Changing quarterbacks, receivers and players at other positions hasn't done anything to make the Lions better.
They can't change their biggest problem -- losing.
It didn't take overtime or a last-minute touchdown drive to beat them Sunday. The drama went out of the game early in a 27-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.
A 21-point eruption by the Vikings in the second quarter buried the Lions in a hole that was too deep to overcome for their mini-offense.
Linebacker Boss Bailey sized up the obstacle the Lions faced when the Vikings surged to a 24-0 lead.
"We knew we'd have a dog fight," Bailey said. "We don't score many points."
They certainly don't, and they don't win many games.
The Vikings, in disarray on and off the field, shackled the Lions' running game and used an efficient, opportunistic offense to keep control from start to finish. The outcome left both teams with 3-5 records and in a tie for second place in the NFC North.
The Lions play Arizona next Sunday at Ford Field in a game that could be called the Ho Hum Bowl.
At the halfway point, the life has gone out of the Lions' season. They have lost two straight games and three of the last four, and there is no sign of a turnaround.
Another quarterback change -- from Jeff Garcia back to Joey Harrington -- could not light a spark.
Minnesota got its touchdowns in a 3:24 span of the second quarter. Two of the touchdowns were set up by turnovers -- a fumble by Harrington and an interception off a pass that was deflected twice.
Paul Edinger's 21-yard field goal in the first quarter gave Minnesota a 3-0 lead. Ciatric Fason's 3-yard run sandwiched between Brad Johnson's two touchdown passes -- 5 yards to Michael Bennett and 15 yards to Nate Burleson -- made it 24-0.
The Lions' touchdowns were on Artose Pinner's 1-yard run in the last minute of the first half and Harrington's 23-yard pass to Marcus Pollard on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Lions never got inside the Vikings' 25-yard line after Pollard's touchdown.
Harrington started because Garcia's injured leg was too sore to practice on last week.
Harrington seemed refreshed from being on the bench for two games and hoped to give the offense a lift. That did not materialize.
"Part of it did feel different," Harrington said. "Unfortunately, we ended up getting in the same situations we've been in so many times."
Any advantage the Lions might have had disappeared early. The Vikings started Johnson, 37, in place of Daunte Culpepper, who is out for the season because of a knee injury. The Lions made Johnson look 10 years younger and twice as good as he is. Johnson completed 15 of 22 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating for the game was a lofty 115.0.
The Vikings ran the ball almost at will against a Lions defense that ranks as one of the NFL's best at stopping the run. The Vikings gained 164 yards on 35 carries.
The final offensive statistics favored the Lions slightly -- 289 yards to 285 for the Vikings -- but they were misleading. With a big lead in the second half, the Vikings gave the Lions short, safe throws to keep clock running and avoid getting beat deep.
There were a number of ugly statistics to show that the Lions' offense gave another feeble performance:
• Harrington led them in rushing with 17 yards on four scrambles. Kevin Jones, Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner combined to gain 41 yards on 16 carries.
• Play selection and execution have been issues all season. The Lions go to the sidelines more than the middle of the field.
On a fourth-and-7 in the fourth quarter, Harrington threw short to Scottie Vines for 4 yards -- 3 yards short of a first down.
• For the first 12:51 of the third quarter, the furthest the Lions advanced the ball with a pass was 4 yards. However, it was in the wrong direction. A pass to Pollard lost 4 yards.
Before that, Harrington's other completions in the quarter were to fullback Cory Schlesinger for gains of 3 and 2 yards.
At least they were in the right direction -- for a team headed nowhere