Joey takes the blame, the receivers drop the balls

Rookie quarterback Joey Harrington, who got off to a fast start as a NFL starter, has cooled off and is struggling after three sub-par games. He completed just 20 of 44 passes in the Lions' 40-14 loss at Green Bay. Although Lions receivers dropped at least eight passes, Harrington refused to criticize his teammates who dropped the ball.

"It's a team effort," he said. "I should have thrown it in a better spot."

Upon questioning, Harrington said he takes the blame for the dropped passes.

"Yes, I do," he said. "The quarterback is the orchestrator of the offense out there and today we had some miscues, and I have to do a better job of leading the team."

Harrington admitted he's disappointed with his passing performance in the Lions last three games.

"I think I had a lot of success early," Harrington said. "And I've been trying to talk people down all season. It was one game, two games in there that I played well.

"I'm a rookie. I feel very good with the way I'm playing now. I feel I'm on track, like I'm where I should be but I obviously want to be playing a lot better because I had some success. I know what it's like and I know the mistakes I'm making but I've got to make them. I've got to make them so I can learn."

The Lions are 3-6 for the season, but all the wins have come since Harrington became the starter. In all but the Green Bay game the Lions were competitive. The last loss though was a different story as the only bright spot for the Lions was when Harrington hooked up with Az-Zahir Hakim on a 64-yard touchdown pass on the very first offensive play for the Lions. On the next possession the Lions receivers managed to drop three-straight passes. After that it was all Green Bay and Brett Favre. Green Bay won the game 40-14 to improve their NFL best record to 8-1.

For the season, Harrington is 137 of 277 for 1,548 yards and eight touchdowns.

Detroit may not get a chance to rebound by playing the New York Jets (4-5) at Ford Field next Sunday. The Jets appear to be playing well on defense and it will take a great effort for the normally confident Harrington to break lose. In all fairness to the rookie from Oregon - it would help for the Lions' receivers to hold onto the ball when it hits them in their hands.

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