Perfect Timing: Bye Week Best Thing For Lions

ALLEN PARK - It's not what some Lions would prefer but -- after their shocking 38-6 loss Sunday to Chicago -- a bye week might be the best thing that could happen to them.

With several players -- and their collective pride -- wounded, the Lions will have two weeks to rest on their 1-1 record, do what they can to purge the Bears game from their minds and prepare for their Oct. 2 game at Tampa Bay.

"It's going to sink in," guard Damien Woody said. "After a loss, it's bad enough that you've got to wait a week before you play again, but now we've got to wait two? That's going to eat at guys a little bit, but we can't control that. We've just got to do what we do."

If they are to deliver on the heightened expectations for 2005, however, the Lions are going to have to change the way they're doing what they did Sunday. And it wasn't just the players. It was also the coaches and their approach that deserve examination after the dismal showing at Soldier Field.

Most notably, the Lions have to show they can at least hold their own at the line of scrimmage, something they failed to do against the Bears.

They have to show offensively they can protect quarterback Joey Harrington and that they can open holes for running back Kevin Jones. Harrington was sacked only twice but he was hit and hurried repeatedly, a contributing factor in his five interceptions.

They have to give Jones some kind of running room if he is to give them the ground game that was to be an integral part of their move back to respectability. In two games, Jones has gained 109 yards on 33 carries, averaging just 3.3 yards per attempt.

Defensively, the front seven, which dominated Green Bay in the season opener a week earlier, has yet to prove that game wasn't a fluke after being shredded for 139 yards on 20 carries by Bears running back Thomas Jones and failing to put pressure on rookie quarterback Kyle Orton.

All things considered, the Lions might need more than a one-week bye to get their house back in order.

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