Unfortunately, the Lions have been here before. But fortunately, the Lions have been here before.
When they play host to the New York Giants on Sunday, they will be looking to bounce back from a bad road loss. But twice before already this season, the Lions have won a big game at home after a bad road loss.
The Lions were blown out Sept. 23 at Philadelphia, 56-21. They responded with a 37-27 victory Sept. 30 over Chicago.
The Lions were blown out Oct. 7 at Washington, 34-3. They responded with a 23-16 victory Oct. 21 over Tampa Bay, the start of a three-game winning streak.
The Lions lost Sunday at Arizona, 31-21, and the score looks better than it really was because of a late Detroit touchdown. Now what?
"We just have to understand the bigger picture," quarterback Jon Kitna said. "Today didn't go the way we wanted it to go ... um, obviously."
"But the bigger picture is, all our hopes and dreams are still in front of us," Kitna said. "So you can't wallow in this and sit there and have self-pity or anything like that."
There is no sugar-coating what happened Sunday. This was shades of Philadelphia and Washington. The Lions trailed at halftime, 17-7. They trailed early in the third quarter, 24-7. They trailed early in the fourth, 31-14.
During their three-game winning streak, the Lions ran the ball better, protected Kitna better and protected the ball better. But they regressed in all of those areas.
The Lions ran only eight times for minus-18 yards -- the second-worst rushing total in their history, behind only their minus-53 showing at the Chicago Cardinals in 1943. Their leading rusher, running back Aveion Cason, had one carry for one yard.
Kitna took four sacks and was pressured often. He committed four of the Lions' five turnovers -- two interceptions, two fumbles. Wide receiver Shaun McDonald was responsible for the other, a fumble at a critical point in the third quarter.
"We just turned the ball over too much," Kitna said. "I mean, that's point blank. You can try to explain this and that and try to find reasons, but you just can't turn the ball over like that."
The Lions also committed 10 penalties and allowed two big punt returns to Michigan product Steve Breaston.
"We looked terrible today -- real terrible," wide receiver Roy Williams said. "That's not championship football right there. That's not what we're about. The only thing we have going for us is, we have another chance next week against a good New York team, and that's what we have to look forward to."
But all season, the Lions have taken cues from their coach and put everything behind them quickly -- good or bad.
"It's a marathon, and you're going to have these games," coach Rod Marinelli said. "You don't like them, but the team that can rebound off these and doesn't carry excess baggage ...
"We've just got to go back to work. We've got seven big games left, one this week, big one for us. We've got to just get our minds right and go back to work."
Individual Player Notes