Detroit 14
Carolina 20



FINAL 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
1st Quarter
Drive: 5 plays, 51 yards in 2:34
Key Plays:
  Smith 23-yard punt return to Carolina 49
  Delhomme 10-yard pass to Muhammad to Detroit 32
2nd Quarter
Drive: 9 plays, 84 yards in 5:23
Key Plays:
  Foster 12-yard run on 3rd-and-4 to Carolina 34
  Delhomme 44-yard pass to Smith on 3rd-and-6 to Detroit 18
Drive: 5 plays, 32 yards in 2:10
Key Plays:
  Minter 29-yard interception return to Carolina 44
  Delhomme 29-yard pass to Muhammad to Detroit 27
3rd Quarter
Drive: 12 plays, 51 yards in 7:07
Key Plays:
  Foster 8-yard run to Carolina 37
  Delhomme 4-yard pass to Muhammad on 3rd-and-1 to midfield
  Delhomme 12-yard pass to Proehl to Detroit 28
4th Quarter
Lions Att Cmp Yds Td Int Lg
McMahon, Mike114360118
Harrington, Joey8317009
Panthers Att Cmp Yds Td Int Lg
Delhomme, Jake35292602144
Lions Att Yds Avg Lg Td
Pinner, Artose12221.880
Bryson, Shawn6172.850
McMahon, Mike2147.0110
Schlesinger, Cory100.000
Panthers Att Yds Avg Lg Td
Foster, DeShaun21763.6120
Smart, Rod9242.760
Delhomme, Jake3113.770
Goings, Nick11111.0110
Hoover, Brad155.050
Smith, Steve1-3-3.000
Lions Rec Yds Avg Lg Td
Hakim, Az-Zahir294.560
Kircus, David11818.0180
Pinner, Artose199.090
Schroeder, Bill199.090
Swinton, Reggie166.060
Trejo, Stephen122.020
Panthers Rec Yds Avg Lg Td
Muhammad, Muhsin66911.5290
Foster, DeShaun6386.3141
Smith, Steve58116.2441
Proehl, Ricky3279.0120
Dyson, Kevin2157.590
Hoover, Brad2115.560
Goings, Nick2105.070
Wiggins, Jermaine263.050
Smart, Rod133.030
Tackles-Solo-Assists Sacks-Yds (unofficial)
Lions T S A Sk-Yd
Bailey, Boss121110-0
Walker, Brian8620-0
Holt, Terrence7610-0
Bly, Dre6600-0
Holmes, Earl6510-0
Green, Barrett6330-0
Rogers, Shaun5500-0
Pritchett, Kelvin4400-0
Hall, James4310-0
Rainer, Wali3300-0
Porcher, Robert3120-0
Gooch, Jeff2200-0
Walker, Bracy2200-0
Smith, Otis1100-0
Evans, Doug1100-0
Davis, James1100-0
Panthers T S A Sk-Yd
Minter, Mike7520-0
Howard, Reggie4400-0
Morgan, Dan4310-0
Witherspoon, Will4130-0
Jenkins, Kris3300-0
Manning Jr, Ricky3300-0
Peppers, Julius3211-0
Favors, Greg3120-0
Burton, Shane2110-0
Allen, Brian1100-0
Grant, Deon1100-0
Wesley, Dante1100-0
Wallace, Al1100-0
Lions INT Yds Avg Lg Td
Holt, Terrence100.000
Panthers INT Yds Avg Lg Td
Minter, Mike12929.0290
Lions No. Yds Avg TB In20 Lg
Harris, Nick833341.60249
Panthers No. Yds Avg TB In20 Lg
Sauerbrun, Todd310936.30051
Punt Returns
Lions No. Yds Avg Lg Td
Swinton, Reggie18989.0891
Panthers No. Yds Avg Lg Td
Smith, Steve5193.8230
Dyson, Kevin11414.0140
Kickoff Returns
Lions No. Yds Avg Lg Td
Swinton, Reggie46516.3230
Panthers No. Yds Avg Lg Td
Smart, Rod24221.0270
Smith, Steve12222.0220
Lions XP/XPA FG/FGA Dist(Made/Fail)
Hanson, Jason2/20/0
Panthers XP/XPA FG/FGA Dist(Made/Fail)
Kasay, John2/22/242 44 
Lions No. Lost Forced O D
Bly, Dre00200
Rogers, Shaun00100
Bailey, Boss00001
Panthers No. Lost Forced O D
Foster, DeShaun21010
Smith, Steve10000
Referee- Terry Mcaulay, Umpire- Brian Balliet, Head linesman- Jeff Bergman, Line judge- Byron Boston, Field judge- Lee Dyer, Side judge- Billy Smith, Back judge- Larry Rose
Attendance - Time
72,835 ; 2:54
Team Statistics LionsPanthers
First downs822
3rd-Down Efficiency3 - 117 - 14
4th-Down Efficiency0 - 00 - 2
Total Net Yards106384
Total Plays4171
Average Gains2.65.4
Net Yards Rushing53124
Average Per Rush2.53.4
Net Yards Passing53260
Completed-Attempted7 - 1929 - 35
Yards Per Pass2.77.4
Sacked-Yards Lost1 - 00 - 0
Had Intercepted11
Punts-Average8 - 41.63 - 36.3
Return Yardage8962
Punts-Returns1 - 896 - 33
Kickoffs-Returns4 - 653 - 64
Interceptions-Returns1 - 01 - 29
Penalties-Yards7 - 556 - 35
Fumbles-Lost0 - 03 - 1
Time Of Possession21:4638:14

News: 12/22/03

For sure, Lions’ owner William Clay Ford must be tired of this. We’re not just talking about the losing, but the embarrassment of it all.

Embarrassing is the best way to describe the Lions’ latest debacle, a 20-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Ericsson Stadium on Sunday. Don’t be fooled by the score. At one point, it was 20-0.

It’s a good thing the Panthers didn’t have anything to play for. Since they had already wrapped up the NFC South, the Panthers sat five starters, including their center, leading rusher and three defensive players. Imagine if it was a game they actually had to win.

Nonetheless, many thought the Lions had a chance to win on the road for the first time in three full NFL seasons.

Nope. The thing most forgot was that the Lions’ 11 starters on offense were still going to play. After the offense rushed for just 53 yards, passed for 53 yards and scored no points, it’s debatable that it even played.

Not only did the Lions (4-11) set the all-time record for consecutive losses on the road with 24 but they have also hit rock bottom in what now seems like a bottomless NFL cup.

That number isn’t just a fast-paced TV show on Fox, but President Matt Millen’s official stamp on this franchise. The number is too big, too grotesque, to pass off as simply growing pains. Millen refused to comment on Sunday.

“I’m just numb to the streak right now,” defensive end Robert Porcher said.

Ford should feel the same way, too. In three years, Ford’s team has gone from one that was lovably mediocre to absolutely horrid. Despite numerous changes — in the front office, at head coach and with players — things haven’t gotten better. In fact, they’ve gotten worse.

Ford can kid himself and believe things are getting better. He said that a few weeks ago when asked about the job Millen has done thus far. But he’d have to ask himself honestly before making that comment now, “Based on what?”

At this point, Ford must fess up and admit he made a mistake in giving Millen keys to his car, even though Millen didn’t have any driving experience. Millen has crashed. The franchise is in need of serious repair.

“We know we’re lacking, personnel-wise,” linebacker Barrett Green said.

Green, of course, was referring to all the injuries. Easily, Green could have been talking about the players brought in to change things in Lionsland. Personnel changes have to be made.

“That’s the responsibility that we take on our shoulders is to get it fixed, break the streak and make the trend go the other way and start winning games and become confident in winning games and put a team on the field that’s good enough to do that on a consistent basis,” Coach Steve Mariucci said.

This idea that you have to totally tear down a team in order to build them up is nonsense. The Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals both hired new coaches this season and both went from non-playoff teams into contenders overnight. Two years ago, the Panthers (10-5) were 1-15.

The Lions should simply be better than they are. No matter how you look at it, Millen’s plan has failed.

“The wheels never came off,” Mariucci said about the game.

What wheels? Forget Sunday. This team has been up on blocks for three years now.

If there was ever a time this team needed a Ford, it’s right now. Help!


Jake Delhomme was nearly perfect. The Detroit Lions continue to be perfectly inept on the road.

Delhomme completed 20 of his first 22 passes as the playoff-bound Carolina Panthers posted a 20-14 victory over the Lions, who set an NFL record with their 24th straight road loss.

Delhomme finished 29-of-35 for 260 yards, throwing touchdown passes of 20 yards to Steve Smith and 10 yards to running back DeShaun Foster in the first half. For nearly three quarters, he threatened Vinny Testaverde's record for completion percentage in a game. Testaverde completed 91.3 percent of his passes (21-of-23) against the Los Angeles Rams on December 26, 1993.

"We felt by throwing the ball we could get things going," Delhomme said. "We wanted to take what they gave us. The whole goal was to still win. We got some difference guys in there. I think we left a lot of points out there."

Delhomme was 15-of-16 in the first half, his only incompletion being an interception in the first quarter. His second incompletion came before John Kasay kicked a 44-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 20-0 lead with 7:53 left in the third period.

"That is what we expect from Jake," Carolina coach John Fox said. "He's gotten better every game all season. He's getting more comfortable with he players around him, with our offense and with the magnitude of the game on game day, especially in tight spots."

The Lions (4-11) broke the previous mark for consecutive road defeats set by the Houston Oilers from 1981-84. Detroit finished 0-8 on the road for the third straight season. Its last win away from home came against the New York Jets on December 17, 2000.

"We're searching for answers," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said. "We have a lot of things to fix. The wheels never came off, we never came unglued. We kept playing hard."

The Lions got touchdowns from their special teams and defense in the fourth period to make it close. Reggie Swinton returned a punt 89 yards with 12:02 remaining and rookie linebacker Boss Bailey returned Foster's fumble 62 yards to make it 20-14 with 3:44 left.

"We showed our character," Lions cornerback Dre' Bly said. "We never gave up. We put ourselves in a position to win. Hopefully, we can find a way to win."

But the Lions never got back the ball as the Panthers (10-5), who clinched the NFC South Division title last week, ran out the clock by picking up two first downs.

"We kind of attacked them a little bit and threw them off guard," Smith said. "Let's hope we can keep it up. If you don't change it up you are going to go home a loser. We need to change it up like we did today. Jake (Delhomme) was like he was all year long - calm and solid -. He's a great player and he's leading this team like usual."

Detroit's offense was inept as the Lions managed just 106 total yards on 41 plays. Joey Harrington was benched on Detroit's fifth series after completing just 3-of-8 passes for 17 yards. Mike McMahon was no better, connecting on only 4-of-11 tosses for 36 yards.

Foster rushed for 76 yards on 21 carries and caught six passes for 38 yards. Muhsin Muhammad also had six receptions for 69 yards.

Artose Pinner was Detroit's leading rusher with just 22 yards on 12 carries.

Scott's Game Commentary:

For the TWENTY FOURTH straight time, the honolulu blue and silver came up short on the road. They now have the longest road losing streak in NFL history! Just like last week, the Lions were shell shocked at the start of the game and before they could catch their breath, Carolina was up 14-0. The Defense was just awful for the first 20 minutes of the game, but then held Carolina to only six points and scored a touchdown on a Carolina fumble. Can the Offense be any worse??? There is no doubt in my mind this is by far the worst offense in Lions (and maybe) NFL history. 106 total yards??? 8 first downs??? After doing nothing on his first few drives, Harrington was benched for Mike McMahon. McMahon, who did nothing in relief of Harrington in the Dallas game, got the Lions moving down the field, but threw an interception and did nothing the rest of the game. Reggie Swinton returned a punt 89 yards to get the Lions on the board. But, when you do not have an offense that can put up a single point against a defense resting key starters, you have no shot of winning. One more game till this 3rd straight miserable season is over!


*Offense: --- F-. Just when you think they hit rock bottom, they get worse. 106 total yards and 8 first downs the entire game speaks volumes! Harrington and McMahon looked awful, Schroeder had his usual drops and the running game was non-existant. Rookie RB Artose Pinner, playing in his 2nd game, was just awful! He had 22 yards for a 1.8 yards per carry average. As many people said, the Lions made a huge mistake taking the injured Pinner over Minnesota RB Ontario Smith. Smith had 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. And how about the two WR's taken after Charles Rogers? Boulden and Johnson both have excelled as rookies where Rogers hasn't played since the 5th game. Bootom line the honolulu blue and silver are cursed!

*Defense: --- C. The Defense got off to a horrendous start, but played a solid 2nd half and Boss Bailey's fumble return for a touchdown pulled the Lions within six. Bailey definitely has been the best rookie performer this year. Dre Bly, who has played exceptionally well the entire year, played by far his worst game as a Lion. On Carolina's first touchdown, Bly gambled and got burned. Later in the 1st half, he tried for an interception that led to a 44 yard reception. After the lead was cut to 20-14 late in the game, the Defense stopped the Panthers with less than 3 minutes left. But, Bly was called for a face mask that practially sealed the victory for Carolina.

*Special Teams: --- B. Swinton had a 89 yard touchdown return that put the Lions on the board in the 4th quarter after it appeared the Lions were going to be shut out.

*Coaching: --- D. Mariucci decided to give Mike McMahon a try and saw the same results: an inexperienced QB that is no better than Joey Harrington.

*Overall: --- F. It was the same old story on the road for the 24th straight time. Even with Carolina sitting several starters, the Lions were not able to get back into the game until it was too late. With San Francisco's upset of Philadelphia, the St. Louis Rams need a victory to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Unfortunately, this means another blow out is in the works next week at Ford Field.

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