Lions Notebook: Desperation in Detroit

Things are more dismal and desperate than ever for the Lions, 0-13 for the first time in team history and headed toward the first 0-16 season in NFL history.

Things are more dismal and desperate than ever for the Lions, 0-13 for the first time in team history and headed toward the first 0-16 season in NFL history.

Their finale is at Green Bay, and they haven't won in Wisconsin since 1991 -- 17 straight losses, including the playoffs. Before that, they play host to New Orleans, which has an outstanding offense.

But first, they must go to Indianapolis on Sunday, knowing full well Peyton Manning has the ability to pick them apart.

"Indy's an opponent we have to focus on and try to get our first win," linebacker Ryan Nece said.

The Lions can't afford to look back at their missed opportunities. They missed a huge one Sunday in a 20-16 loss to Minnesota.

There was reason to believe the Lions had a good chance of winning. In 2001, the Lions started 0-12, then beat the Vikings at home. In October, the Lions suffered their closest loss of the season, 12-10, at the Metrodome.

And the Vikings tried to help. They took six penalties. Quarterback Gus Frerotte threw two interceptions to a team that had only two all season and left the game with a back injury late in the first half. Running back Adrian Peterson fumbled three times after fumbling only three times all season.

But the Lions failed to scoop up any of Peterson's fumbles. (They recovered one Peterson fumble, but it didn't count because he was ruled down after video review.) Overall, they couldn't take advantage of their opportunities.

The Lions had the ball within the Minnesota 6-yard line three times and settled for only six points. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper was stuffed on a sneak on fourth-and-1 at the Minnesota 6 late in the first half.

"We had to get touchdowns," coach Rod Marinelli said. "In this league, when you've got a chance to get touchdowns, you have to get them. We weren't able to do that."

In the fourth quarter, the Lions faced a 17-13 deficit and third-and-11 at the Minnesota 21. Culpepper found wide receiver Calvin Johnson but threw low. Johnson got his hands under the ball, and it was ruled a catch. But Childress challenged the call, and it was overturned because the ball hit the ground.

The Lions kicked a field goal, cutting their deficit to 17-16 with 5:44 to go. But the Lions couldn't stop the Vikings, gave up a field goal and got the ball back at their 29 with only 16 seconds left.

"The biggest disappointment, the end of the game, we've got to stop them," Marinelli said. "We played well for most of the game, and when we had a chance and we needed to stop them, we didn't get that done. That kind of sums it up."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I decided with the staff early in the week. ... Once we crossed (mid-field) I wanted to go into fourth-down mode because I felt going into the game we needed touchdowns big time. I didn't quite know how we were going to play defensively -- we had some guys out still. It didn't work." -- Coach Rod Marinelli, on if in hindsight the Lions should have kicked field goals instead of going for it on fourth downs.

LINEUP WATCH: The Lions have more uncertainty at quarterback. Daunte Culpepper suffered a shoulder injury Sunday when he tried to heave a desperation pass and a defender got his arm. He said it was sore and he would undergo more tests Monday. Drew Henson was the backup because Drew Stanton was coming off a concussion and only ready to be No. 3. Dan Orlovsky is still recovering from a broken thumb.

Player Notes:

  • LB Paris Lenon suffered a chest injury. His status is unclear.
  • CB Travis Fisher suffered a neck injury, but it wasn't serious enough for coach Rod Marinelli to mention among the injuries.
  • CB Brian Kelly played sparingly Sunday. He didn't even replace CB Travis Fisher. The coaches opted for Ramzee Robinson instead.
  • WR Shaun McDonald sat out with an ankle injury suffered in practice during the week.
  • DE Dewayne White did not play because of a calf injury but could be back at Indianapolis.

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