Lions Can Kiss Playoffs Goodbye

What a deflating loss for the Detroit Lions! Wasted in Sunday's loss was another great performance by rookie running back Kevin Jones, a darkhorse candidate for NFL rookie of the year. But what if Jones had gotten any kind of help? Plus, did Mooch coddle Favre? Analysis inside.

(ALLEN PARK) - What a deflating loss for the Detroit Lions!

Up 13-0 at halftime, Detroit allowed the Green Bay Packers to score 16 unanswered points, including the game winning field goal by Ryan Longwell with :05 remaining to walk off with a 16-13 win. Detroit's coaching staff will have a tough time getting the team up to play next week in Minnesota as "I-75 eyes" will beginning setting in soon.

Wasted in the loss was another great performance by rookie running back Kevin Jones, a darkhorse candidate for NFL rookie of the year. Jones' masterful 156-yard performance on 33 carries further solidfied his role as the lead back on this football team.

But what if Jones had gotten any kind of help?

What if Joey Harrington could make a play, any play, sometime during the football game. Harrington was a pitiful 5-of-22 for 47 yards, total. And regardless of how hard the wind was blowing, it blew on both sides of the field. Harrington's counterpart, Brett Favre managed a 19-of-36 game for 188 yards and a touchdown.

What if Dre' Bly picks off Brett Favre's second quarter throw and gives the Lions a shot at another score before halftime.

What if Keith Smith holds on to Favre's ensuing throw? With no one in front of him, Smith would probably have scored, but of course, he dropped the football.

Had either of those things happened, Detroit might have broken the 13 game road losing streak in Green Bay, but instead the streak lives on.

What if the Lions defense could get off the field and what if Steve Mariucci hadn't benched defensive tackle Shaun Rogers during a critical stretch in the third quarter? Rogers jumped offsides and slammed Favre into the turf. It was the second time in the game Rogers had reacted to a Favre hard count and jumped offsides for another 15-yard penalty.

Mariucci, who has a close personal relationship with Favre and who visited with the quarterback to discuss his personal situation with him prior to the game, seemed to take offense at Rogers' action.

The Packers responded by running Najeh Davenport and Tony Fisher in the void created by Rogers' benching, resulting in consecutive gains of nine, twelve and six yards for three consecutive first downs. The drive ended with Favre's 23-yard touchdown pass that cut Detroit's lead to 13-10.

With three games left in the season, at home against Minnesota, at home against Chicago and at Tennessee, Detroit shot at the playoffs are out of the window.

With eight losses now, Detroit (5-8) is likely on its way to its fourth straight losing season and can only wonder, what might have been.

Sure, they could win their last three games. They could finish .500. They might even finish tied with a team that makes the playoffs. But in the end, they'll be on the outside looking in and wondering what might have been.

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