Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan took full responsibility for the interception that WR Randy Moss threw off of a reverse option with 2:16 left in the game and the Vikings trailing by four points on first down at the Seattle 20-yard line.
"You wish you could have it back to call something else, but you don't," Linehan said. "That's life."
Moss, who wouldn't speak to reporters after the game, was a step from the sideline when he whipped the ball into double coverage. Safety Michael Boulware intercepted the ball in the end zone.
"I have just as much confidence in Randy's instinct on that or any other play than I would have in any player I've coached," Linehan said. "You spread the field, you get the ball in the hands of one of the greatest receivers ever to play the game. I have no question that he has the instincts to handle that situation."
Coach Mike Tice regretted the reverse option pass, but he said he wasn't going to second-guess Linehan's decision.
"An interception there never entered my mind," Tice said. "I thought Randy either would run out of bounds, throw the touchdown or throw the ball out of the back of the end zone."
Tice said he understood that Linehan was grasping for a way to score some points. After the Vikings scored 20 in the first half, they were held to a field goal in the second. And the field goal came after an interception set up the offense at the Seattle 14.
"It's very discouraging that it's the 13th game of the season and we keep having this problem," Cottrell said. "It's not only discouraging for me, it's discouraging for the players. They're trying so hard."
QB Mike McMahon, a four-year NFL veteran, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, isn't holding his breath to see if he gets a chance to start against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
"When there's been opportunities to make a change, he hasn't," McMahon said, "so I'd be a little bit surprised."
But if he gets the chance? "It would be a great opportunity," McMahon said.
If coach Steve Mariucci decided to start McMahon, it would be presumably to take some of the building pressure off Joey Harrington. But the experience McMahon would get would probably not benefit the Lions, who are not likely to keep him in free agency.
McMahon has said on more than one occasion in recent weeks that he wants to compete for a starting job on an equal financial basis wherever he lands as a free agent.
"The NFL is a business," he said. "Everyone knows the guys who get paid a little more are going to get more opportunity to succeed in this league and the guys who don't get paid as much have very slim and few opportunities. They have to make the most of it when they come."
Mariucci probably won't make a decision on whether to start McMahon or Harrington until at least Wednesday.
Harrington's struggles through the second half of the season might cost him the starting job — probably not on a permanent basis but possibly for a game or two as the Lions finish another disappointing season. After throwing 12 TD passes in the first seven games, Harrington has produced only three in the last six and hit a career low when he went 5-for-22 for 47 yards at Green Bay.
In his one appearance this season, McMahon completed 11 of 15 passes for 77 yards.