ALLEN PARK - At least they'll have another high draft pick.
After losing their third straight in improbable fashion to the Green Bay Packers, 16-13 in overtime at Lambeau Field Sunday night, the Lions have a good shot at returning to the top-10 in the 2006 NFL draft.
Despite jumping out to a 13-0 lead, the Lions defense allowed the Packers to score sixteen unanswered points including the game winning 29-yard field goal by Ryan Longweil in overtime. Linebacker Earl Holmes tackled running back Samkon Gado in the endzone for what appeared to be a safety that would have given Detroit a two point lead and the ball with less than four minutes remaining, but referee Mike Carey reversed the call, calling Gado intentional fumble out of the end zone as incredibly, a incomplete forward pass.
The call completely changed the tenor of the game and allowed the Packers to send the contest into overtime where the inevitable happened.
In the overtime, Detroit's Shaun Rogers committed a senseless personal foul, throwing running back Samkon Gado into the Detroit bench. The infraction set up the Packers, who were at midfield before the penalty, with a first-and-ten at the Lions 35-yard line. Four plays later Longweil's field goal clinched the game for the Lions.
At least Detroit can settle on a few things in the wake of this game.
One is that they can scratch interim coach Dick Jauron from their list of head coaching candidates and Greg Olson from their list of offensive coordinator candidates. In fact, Detroit would do well to completely sweep clean the entire coaching staff and start from scratch in their search for leadership. Jauron simply needed to stay the course in order to come out with a win.
Detroit got into the red zone three times in the first half and each time, they settled for field goals. There's nothing wrong with that strategy against a 2-10 football team. So with the Packers down 13-10, Detroit had three cracks from inside the five-yard line and couldn't score. So why not take another three points and go up 16-10, right?
Who do you think won that battle? Great decision, (Interim) Coach.
They've also learned that Garcia, no matter how many more starts they give him this season, isn't a NFL quarterback anymore. Garcia can yell at his receiver, shake his fist and go through all his disgusted gyrations so that the camera sees what a competitor he is, but the fact is he's no better than Joey Harrington and he's a whole lot older.
The Lions have also learned they have no offensive line.
Save Damien Woody and maybe Dominic Raiola and send the rest of the group packing. Kelly Butler might be a good backup someday. The Lions have eighteen free agents they need to sign? Save a ton of money by saying good bye to almost all of them. View this as an opportunity to clear your roster of dead weight.
The Lions put up a good fight early on, in the game and the season, but when bad things began to happen, they took on the look of a team that couldn't wait for it to be over. Now, there are I-75 eyes in the locker room - the phenomenon when a losing team can't wait to get the season over and get to the offseason.
Nothing good can come out of the rest of this season for the Lions. With Cincinnati, New Orleans and Pittsburgh remaining on their schedule, it is very likely Detroit will not win another game this season. If they do break through, the New Orleans Saints are the most likely candidate in what is a psuedo home game for them at the Alamodome in San Antonio, but don't count on it.
Fact is, unless the Lions are actually going to play their younger players, like Dan Orlovsky, like Stanley Wilson, like Keith Smith, what purpose is even served by playing these games? The days are getting shorter, the nights longer and I-75 is looking better and better.