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Paul Wezner - LionsFans.com
The Detroit Lions have now reached double digits in losses, obtaining their
league-leading tenth loss of the season as they fell to the Green Bay Packers, 29-27.
The Lions have found yet another way to lose, as they came back from 16 points down with only a little over a minute left, only to fail on the 2-point conversion with only 10 seconds left and fail to win once again. However, knowing the Lions luck, Packers Kick Returner Allen Rossum probably would have returned the kickoff for a Touchdown.
The Lions defense, despite allowing 29 points, probably played its best game of the year, as many of the Packers drives were kept alive on questionable calls by the officiating crew. The Defensive Line put pressure on QB Brett Favre all day, and DE James Hall scored the Lions only Touchdown, until the final 80 seconds or so of the game.
The Lions offense on the other hand didnt perform too well, turning the ball over twice inside the red zone. The Charlie Batch-led offense did a solid job of moving the football between the 20s, largely due to the Lions finding their running game once again, seeing James Stewart return to carry the ball 14 times for 102 yards. However, Batch & Co. could never push the ball in the end zone.
In steps Mike McMahon. In his first drive of the second half, McMahon led the Lions down and converted on three 4th downs to get the Lions offense into the end zone for the first time. Lamont Warren ran in from 1-yard out to close the gap to 10 points, and McMahon scrambled into the end zone for the 2-point conversion to make it a one-possession game, 29-21.
The onside kick was obviously coming, but the Lions pulled a fast one on Green Bay. The Lions lined everyone up to the left, but Jason Hanson kicked the ball with his left foot sending it towards the right sideline, where no Green Bay players were stationed. There was a mad scramble for the ball, with Todd Lyght recovering the football on the 31-yard line.
The Lions appeared to score on a pass down the sideline to Lamont Warren, but the pass was ruled incomplete. The challenge from upstairs (the Lions, or any other team, were not allowed to challenge inside of 2 minutes of each half) never came, and so the Lions had to continue playing. It came down to a 4th-down play that saw McMahon scramble across the field before hitting WR Scotty Anderson in the end zone. The two recent fifth round draft picks connected for their first ever Touchdown.
The 2-point conversion however was not as successful. The Packers Defensive Line broke through the line and forced McMahon to scramble once again. As he rolled left, he tossed the ball up in the end zone instead of trying to make a run at the end zone on his own, and the ball fell harmlessly between Cory Schlesinger and David Sloan. The Lions couldnt recover a second onside kick, and the game ended, with the Lions once again on the short end of the stick.
There was some good that came from the loss however. McMahon, in his first extensive action this season, proved why he has now become the Lions Quarterback of the future, with the future possibly coming as early as next year. WR Scotty Anderson showed the promise that make many believe hell be an impact receiver in this league once he adds some muscle and familiarizes himself with the West Coast Offense. Schlesinger is proving that hes more than just a blocking back, and could well be on his way to his first Pro Bowl selection.
So, as the day of thanks passes us by, not all is lost. The rookies and other youngsters are showing promise, and the team continues to keep the games close, a sure sign that things will improve immensely next season. Furthermore, with the loss, the Lions are that much closer to gaining the right to the 2nd overall draft pick, a pick that will allow the Lions to either add a serious impact player or be able to trade down and acquire a few players that will be able to contribute.
So remember Lions fans, every loss, despite the pain of watching another entertaining football game fall to the opposition, gets the Lions that much closer to helping themselves even more down the road. So be thankful, it could be worse (alright, Im not exactly sure how we could be any worse, except for the fact that were not getting blown out by triple digits as I predicted).