(MIAMI, FL) -- There are a few things in football that always hold true, one of them is this: if you can't run and you can't stop the run, you're going to lose.
The Lions found that out first hand at Pro Player Stadium in Miami as the Dolphins' Ricky Williams piled up 111 yards rushing against what was billed as a tough run stuffing defense, while Detroit's entire team rushed for a pitiful 51 yards. The result: a 49-21 thrashing at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.
Even Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg admitted he never expected the Dolphins to rush for a team total of 182 yards. "I never expected that they would rush for anything near 182 yards, hell, I thought it would be closer to 82."
Mornhinweg should have known better, after all, he got to see first-hand in last year's 2-14 season that without starting running back James Stewart there is no run game for Detroit. Stewart, who reported as being 85% healthy was held out by Mornhinweg so that he could be back at 100% for next week's contest at Carolina.
Adding insult to injury, Miami running back Robert Edwards, who hadn't played in three years-- thanks to blowing out his knee in a beach touch football game sponsored by the NFL -- scored two touchdowns against the Lions.
Meanwhile, the Lions were compounding their problems by making big mistakes.
Rookie cornerback Chris Cash had a punt hit his leg while blocking downfield, leading to an easy Dolphins score in the end zone. Then quarterback Mike McMahon threw an interception from deep in Lion territory that Brock Marion returned to the Detroit 2-yard line, setting up a Ricky Williams touchdown run on the next play.
The biggest question mark was the Lions defense. This was a unit that was supposed to carry the flag for Detroit's hopes this season. After all, with Detroit's front four and an experienced group of linebackers, Detroit should have been able stay in the game through at least the first half, right?
Wrong. Miami scored touchdowns on five of their first eight possessions including a 9-play drive for 57 yards and a touchdown, a 7-play 64 yard touchdown drive, an 8-play 66 yard drive. Sandwiched between all that was a gift special teams touchdown. Score 28-7 at the half.
Where their any bright spots for Detroit? You'd have to stretch to find them but Az Zahir Hakim's 9 catches for 97 yards performance and John Jett's 47.3 punting average were about the only positives.
Then you began to see the familiar heads down along the sideline scene that was so familiar in last year's 2-14 debacle.
"Any time you come out and get dominated like this, it's embarrassing for everybody in the organization, it's embarrassing for the city of Detroit," Lions cornerback Todd Lyght said. "We wanted to come out here, play a good ballgame and represent the city of Detroit. We weren't able to do that today."
Don't look now Lions fans, old friends Rodney Peete and Terry Fair are licking his chops in Carolina right now.