Game Notebook: Saints Throttle Lions

The Lions' losing continues. When they face the Vikings in the home opener Sunday at Ford Field, they will be trying to snap an 18-game losing streak and trying to avoid tying the second-worst losing streak in NFL history.

The Lions' losing continues. When they face the Vikings in the home opener Sunday at Ford Field, they will be trying to snap an 18-game losing streak and trying to avoid tying the second-worst losing streak in NFL history.

But coach Jim Schwartz declines to talk about rebuilding, even though he inherited a team coming off the NFL's first 0-16 season, a team that has lost 24 of its past 25 games.

"It's our job to find ways to be competitive," Schwartz said after the Lions opened the season with a 45-27 loss at New Orleans. "It's not our job to sit here and say we're going to stay the course and we're doing the right things and stuff like that. That's not bottom-line in this league. And I still feel the same way. We're not going to concede anything."

Former coach Rod Marinelli used to say just that. He used to say he believed in what the Lions were doing. He used to say they didn't need to change, that they just had to go back to work and get it right.

Schwartz is the complete opposite. He said the Lions must look at what would give them the best chance to win each Sunday, changing personnel if they had to, changing scheme if they had to.

"It's not going to be just staying with the same stuff," Schwartz said.

It looked like the same old stuff against the Saints, despite all the changes the Lions have made - the new coaches, the new players, the new starting quarterback, the new uniforms.

The Saints blew out the Lions 42-7 on Dec. 21, racking up 532 yards of total offense. The Saints blew out the Lions again Sunday, racking up 515 yards of total offense.

The Lions couldn't stop the pass, couldn't stop the run and couldn't get off the field. They couldn't execute their game plan of running the ball, converting third downs and controlling the clock. They squandered opportunities, took too many penalties and make too many other mistakes.

Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to start against the Vikings, because Schwartz has said he will have a long leash. But Stafford struggled in his NFL debut, throwing three interceptions and finishing 16-for-37 for 205 yards.

Though Schwartz kept it in context - saying Stafford was put in bad situations and wasn't the only one at fault - didn't make excuses for Stafford's performance.

"It's on him to have to make accurate passes," Schwartz said.

LINEUP WATCH: After returning to practice from a neck injury last week, cornerback Phillip Buchanon was inactive at New Orleans. Even Schwartz seemed surprised. "We'll have to take a hard look at where he is," Schwartz said. "We can't have a situation come up late in the week after taking practice reps then all of a sudden he's not able to play."

BY THE NUMBERS: The Lions allowed six touchdown passes to Drew Brees, tying a Saints' record that had stood since 1969, when Billy Kilmer threw six TD passes at St. Louis. The last NFL quarterback to throw six touchdown passes in a game was Brett Favre, who did it with the Jets last year against the Cardinals. The next quarterback the Lions face? Brett Favre, now with the Vikings.

PLAYER NOTES:

  • CB Phillip Buchanon was inactive Sunday because of a neck injury, even though he returned to practice last week.
  • RG Stephen Peterman started Sunday, after missing practice Thursday and Friday with an ankle injury.
  • WR Dennis Northcutt returned punts with Buchanon out. He broke a 43-yard return.
  • RB Aaron Brown returned kickoffs. He busted one 87 yards but ran out of gas and was caught before making it to the end zone.
  • CB Eric King started with Buchanon out and was targeted by the Saints early.

Lions Report Top Stories