Despite loss Woodson says Lions "not very good"

If two old geezers get into a scrap at the nursing home, does anybody care who comes out on top? Well, the NFL's version of that donnybrook came to life on Sunday when the two oldest teams in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders (the oldest) and the Detroit Lions (second oldest) had at one another and the younger guys came out on top, snapping a six-game losing streak in the process.

(DETROIT) - If two old geezers get into a scrap at the nursing home, does anybody care who comes out on top?

The NFL's version of that donnybrook came to life on Sunday when the two oldest teams in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders (the oldest) and the Detroit Lions (second oldest) had at one another and the younger guys came out on top, snapping a six-game losing streak in the process.

But it was youngster Charles Woodson who drew the most attention for his postgame remarks about both the Lions and his team the Raiders and his coach Bill Callahan.

Still, Detroit got all of its point from members of the "over-30 set." Olandis Gary scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and Cory Schlesinger's 33-yard touchdown reception from Joey Harrington was his first of the season. Jason Hanson added three field goals to give Detroit the margin of victory.

Head coach Steve Mariucci explained it very succinctly. "We caught the ball better and we ran the ball better." And while they made some mistakes along the way, Detroit was able to overcome those miscues better than they had in the past.

While Detroit looked like they had their daily dose of "Geritol" while the guys in Silver and Black looked as if they needed a nap.

On just the second play of the ballgame, Raiders quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo telegraphed a pass intended for Jerry Rice and got it picked off by another member of the over-30 gang, Otis Smith. Detroit cashed in when over-30 member Hanson nailed a 54-yard field goal showing he has plenty of pop still left in his leg.

With the Raiders driving, Tuiasosopo fumbled away a 3-and-9 at the Detroit 39 and Sebastian Janikowski missed a 55-yard attempt. On the Raiders next possession Rice, a member of the over-40 gang, fumbled the ball which was scooped up by Barrett Green of the Lions who returned it 12-yards to the Oakland 38-yard line.

"I don't make excuses," said Rice. "Anytime I catch the football I feel like I have to hold on to the football so I am to blame for that one and in a situation like that I can't cough the ball up. I apologized to my teammates and told them that was my fault."

After back-to-back personal foul penalties to whipper-snapper Nick Harris and Eric Barton of the Raiders Detroit had the ball first and goal at the Oakland two setting up Gary's plunge to give Detroit a 10-0 lead.

After another Oakland penalty pinned the Raiders deep in their own territory. Adding to the Raider woes, Shaun Rogers sacked Tuiasosopo who was injured on the play and forced from the ballgame.

"I didn't know how serious it was and I tried to run it off but it just got stiffer and stiffer and I wasn't able to move as well," said Tuiasosopo. "I was going to go as long as I could function. I tried playing a few more series and they decided to put Rick (Mirer) in because my mobility wasn't as good as it could be. I don't want to be out there at seventy percent if I am going to hurt the team. I'm disappointed that it happened and I couldn't play."

With Oakland punting from their own 3-yard line Detroit got the ball on a short field, but Joey Harrington's pass intended for Scotty Anderson was picked off by Rod Woodson, making him only the third man in NFL history to grab 70 picks.

But the Raiders were unable to capitalize on the miscue and it wasn't until just before the half that the Raiders got on the board when Janikowski booted a 55-yarder as time expired on the half.

Detroit went to work on their first possession of the second half when Harrington hit Cory Schlesinger from 30-yards out to put Detroit up 17-3. Schlesinger eluded Raider's corner Phillip Buchanan, who tried to jump the route for the score.

Things got interesting when journeyman quarterback Rick Mirer came off the bench and mounted a 7-play 66-yard drive which culminated in Charlie Garner's 7-yard TD run to get Oakland to within 17-10. Hanson added another 42-yarder to give Detroit a 20-10 lead. The Raiders could do no more than another Janikowski field goal to make the final score 20-13.

"You've got to give the Lions credit today, they are a hell of a ball club," said Raiders coach Bill Callahan with a straight face. "I really felt the game came down to turnovers, especially when you do that early in the game. Then we were behind and it was an uphill climb form there. We fought and came back. With that being said, I think our guys are obviously down right now. They continue to battle competitively and some things happened today that we couldn't take full advantage of. We will try to rectify that tomorrow."

But Raiders free agent corner to be Charles Woodson had a different point of view. Woodson said he was embarrassed to lose to the Lions and that Callahan had lost the team. "I don't want to downgrade the Detroit Lions, but I don't think they're a good team.'' When asked if Callahan has lost the team, Woodson did not back down. "It's not a secret at this point. That's exactly what's going on right now." He also added he wasn't worried about being fined or suspended by the team for his remarks. "I'm not worried about telling the truth," Woodson said.

Lions head coach Steve Mariucci was excited over the win and eager to praise Jason Hanson for his three field goal effort.

"If there's anybody else in the league who's better than Jason Hanson, then I don't who that would be. I know there are some other good kickers, but that guy is rock solid," Mariucci said. "He's a good team player and guys love him. He's been so consistent and works like crazy. He's a true pro and one of the greats of all time."

Detroit (2-6) hopes to build some momentum after the win and will host the feisty Chicago Bears (3-5) winners of two straight, including a win just two weeks ago over the Lions in Soldier Field.


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