As expected, the Daunte Culpepper experiment got off to a terrible start. Culpepper, who started at quarterback for the Lions after only a few days of practice with the team, struggled quite a bit at times against Jacksonville on Sunday. Even so, there was only so much he could do anyways, as the defense got flat out destroyed.
Believe it or not, but the Lions actually led 7-3 early on in this game after Drew Stanton came in for a play and threw a TD pass. Unfortunately, the Lions didn't lead for long and proceeded to give up five consecutive Jaguars touchdown drives. Stanton came back in late in the fourth quarter and led the Lions down the field for another TD, but that only made the score a little less embarrassing for Detroit. In the end it was 38-14 in favor of the Jaguars, capping off another all-around terrible day for the Lions.
- Just three plays into the game Daunte Culpepper turned the ball over. Culpepper tried to complete a pass to Calvin Johnson in the middle of the field but was intercepted by Rashean Mathis. Mathis dove in front of Johnson to pick off the pass and returned the interception to Detroit's 23-yard line.
- The Jaguars went three and out and had to settle for a 34-yard Josh Scobee field goal.
- Both teams went three and out before the Lions finally had some success offensively. On 3rd and 14, Daunte Culpepper heaved a pass downfield, and Calvin Johnson caught it for a gain of 51 yards. Culpepper still has a great arm, and that was evident on his throw to Calvin. On the very next play Culpepper showed off his scrambling ability by avoiding pressure, which allowed him to find a wide open Kevin Smith for a gain of 27 yards.
On 3rd and 5 the Lions' drive stalled when Culpepper got sacked, but a face mask penalty on the Jaguars gave Detroit an automatic first down at the 3-yard line. Drew Stanton then came into the game and handed the ball off to Kevin Smith for a gain of 2. On the next play he got the chance to make something happen. Stanton faked a handoff, rolled out to the right side, and hit an open John Owens in the end zone for a touchdown. Suddenly the Lions led 7-3, and there was some hope that they could pull off the upset.
- We all were in for a reality check pretty quickly, as the Jaguars' offense was about to be unleashed. Following the Stanton TD pass, Jacksonville got the ball back and went down the field both on the ground and in the air. A 29-yard pass to Marcedes Lewis was the longest play of the drive and set up Maurice Jones-Drew to score from 6 yards out, giving Jacksonville the lead once again.
- The Lions went back to their old ways on offense and had to punt after failing to pick up a single first down.
- The Jaguars took advantage and again went down the field thanks to both passing and running. Fred Taylor had a few solid runs, and just like the previous drive, Jones-Drew came in to score a TD. This time he ran into the end zone from a yard out to give the Jags a 17-7 lead.
- The Lions' offense did start to move the ball again on its next drive, but things stalled, and Jason Hanson had to come in to kick a field goal from 33 yards out. This really was the turning point in the game. A successful field goal would have gotten the Lions within a touchdown, but Hanson's kick was blocked. Reggie Nelson picked up the blocked kick and returned it 34 yards to put the Jags near midfield.
- David Garrard quickly put Jacksonville in position to score yet again with three completions that totaled 54 yards. Jones-Drew then ran for 7 and 8 yards, and the second carry was for his third touchdown of the game.
- At the half, the Jaguars led 24-7.
- Saying that the third quarter was all Jacksonville would be an enormous understatement. The Jags got the ball to start the second half and slowly went down the field. Eventually they ended up scoring on a 7-yard pass from Garrard to Jerry Porter, capping off a 15-play drive that took 9:20 off the clock.
- The Lions quickly went three and out, and it was the defense's turn to go back on the field.
- Jacksonville used up the rest of the third quarter and moved all the way down to the 10-yard line, where they would face 3rd and 6 as the fourth quarter got underway.
- David Garrard completed a pass to Troy Williamson for a touchdown to put the Jags on top 38-7. Williamson simply ran by Travis Fisher to make the easy catch. The TD capped off a 4:18 drive that contributed to a scary difference in time of possession during the third quarter. The Lions had the ball for only 1:26 in the third, so you can imagine that the defense was thankful to get off the field, even though it meant that they gave up another TD.
- Drew Stanton took over for Daunte Culpepper and led the Lions to a three and out. He was sacked on both second and third down thanks to terrible protection by the offensive line.
- Jacksonville put in Cleo Lemon to finish the game since there was no point to risk an injury to David Garrard. Just like Stanton, he led the Jags to a three and out.
- On Stanton's second real drive of the game, he made quite a few plays to eventually get the Lions into the end zone for the second time of this game. Stanton completed an 11-yard pass to Shaun McDonald, and then he found Calvin Johnson downfield for a gain of 41. Four plays later it was 4th and 12 for the Lions, and Stanton hit Brandon Middleton for a gain of 23 to keep the drive alive. Kevin Smith ran the ball on the next four plays, and the fourth carry in this sequence was for a touchdown from a yard out.
- Now trailing 38-14, the Lions attempted an onside kick to hopefully get the offense more reps. The Lions recovered the onside kick (the first time they did so since 2000), as Calvin Johnson fell on it.
- The Lions did manage to get down to the Jacksonville 18-yard line after the onside recovery, but everything quickly fell apart for Detroit. Drew Stanton actually scrambled down to the 1 and looked like he had put the Lions in position to score. However, a Rudi Johnson holding penalty backed the Lions up 10 yards, and that was all she wrote for this drive. Stanton got sacked for a loss of 11 and 3 yards on the next two plays, and on 4th and 34 he found Michael Gaines for only 13 yards.
- The Jaguars got the ball back and ran the final three or so minutes off the clock to make the 38-14 victory official.
All in all, this was just a pathetic effort on both sides of the ball for the Lions. The offense did very little aside from two drives and kept the defense on the field for much of the game. That is always a bad thing for the Lions, as the defense played terrible throughout this game and gave up five consecutive scoring drives. On top of the poor play, I just got the feeling that the players and some of the coaches didn't seem to care that they were getting destroyed by Jacksonville. There seemed to be a scary lack of energy that ultimately translated to a blowout.
The Lions are now 0-9 and will look to get a win at Carolina next Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on FOX, and since this is a road game, Lions fans that live within 75 miles of Detroit will actually get to see it. As painful as it is to watch the Lions, I will not take it for granted since there are four more home games this season that will likely be blacked out. What's sadder than anything else is that there is a great chance that the Thanksgiving game against the undefeated Titans could be blacked out, which would put a damper on an annual tradition for many Lions fans.