ALLEN PARK - Where do the Detroit Lions go from here?
Lions coach Steve Mariucci was all out of answers. The team leaders on both offense and defense were all out of answers and president and general manager Matt Millen wasn't talking.
Detroit suffered a humiliating loss in front of a nationally televised audience, losing 27-7 to the Atlanta Falcons. It wasn't so much the loss as it was the way Detroit lost.
They couldn't tackle. Atlanta rushed for 256 yards against Detroit including 141 in the first half. They couldn't score. Opportunities continually went by the wayside. Joey Harrington pass intended for Roy Williams was intercepted when Williams tripped over his own feet. Shawn Bryson fumbled away another opportunity at mid-field. Tight end Marcus Pollard dropped three passes.
The offensive line couldn't block. Lions quarterbacks were sacked five times and Detroit only musted 75 yards rushing.
The special teams that were so spectacular in the past, couldn't get former pro bowl return man Eddie Drummond loose and couldn't tackle Atlanta's Alan Rossum either.
And the quarterback carousel got even worse. Mariucci pulled starter Joey Harrington (6-of-13 for 61 yards, 28.0 passer rating) after he suffered back-to-back sacks, inserting Jeff Garcia (14-of-24 for 154 yards and 1 TD, 74.0 passer rating), who also suffered back-to-back sacks. In the end, its was rookie Dan Orlovsky (5-of-11 for 43 yards, 56.2 passer rating) who was behind center and yes, he fumbled away a chance in the red zone to end the game.
Mariucci spoke only briefly at a hastily ended press conference saying he accepts "full responsibility" for a team that appears in disarray and out of any chance of making the playoffs for the fifth season in a row.
Much of the talk in the post-game locker room was whether the coach that so many of the players love and respect would survive until the end of the season. There was some speculation that "Mooch" wouldn't make it until Sunday. Meanwhile neither president Matt Millen or owner William Clay Ford, Sr. was available for comment.
If Detroit was going to make a coaching change, this would be the time to do it. Detroit has a ten-day window before their next game at Ford Field against Minnesota. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, who was once the head coach of the Chicago Bears and led them to a 13-3 record during his tenure there would likely assume duties as the interim head coach.
If a move is forthcoming, it would likely happen before Sunday to give Jauron time to decide if he would make a change in his offensive staff. It is generally assumed that if Mariucci is fired, offensive coordinator Ted Tollner would go with him. If that was the case, QB's coach Greg Olson would likely take over as offensive coordinator.
Right now there are way too many questions and very few answers for a team that has spent five years rebuilding and still finds themselves at square one.