(CHARLOTTE, NC)-- How long?
How long will the embarassment at the hands of Lions head coach Marty Mornhinweg continue? A poorly prepared, undisciplined team (11 penalties for 100 yards) mistake-prone squad was completely blown away Sunday at Ericsson Stadium by the lowly Carolina Panthers and Lion castoff Rodney Peete, 31-7.
Not only were the Lions completely dominated by a team that, just one year ago became the first NFL team to lose 15 straight ball games, they did it in embarassing fashion, allowing journeyman quarterback Rodney Peete to throw for over 300 yards.
Carolina dominated this game from start to finish and only a missed field goal by John
Kasay and a blocked attempted field goal by defensive tackle Shaun Rogers kept the route
from starting earlier. With just 1:06 left in the half, Peete engineered a 5-play 69 yard
drive hitting Mushin Muhammad in the end zone to put Carolina up 10-0 at the half.
Detroit put their only drive of the day together early in the second, Mike McMahon hit Scotty Anderson for 20 yards to set Detroit up at the Carolina 20. Then McMahon scrambled in from 11-yards out to make the score 10-7. It was all downhill from there. Peete connected with Lamar Smith, who raced 58 yards to put Carolina in Detroit territory. Smith cashed it in from 3-yards out.
Then McMahon, under severe pressure all day from Panthers rookie Julius Peppers threw a pass intended for Mikhael Ricks that was picked off by safety Mike Minter who returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
Mornhinweg then began playing musical chairs at quarterback, inserting rookie Joey
Harrington, only to come back to McMahon and then Harrington to finish up. Neither
quarterback was effective as Detroit's offensive line, reverted to form, allowing six
sacks of their quarterbacks and only getting the running game 73 total yards rushing.
Detroit's defense, which played well against the run, but horrible against the pass finally ran out of gas at the end, allowing a final 10 play 71 yard drive with Smith rushing in from 1-yard out to make the final 31-7.
Under Mornhinweg, Detroit has clearly become the worst team in the NFL. The group of
team that were rebuilding along with the Lions have all done a better job. Carolina showed
on the field in impressive fashion they they are far superior to the Lions. Buffalo, which
a year ago, won just three games got a win on Sunday yesterday, scoring 45 points. It
could take Detroit's offense a year to do that.
Carolina already has matched its win total of a season ago winning its first two games. Even the expansion Houston Texans have a win under their belt. Meanwhile, the Walsh rumors continue to swirl along with whispers that a loss to Green Bay could be Mornhinweg's final game as Lions coach.
The sad thing about all of this is what this is doing to the loyal Lions fans. While fans of other teams can watch their teams are dream of catching fire, Lions fans have almost had to resign themselves to the fact that their team had no chance right from the start of training camp.
These are the guys who talked you "the bar was high" and the "goal was to win Super Bowls". That sounds like a 2:00am bar talk right now.