(CHICAGO) -- If there is a worst team in the NFC than the Detroit Lions, please have
them show up next week at Ford Field in Detroit.
In a match up of two of the NFL's worst team, Detroit was thoroughly dominated by the hapless Chicago Bears en route to a 24-16 loss firmly cementing the team's place in the basement of the NFC North. The loss was the team's 20th straight on the road the 3rd longest road losing streak in NFL history.
Detroit never challenged in this one until the game was firmly out of hand. With Chicago holding a 17-0 lead, Detroit's Reggie Swinton, substituting for the injured Eddie Drummond, returned Paul Edinger's kickoff 87 yards for Detroit's only score for the first three quarters of the game. It wasn't until less than two minutes remained in the game when Detroit came to life.
Detroit's Joey Harrington, who had previously thrown his normal quota of two interceptions per game, mounted a drive hitting five different receivers. The drive culminated in a 3-yard TD pass to Mikhael Ricks that cut the Chicago lead to 24-16 following a successful two-point conversion.
Detroit's Jason Hanson booted a perfect onside kick that was recovered by Lions receiver Bill Schroeder. However, the replay official decided to call for a review of the play. A contested play inside the last two minutes of the game can only be challenged by the replay official from the press box.
The replay official reversed the decision on the field and awarded the ball to Chicago, ending Detroit's chances of sending the game into overtime. Detroit would have had possession of the football at the Chicago 41-yard line with :50 remaining.
"I was sort of hoping that they would say it was inconclusive," said Lions
coach Steve Mariucci of the disputed onside kick recovery call. "There were a bunch
of bodies over there. I was hoping that the TV cameras, that the angles over there were a
mess so they couldn't really overrule it."
"I went from as high as you can get to as low as you can get," said Lions quarterback Joey Harrington, who suffered through three quarters of not being able to get anything going offensively. "You go from thinking 'OK, we got a shot, we can tie this up.' You go from thinking that you're going to overtime to realizing you probably lost the football game. And it was something that was out of anybody's control and that's the tough thing."
Actually the Lions could have done something to effect the outcome, but instead, continued to make the kind of dumb mistakes, inopportune penalties and dropped passes that have plagued them all season long.
On the team's first possession, 2001 second-round draft pick Dominic Raiola continued his recent string of penalties for undisciplined plays, this time getting a 15 yard penalty for a personal foul. Raiola missed a block and leg whipped Chicago defensive tackle Keith Traylor drawing the flag and dooming the team to punt.
With Detroit looking at 3rd and 9 at the Chicago 41, Jeff Backus was called for false start, making it 3rd and 14. Detroit ended up punting again.
Harrington also didn't help Detroit's cause with his own miscues.
Early in the second quarter, Detroit crossed mid-field with the ball at the Chicago
46-yard line but on 3rd and 2, Harrington missed an open Scotty Anderson to kill a Detroit
Detroit continued to bumble and stumble their way through the first three quarters before finally coming to life after the game was decided.
The frustration of losing to the previously 1-5 Bears (2-5) was too much for linebacker Barrett Green to take.
"It's **** sickening. It really is. We've got to make plays to order to win games,
if we don't do that we're not going to win games, it's that simple. We are lacking
playmaking ability on this team."
If it wasn't clear enough to the fans of one of the worst teams in the NFL before now, this decisive loss to the Chicago Bears ought to make things crystal clear for the fans now.
The Detroit Lions are the worst team in the NFC. Period.