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Nate Caminata - LionsFans.com
Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg doesn't really need to address the media this time. Not after his team suffered their 5th consecutive loss on Sunday via a 27-24 defeat to the Tennessee Titans (2-3).
Mornhinweg, who lashed out at his team last week Sunday after falling to Minnesota -- scolding them for "stupid" penalties -- didn't see the results he would have hoped for. And apparently, his message didn't get through.
Despite a second quarter offensive burst, which saw two Charlie Batch touchdown passes to Johnnie Morton and Germane Crowell, respectively, the Lions made another habit of poor decisions at crucial moments ... again.
Leading 14-9 early in the 3rd quarter, Batch marched Detroit into Tennessee territory, and faced a critical 3rd down and 7 play with momentum favoring the Lions. However, a false start by offensive lineman Tony Semple pushed the Lions back to the Titans 22-yard line. The second third down conversion attempt failed, forcing Lions' kicker Jason Hanson to attempt a 40-yard field goal.
Despite a clean snap, Hanson's kick was blocked and returned 70 yards for the touchdown by Titans' defensive back Donald Mitchell. After a converted two-point attempt, the Titans took a 17-14 lead.
The blocked kick was the second Hanson field goal attempt that went awry. Earlier in the contest, the Lions failed to capitalize on a Ron Rice interception when long-snapper Brad Banta botched the snap.
Detroit committed 8 penalties for 77 yards in the contest, but several either sustained Tennessee drives, or negated successful Lions' offensive plays.
Titans' quarterback Steve McNair, who tossed for just 216 yards including two interceptions, completing only 42% of his attempts, answered a successful Janson Hanson field goal with a 6-yard touchdown strike to tight end Frank Wycheck. Earlier in the drive, Wycheck -- on an option play -- tossed a 21-yard completion to former Michigan State standout Derrick Mason.
Mason and the remainder of the Titans offense was relatively held at bay throughout the contest, including All Pro running back Eddie George, who ran for just 51 yards on 26 carries. George was unable to exploit a Lions' defensive line that witnessed the ejections of defensive linemen Luther Elliss and Tracy Scroggins.
Mason's 4th quarter score put Tennessee in front 24-17, but as they did last week, the Lions rallied behind Batch's late heroics.
With wide receiver Germane Crowell out due to an undetermined knee injury, Batch -- facing 4th down and 10 with just over a minute remaining -- found little used receiver Desmond Howard sprinting down the sidelines for a 36-yard touchdown catch. The reception knotted the game up, and handed Howard his first offensive score since 1995.
Unfortunately for Detroit -- and the Lions' faithful in attendance -- the celebrating would be short-lived.
With 71 seconds remaining, and placed on their own 33-yard line, the Titans needed just three plays to put place kicker Joe Nedney in field goal position.
Using a 22-yard McNair scamper, the Titans ran the clock down to just 5 seconds. The usual automatic Nedney netted the field goal, and the Titans second win of the season.