Lions Notebook: Will Jauron Stay?

The Lions have nothing of significance to gain with an upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend, except perhaps to give a little more credence to interim coach Dick Jauron's theory on the value of hard work.

ALLEN PARK - At best, they'll be 6-10; at worst -- and that seems more likely -- they will 5-11.

The Lions will finish the season on the road Sunday against the playoff-hungry Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers have won their last three games by a cumulative score of 80-12 and need a win against the Lions in their season finale to clinch an AFC wild-card berth.

The situation is as ugly as imaginable for the Lions, who broke a five-game losing streak with a 13-12 road win against New Orleans on Jason Hanson's 39-yard field goal as time ran out in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The Lions have nothing of significance to gain with an upset of the Steelers, except perhaps to give a little more credence to interim coach Dick Jauron's theory on the value of hard work.

"I'm happy for them because they worked," Jauron said after the win against the Saints. "They continued to work and we've stressed it, that if you just keep working, you will turn a corner. I don't know when it will be, but we'll turn a corner. We know it's not going to happen this year; we're not getting to the playoffs this year.

"But if we'll just keep working and then you start believing, then good things happen. And that's what they've done."

As the team's interim coach, it remains highly questionable whether Jauron will be around when the team eventually turns the corner. He received no commitment from Lions president Matt Millen when he accepted the interim coach duties after the firing of Steve Mariucci a month ago.

Millen said he will conduct a thorough coach search that might -- or might not -- include taking a long look at Jauron. Either way, Jauron has one more week to preach his blue-collar work ethic, and an upset against a playoff-caliber team such as the Steelers certainly wouldn't hurt his chances.

REPLAY

The Lions wasted their first scoring opportunity when quarterback Joey Harrington threw an end-zone interception after a nine-minute drive on their opening possession, but they made the best of their two-minute drill to beat the New Orleans Saints 13-12 on Jason Hanson's 39-yard field goal as time ran out Saturday.

Harrington completed just three of seven passes after the Lions got the ball, trailing 12-10 with 1:52 to play. But the final two completions -- a 40-yarder and a 15-yarder to Roy Williams -- set up Hanson's game-winning kick.

The Lions' only touchdown of the game was scored by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who recovered a fumble and lumbered 21 yards with teammates blocking for him and pushing him into the end zone.

The Lions were out of timeouts and didn't spike the ball to stop the clock before Hanson's game-winning field goal. The special teams PAT unit raced onto the field with the clock running down. Don Muhlbach was on target with the snap, holder Nick Harris got the ball set, and Hanson kicked a line drive between the uprights as the final seconds ticked off.

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Joey Harrington didn't play the perfect game in his first start after being benched three games in favor of Jeff Garcia, but he completed two clutch passes to WR Roy Williams in the final 37 seconds -- including a fourth-and-17 throw -- to set up the game-winning field goal in the Lions' 13-12 victory over New Orleans. For the game, Harrington completed 17 of 30 throws for 210 yards and was intercepted once.

--PK Jason Hanson's 39-yard field goal to beat New Orleans in the closing seconds was the 16th game-winning field goal of his 14-year NFL career. After struggling in midseason with five missed field goals in six games, Hanson is 8-for-8 in the last four games.

--WR Roy Williams had another costly drop on a slant that looked as if it might go for big yardage Saturday against New Orleans, but he made up for it with two clutch receptions -- for 40 yards on a fourth-and-17 and a 15-yarder two plays later -- to set up game game-winning field goal in the Lions' 13-12 win Saturday. Williams had four catches for 111 yards overall, his second 100-yard game of the season.

--PR/KR Eddie Drummond returned to action in the Lions' game Saturday against New Orleans after missing two games with a knee injury. He had no yards on one punt return but returned five kickoffs for 150 yards, including a 48-yarder.

--DT Shaun Rogers made it three consecutive games in which he has made a big defensive play. Rogers, selected for the Pro Bowl last week, recovered a fumble and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown in the Lions' 13-12 victory against New Orleans on Saturday. In the previous two games, he had a big-play QB sack but also had a costly penalty in each game, against Green Bay and Cincinnati.


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