They are also back to the sub-.500 record that has become a part of their recent identity, facing the prospect of another disappointing season.
Quarterback Jeff Garcia, who led the Lions to victory in his first start a week earlier, threw the pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman, giving the Bears a 19-13 overtime Sunday win at Ford Field in Detroit.
Instead of getting the win and taking over first place in the NFC North, the Lions slipped to 3-4 and, in the process, lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Bears, who swept the season series.
"I was just trying to make a play," said Garcia, reprising a common theme for Lions quarterbacks in recent seasons. "I know from experience not to throw the ball across the field. One way or the other, it is just looking for bad things to happen."
There were hints from both Garcia and coach Steve Mariucci that Garcia might have been less than 100 percent physically by the time he made his ill-fated throw. It was only the second game — after a second week of practice — in his comeback from a broken left fibula suffered in the final pre-season game.
Nevertheless, Mariucci said he plans to stick with Garcia — ahead of previous starter Joey Harrington — as long as Garcia is healthy enough to get his work done on the practice field and line up under center when the Lions play at Minnesota next Sunday.
With nine games remaining on the schedule, the Lions clearly have their work cut out for them. Because they are 0-2 against the Bears, they have to finish with a better record than the Bears to have a chance at the division title.
That means if the Bears win four of their remaining nine games (that would make them 8-8 for the season), the Lions would have to win six of their remaining nine to get to 9-7.
That's a lot to ask of a team that has won six games in a full season only once in the last four years.
The Lions wasted a 10-point second half rally — and with it a chance to take over sole possession of first place in the NFC North
The loss was their second in four home games and left them with a 3-4 record going into their game next Sunday at Minnesota.