Lions Notebook: Can it get any worse?

The Lions are headed toward the NFL's first 0-16 season after suffering their worst Thanksgiving Day loss ever, a 47-10 stinker against Tennessee.

Can it get any worse?

The Lions are headed toward the NFL's first 0-16 season after suffering their worst Thanksgiving Day loss ever, a 47-10 stinker against Tennessee.

"We got embarrassed out there," defensive tackle Shaun Cody said. "They took it to us."

The 37-point margin of defeat was the largest the Lions have ever had on Thanksgiving, and they have played 69 Thanksgiving games dating to 1934. They had never allowed so many points on the holiday, either.

The Titans had two running backs surpass 100 rushing yards: Chris Johnson (125) and LenDale White (106). The Lions' leading rusher, running back Kevin Smith, had 22 yards -- 21 of them on one play. The Lions went 0-for-11 on third down.

"We got beat very soundly -- very, very soundly," coach Rod Marinelli said. "They handled us all the way through. They're a heck of a team, and we didn't meet their challenge."

The Lions have lost five straight Thanksgiving games by an average margin of 23.4 points. They fired coach Steve Mariucci after a 27-7 loss to Atlanta in 2005. But Marinelli remains steadfast he is the right man for the job, even though he is 10-34 overall and 1-19 in his last 20.

"I do, and I feel like I just keep fighting and keep going," Marinelli said. "The record doesn't show it. But I have great belief in myself."

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper threw a horrible pick-six and was pulled for the third time in four starts since signing with the Lions.

"That's a really good football team, but we didn't play our best game today, nowhere near our best game," Culpepper said. "To beat a team like that, you've got to have some things go your way and you've got to play almost a mistake-free game, and we didn't do that."

Notebook:

  • The Lions have had five quarterbacks attempt a pass in a season for the first time since at least the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. After Daunte Culpepper was pulled Thursday, Drew Henson appeared in an NFL regular-season game for the first time since Thanksgiving Day four years ago, when he started for Dallas against Chicago.
  • Henson entered with 4:22 to go. The former Michigan quarterback -- who left the Wolverines to play for the Yankees, then came back to football -- got some cheers from the fans remaining at Ford Field. He finished 1-for-2 for 20 yards and took two sacks.

    Jon Kitna started the first four games this season, then was put on injured reserve with a back problem against his wishes. Dan Orlovsky started the next four, then suffered a broken thumb. Drew Stanton has made two appearances, but he was inactive Thursday because of a concussion.

  • At least the Lions got a splash play from rookie defensive end Cliff Avril, who stripped Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins late in the first half. Avril almost returned the fumble for a touchdown, diving for the goal line. He didn't make it. The ball was spotted at the 2-yard line.

    But that set up the Lions' only touchdown. Asked about going 0-12, Avril said: "I stopped paying attention to the record a long time ago. I didn't even know we played 12 games, but it's tough for a rookie, especially losing all these games. I don't even know what it feels like winning an NFL game yet, but you just keep working hard. That's all I can do is keep working hard and try to make plays for the team."

Individual Notes:

  • RG Stephen Peterman left Thursday's game against Tennessee with a knee injury. Manny Ramirez replaced him.
  • LG Edwin Mulitalo sat out Thursday with a knee injury. Damion Cook started in his place.
  • WR Mike Furrey was unable to play for the third straight game because of a concussion.
  • C Dominic Raiola hopes to return from a broken thumb Dec. 7 against Minnesota.
  • DE Dewayne White hopes to return from a broken thumb Dec. 7 against Minnesota.

Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Daunte Culpepper threw a terrible interception. When a screen play broke down, he tried to throw away the ball and threw it right to defensive end David Ball, who returned the interception 15 yards for a touchdown while everyone just stood in shock, giving the Titans a 21-3 first-quarter lead. Culpepper led a drive for a field goal, but that was it. He threw a touchdown pass, but only after the defense gave him the ball at the Tennessee 2. He finished 13-for-26 for 134 yards and was pulled for the third time in four starts.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- The Lions' leading rusher was rookie running back Kevin Smith. He had 22 yards - 21 of them on one carry. Four Titans had more.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- The Titans didn't have to throw the ball much. But when they did, they had little trouble. Quarterback Kerry Collins spread the ball around, throwing two passes apiece to five different receivers and one each to two more teammates. He went 11-for-18 for 127 yards. He was sacked only once, when defensive end Cliff Avril stripped him of the ball.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- For the second time in three games, the Lions allowed two 100-yard rushers. Chris Johnson showed off his speed with 16 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He sprinted through a hole and past flat-footed safety Dwight Smith for a 58-yard TD. LenDale White had 23 carries for 106 yards and two TDs.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Jason Hanson kicked a 53-yard field goal, tying all-time leader Morten Andersen with 40 from at least 50 yards in his career. Normally reliable punter Nick Harris shanked one punt and had a rare touchback. The coverage units allowed a couple decent returns.

COACHING: F -- Coach Rod Marinelli said before the game he welcomed the spotlight and scrutiny because it would show what the Lions were made of. Well, the Lions lived down to all that has been said about them. They were as bad as advertised in all phases.


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