|CAR||TD||STEVE SMITH 20 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME (JOHN KASAY KICK), 4:30|
Drive: 5 plays, 51 yards in 2:34
Smith 23-yard punt return to Carolina 49
Delhomme 10-yard pass to Muhammad to Detroit 32
|CAR||TD||DESHAUN FOSTER 10 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME (JOHN KASAY KICK), 6:57|
Drive: 9 plays, 84 yards in 5:23
Foster 12-yard run on 3rd-and-4 to Carolina 34
Delhomme 44-yard pass to Smith on 3rd-and-6 to Detroit 18
|CAR||FG||JOHN KASAY 42 YD, 13:06|
Drive: 5 plays, 32 yards in 2:10
Minter 29-yard interception return to Carolina 44
Delhomme 29-yard pass to Muhammad to Detroit 27
|CAR||FG||JOHN KASAY 44 YD, 7:07|
Drive: 12 plays, 51 yards in 7:07
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
|DET||TD||REGGIE SWINTON 89 YD PUNT RETURN (JASON HANSON KICK), 2:58|
|DET||TD||BOSS BAILEY 62 YD FUMBLE RETURN (JASON HANSON KICK), 11:16|
|Tackles-Solo-Assists Sacks-Yds (unofficial)|
|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|
|3rd-Down Efficiency||3 - 11||7 - 14|
|4th-Down Efficiency||0 - 0||0 - 2|
|Total Net Yards||106||384|
|Net Yards Rushing||53||124|
|Average Per Rush||2.5||3.4|
|Net Yards Passing||53||260|
|Completed-Attempted||7 - 19||29 - 35|
|Yards Per Pass||2.7||7.4|
|Sacked-Yards Lost||1 - 0||0 - 0|
|Punts-Average||8 - 41.6||3 - 36.3|
|Punts-Returns||1 - 89||6 - 33|
|Kickoffs-Returns||4 - 65||3 - 64|
|Interceptions-Returns||1 - 0||1 - 29|
|Penalties-Yards||7 - 55||6 - 35|
|Fumbles-Lost||0 - 0||3 - 1|
|Time Of Possession||21:46||38:14|
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!
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.
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.