Detroit's Rut: Can't Start, Can't Finish

In each of their first two games without Mike Martz, the Lions have spotted their opponents 21-0 leads and have had to play from behind. Where do the Lions go from here? Of all places, San Francisco -- the new home of Mike Martz.

Mike Martz must be loving this.

The Lions fired him as their offensive coordinator after last season largely because he didn't run the ball. He said he didn't run the ball because the Lions weren't in games.

And lo and behold, in each of their first two games without Martz, the Lions have spotted their opponents 21-0 leads and have had to play from behind.

Where do the Lions go from here?

Of all places, San Francisco, Martz's new home. If they fall to 0-3 by losing to the 49ers -- with Martz and quarterback castoff J.T. O'Sullivan -- they will reach another new low in terms of embarrassment.

There is no good reason why the Lions have started so poorly.

"We've got to fight," defensive tackle Shaun Cody said after Sunday's 48-25 loss to Green Bay. "We come out lackluster. It seems like we were almost -- I don't know -- dead out there. We get stung, we get hit in the face and it's like, 'Hello.'...

"We've got to come out and fight and try to beat somebody. It's like we're coming out a little soft, I think."

But it's not just that the Lions can't start. They can't finish, either. They actually came back and took a lead over the Packers in the fourth quarter, but they blew it largely because of three interceptions by quarterback Jon Kitna. One set up a touchdown. The last two were returned for touchdowns.

"We kind of fought our way back into it, took the lead and then when we needed it the most didn't get it done," Kitna said. "I didn't get it done."

Coach Rod Marinelli talked to the Lions about putting "the nail in the coffin." Several players repeated the phrase in the locker room.

"We fought to get back in the game, and I congratulated them on that point," Marinelli said. "But this league's about winning, and in the crunch time in the fourth quarter, you have to execute and do your job and that's when money players step up and make plays."

After the game, the debate was about what was worse: the 34-21 season-opening loss at Atlanta or this one. The thought was that it was this one, because the Lions came back, took a lead, blew it and still had a chance to win.

But wide receiver Roy Williams went back even farther. To him, the feeling was even lower than after the 56-21 loss at Philadelphia last year, when the Lions came in 2-0, brimming with confidence, and the Eagles burst their balloon from the opening kickoff.

"We got our butts kicked in Philly, but the way we lost this one was worse than that one," Williams said. "We can't blame nobody but ourselves."

NOTEBOOK:

  • S Gerald Alexander suffered a concussion covering a kickoff Sunday against Green Bay. He tried to run off the field but stumbled badly and fell to the turf.
  • TE Casey Fitzsimmons suffered a thumb injury and an update is expected Monday.
  • RT Gosder Cherilus, the Lions' first-round pick this year, replaced RT George Foster to start the second half after Foster allowed two sacks in the first half and was knocked on his back by DE Aaron Kampman.
  • LB Jordon Dizon, the Lions' second-round pick this year, did not play on defense, even though the plan was to give him more than the 14 snaps he had last week at Atlanta. Dizon would have had to make the play calls in the middle, and the Lions were worried the Packers' use of personnel groups would confuse him.
  • QB Dan Orlovsky came in late in the fourth quarter and went 2-for-4 for six yards. He hadn't attempted a regular-season pass since 2005, his rookie year.

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