Harrington benched following 38-7 loss to Dallas

"I just thought that we needed to get jump started in some shape and form. I just thought that we could get some kind of a spark or some sort of production out of Mike [McMahon] who is a little bit different style of quarterback and maybe he could ignite us and give us some kind of spunk and move the sticks." -- Lions head coach Steve Mariucci

(DETROIT, MI) - Changes are coming following the Lions 38-7 loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys. For the first time since he was installed as the starting quarterback in week four of the 2002 season, Lions second-year quarterback Joey Harrington was benched for poor production.

Harrington had thrown his second interception of the day, it was returned for a touchdown by Cowboys corner Mario Edwards and that was enough for coach Steve Mariucci to give Harrington the hook.

For the fans, it could have come sooner. Harrington was booed loudly and lustily by the fans who are fed up with what has become known as the "Joey Blue-Skies" attitude for his positive comments in the worst of losses.

Today was no different, Harrington said some good had come out of the loss when the team had a good post game "meeting." He said his performance was no different than when an "architect has a bad day" at the office, but Lions fans, and more importantly Mariucci wasn't buying it.

While the coach took full responsibility for the team's performance, he also hinted at sweeping changes in the starting cast and the playing group including the quarterback position.

"I just thought that we needed to get jump started in some shape and form. I just thought that we could get some kind of a spark or some sort of production out of Mike [McMahon] who is a little bit different style of quarterback and maybe he could ignite us and give us some kind of spunk and move the sticks."

Mariucci admitted that he is thinking strongly about making the benching of Harrington stick for next Sunday's road contest against the Chicago Bears at new Soldier Field.

"I should think about it. I owe it to this football team to think about it. I'm going to take everything into consideration, how well we're playing at receiver, how well we're protection, our run game, his health, that sort of thing."

Harrington for his part said he expected to be the starter on Sunday and that he would prepare for the gaem as if he was going to be the starter, but Mariucci may not have a choice but to make the switch to keep a grip on his football team.

The Lions were not only outplayed, but outclassed. While the Cowboys played with poise and executed with the precision of a group of seasoned veterans. Detroit at one point resembled a sandlot football team.

Case in point: In the third quarter, with Detroit trailing 28-7, Dallas took the opening kickoff and controlled the football, taking it from their own 19 into the Lions end zone, running 7:27 off the clock and adding seven points to go up 35-7.

After Detroit went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Dallas controlled the ball for the next 6:35 culminating in a Billy Cundif field goal.

Dallas held the ball for 13:59 seconds of the third quarter. Detroit had the ball for 1:01.

Ball game.

While Cowboys third-year quarterback Quincy Carter went 18-of-25 for 3 TDs, 72% completion rate and a 133.5 passer rating, Harrington went 5-of-13 for 38% completion rate, 2 interceptions and a absolutely putrid 7.1 passer rating.

The ramifications may not be relegated to just the locker room. Lions vice-chairman Bill Ford, Jr. was spotted heading towards the Lions locker room looking none too happy.

It would surprise no one if a change was made atop the Lions organization.

More on that to follow tomorrow.


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