The Lions have lost three games in a row. They have badly damaged their playoff chances. And Sunday they play at Minnesota, where they have lost nine consecutive games.
The last time the Lions won at the Metrodome, it was Dec. 14, 1997. They won by one point, 14-13. They lost three in a row there before that.
The Lions did beat the Vikings at home in Week 2. But they needed a miracle to do it.
Early in the second quarter, quarterback Jon Kitna threw a pass to running back Brian Calhoun. Just after he released the ball, he was hit from behind, then from the front.
Kitna stayed in for four more plays, and he even threaded a ball through three defenders for a nine-yard touchdown to wide receiver Roy Williams. But something was wrong.
Coach Rod Marinelli said the medical staff called it a "very mild concussion." Kitna, who said he had three concussions in the past, said: "That was the worst my head's ever felt and the worst my memory was in the second quarter."
"I was out of it," Kitna said. "I didn't know anything."
Kitna left the game. He said his symptoms cleared completely by halftime, however. He told offensive coordinator Mike Martz he could play in the third quarter. Martz told him to talk to the medical staff. Kitna went to the medical staff in the fourth quarter and got cleared. He returned with the game tied at 17.
"It was a miracle," Kitna said. "I should not have played in the rest of the game. Yet, my head cleared up, and it went to a point where there was nothing. So it's almost as if it didn't happen."
The Lions took over at the 50. On the first play, Kitna threw a pass to himself. He tried to pass to Shaun McDonald, but the ball was batted. It bounced back to him. He grabbed it, ran to the right, took a hit and flew through the air for a nine-yard gain.
Two plays later, he scrambled six yards for a first down. Then Calhoun broke a 17-yard run to the Minnesota 19, and enough was enough. Hanson kicked a 37-yarder, and the Lions won, 20-17.
"You guys will probably snicker and laugh and have a good time with this, but it's a miracle," Kitna said the next day. "That's really what it is. You can call it whatever it is, whatever the official diagnosis of it, whatever it was. But I've never felt anything like that, and then for it to clear up and go right back to as normal as I can be, is nothing short of a miracle in my life. I just definitely feel the hand of God."
Individual Player Notes