Lions Notebook: Team still lacks consistency

Monday, it was Roy Williams. But the words could have easily come from Lem Barney in the 1960s, Charlie Sanders in the 1970s, Billy Sims in the 1980s or Barry Sanders in the 1990s. "It was another bad day for Detroit Lions football." More news and notes inside.

ALLEN PARK -- Monday, it was Roy Williams.

But the words could have easily come from Lem Barney in the 1960s, Charlie Sanders in the 1970s, Billy Sims in the 1980s or Barry Sanders in the 1990s.

"It was another bad day for Detroit Lions football."

Williams was referring to Sunday's embarrassing 19-13 loss to the 49ers, a team that had lost 17 of its previous 19 road games and which ranked last in the NFL in scoring defense.

"We can't do this," said Williams, who had his three-game scoring streak snapped. "There are only 1,696 guys who get to play at this level, and we've got to want it if we want to be one of them."

The Lions were coming off their best effort of the season -- a 30-14 romp over Michael Vick and the Falcons -- and had won two in a row at Ford Field.

Sunday, though, they came out flat on both sides of the ball. Frank Gore rushed for 148 yards in the first half, including a 61-yard score on the opening drive, and San Francisco had scored three times before the Lions crossed midfield.

"After playing as well as we did last week, we wanted to come out and put something together," Dre Bly said. "It was tough to come in here (Sunday) and play the way we did."

Lions coach Rod Marinelli has stressed consistency all season, and Sunday certainly didn't give him any reason to change his tune.

"That's what it takes to win championships in this league," he said. "You get a winning streak together by performing each and every week at that consistent level. That's what I am hunting for -- we've just got to go back to practice and keep cleaning things up."

As a defensive guru, Marinelli seemed particularly disappointed in his team's inability to stop San Francisco's running attack. Things got better after Gore left the game with a second-half concussion, but the 49ers still finished with 198 yards on the ground.

In the Lions' past three games, they have allowed nearly 600 rushing yards.

"Tackling is certainly an issue, and containment is an issue," Marinelli said. "That's what we will work on this week."

The rookie coach bristled when asked if his players should be able to tackle by the time they reach the NFL.

"I don't even buy that," he said. "Do I have to teach tackling? Yes. It's football, and I don't care what you say -- no way. It's fundamentals, and we've got to be able to teach it. If it's not getting done, we've got to re-teach it."

NOTES, QUOTES

  •     No one has ever accused WR Roy Williams of being a pessimist. His first quotes Monday, the day after his team dropped to 2-7 after a loss to the mediocre 49ers, were about how the defeat would affect Detroit's shot at the post-season.
        "This hurts our playoff chances," Williams said to a surprised group of writers. "At 10-6, we would have gotten in for sure. Now it is going to be tougher to get in at 9-7."

  •     TE Marcus Pollard spent most of his career near the top of the NFL, playing for the high-flying Colts, but he doesn't think the time is right for him to give his younger teammates advice on winning.
        "They aren't going to listen to me -- not this late in the season," Pollard said. "The only thing I can do now is show them by example, by the way I play every Sunday."
  •     QB Jon Kitna thinks too much emphasis is placed on fourth-quarter performance in tough games.
        "There's almost always four or five plays that decide a game, and they don't always come in the last five minutes," he said. "Sometimes, it is something in the first half."
        Kitna pointed to the first play of the second half as an example. Just as he was about to deliver a long pass to a wide-open Roy Williams, he was blindsided by 49ers CB Shawntae Spencer, who came untouched on a blitz. Kitna fumbled, and the 49ers kicked a field goal to increase their lead to 16-3.
        "That's probably six points right there -- if I throw a good ball, Roy scores on the play," Kitna said. "But we don't pick up the blitz, I never see the guy, and they get the ball."

    PLAYER NOTES
  • LB Alex Lewis had a chance to keep the Lions alive at the end of the game, but he missed his chance. With the 49ers facing third-and-4 just before the two-minute warning, Lewis came untouched on a blitz but let San Francisco QB Alex Smith escape. Smith then hit Arnaz Battle for a first down, allowing the 49ers to run out the clock.
  • DT Cory Redding had two sacks against the 49ers, giving him 3.5 on the season. With DE James Hall (shoulder) on injured reserve and DT Shaun Rogers still having one game left on his drug suspension, Redding is the only active Lion with more than one sack.
  • DE Kalimba Edwards, who signed a big contract extension in the off-season, is still struggling to live up to his deal. Through nine games, Edwards doesn't have a sack and has only recorded 29 tackles.
  • WR Mike Furrey couldn't keep his hot streak going against the 49ers, catching two passes for 13 yards. Furrey, who advanced to the No. 2 receiver spot when Corey Bradford, Az Hakim, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams all failed to grab it, had 13 catches for 181 yards in Detroit's previous two games.
  • WR Mike Williams was inactive yet again Sunday -- he has only played twice this season and has not caught a pass. Williams, the 10th pick in the 2005 draft, has been unable to make the active roster despite the fact that no Detroit wideout other than Roy Williams and Mike Furrey has caught a pass since Devale Ellis and Az Hakim, who has since been waived, had one each on Oct. 22 against the Jets.

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