"I only know one thing, and it's to play as hard as I can," he said. "I'm not trying to pull a Willis Reed out there, but if I can play, I can play."
Minnesota and Detroit took turns blowing chances to win the game. They combined for nine turnovers in regulation and two missed field goal attempts in the final 45 seconds.
The 10th turnover, Brooks Bollinger's fumbled snap, gave Detroit the ball at the 50.
Kitna missed about two quarters after being shaken up. But that didn't deter him from running the ball twice, once off a deflected pass, for 15 yards to pick up a key first down. Brian Calhoun's 17-yard run set up Hanson's kick.
"I'm glad I got another chance to win it, but I'm even happier for the team because we deserved to win," Hanson said.
Detroit (2-0) has opened with two wins for the first time since 2004. That year the Lions finished 6-10, their best record since Matt Millen was given control of the franchise in 2001.
"It feels good, but it's just a start," said offensive tackle Jeff Backus, who has been a part of each of Detroit's NFL-high 72 losses the past six-plus seasons. "We have to keep it going."
The Vikings (1-1) had plenty of chances to start 2-0 for the second straight year, but lost many of the opportunities as Tarvaris Jackson tied a team record with four interceptions.
"I didn't play very well. I threw four away," Jackson said. "The defense kept us in the game."
Both teams had shots to win at the end of regulation.
Hanson pushed a 48-yard field goal try to the left with 45 seconds remaining after making 18 straight field goals dating to Nov. 19, 2006.
The miss gave Minnesota another chance. But Ryan Longwell clanged a 52-yard attempt off the left upright with 2 seconds left, wasting a chance to follow up a 24-3 win over Atlanta.
"We had an opportunity to win this game at the end, but we didn't take advantage," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "I was looking to see some consistency from Game 1 to Game 2. Unfortunately, we took a step back in terms of 12 penalties that we had. That's not acceptable."
Jackson threw an incomplete pass on the first snap of overtime and left the game with a groin injury. He completed just 17 of 33 passes for 166 yards without a score and shared an unwanted team record with several players including Daunte Culpepper, who was the last Viking to throw four interceptions in 2005.
"It's not a good formula for winning on the road," Childress said.
With the Vikings struggling to pass, Detroit stacked its defense against the run and was able to limit Adrian Peterson to 66 yards on 20 carries after he topped the 100-yard mark in his NFL debut.
Kitna was 22-of-33 for 245 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
He was knocked out of the game in the second quarter and didn't appear as if he was going to come back in as he stood on the sideline without his helmet. But Kitna did return, helping the Lions take another step toward backing up his expectation of at least 10 wins this season.
"I've seen a lot in this league, but that was special," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. "You saw toughness. This is a tough town and their football team has a leader that's tough."
Williams caught seven passes for 111 yards with a TD and a fumble. Rookie Calvin Johnson had four receptions for 61 yards and scored for the second straight week.
Minnesota scored 10 points in 49 seconds to tie the score at 17 midway through the third quarter on Longwell's field goal and Ray Edwards' returned fumble.
Darren Sharper had two interceptions and forced a fumble.
Minnesota had won 10 straight over Detroit, which was the NFL's longest current streak and the best stretch over a divisional opponent since Dallas dominated Washington from 1997 to 2002.


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