The Lions are always finding new ways to lose, and after their performance on Sunday against the Packers, I'd say they're going to have to add that game to the ever-growing list. Why? Well, for the second consecutive week, the Lions got down 21-0. That is when the light bulb turned on and they realized that it's time to start playing football. Detroit eventually made their way back from the three-touchdown deficit and actually took the lead thanks to a pair of Calvin Johnson touchdowns and a safety.
With everything -- and I mean everything -- going in Detroit's favor, you had to imagine it was too good to be true, right? If your answer to that question is "yes," then you are a smart person. Soon after the Lions took a 25-24 lead the implosion began. After a field goal put Green Bay back on top, Jon Kitna threw an interception on three straight drives. One led to a TD run by Brandon Jackson and the other two were actually returned for touchdowns. The meltdown of epic proportions allowed Green Bay to turn this game into a rout and they went on to win 48-25.
As already mentioned, the Lions were down 21-0 at one point in this game. That was thanks to a very good and consistent Packers offense (sans the opening drive) and a pathetic Lions offense. Green Bay did open the game by going three and out, but after the Lions punted the ball right back to them it was on. Aaron Rodgers had no trouble finding various open receivers and moved the ball down the field effectively. The Packers barely ran the ball on this drive as it just wasn't necessary. Rodgers had many targets to throw at and the Lions couldn't cover any of them, which is what led to a 9-yard TD pass to James Jones.
The scoring drive for Green Bay went 15 plays and took more than eight minutes off the clock. Their next drive, which followed another Lions punt, would result in another touchdown, but this time it took just under three minutes to score. The drive didn't take very long mainly because Aaron Rodgers hit a wide open Greg Jennings for a gain of 62 yards on the very first play. Jennings made a little move and Brian Kelly tripped over his own feet and fell face first into the ground. That left Jennings wide open for the easy catch, and after the catch was made he broke a few tackles by dancing around.
Only four plays later Rodgers completed a 2-yard pass to Donald Driver for a touchdown, giving Green Bay a 14-0 lead. Detroit went three and out and the Packers again didn't take very long to score. Rodgers first hit Donald Lee for a gain of 26, and then a few plays later he found Jordy Nelson for a 29-yard touchdown. Nelson, just as Jennings did on the 62-yard reception, simply ran right by Brian Kelly and safety help from Daniel Bullocks arrived too late. The score put the Packers ahead 21-0 and the rout was officially on.
After trading punts, the Lions were finally able to get on the scoreboard. They didn't quickly score two touchdowns to get back in the game like last week, but they did drive down the field to set up a 38-yard field goal by Jason Hanson. That made the score 21-3 heading into halftime and left Lions fans upset and frustrated. Sadly, this was only the beginning.
The Lions opened the second half by again driving down the field before things stalled out. Jason Hanson kicked another field goal, this time from 49 yards out, to get the Lions within two possessions. He wasn't done yet, though. Aaron Rodgers was hit by Dewayne White and had the ball knocked loose as he wasn't protecting it very well. White quickly fell on the ball to give the Lions outstanding field position, although the offense wasn't able to do anything with it. I'll get to that in a second, but I first want to go back to the fumble.
On the play before the fumble Rodgers scrambled away to avoid a sack and tiptoed down the sidelines to amazingly get a first down. The play was challenged as it looked pretty clear that he stepped out, but the refs didn't see it that way and upheld the call. As Rasheed Wallace would say, ball don't lie as Rodgers fumbled to the Lions on the very next play.
Anyways, after the Lions took over they actually lost 5 yards and again called on Jason Hanson for points. Hanson again did his job as he nailed a 53-yarder, cutting the lead down to 12 points. The Packers offense would provide an answer with a Mason Crosby field goal from 25 yards out, though, quickly increasing the lead back to 15 points.
As the game headed into the fourth quarter after the teams again traded punts, none of us could have predicted what was about to take place. To put it simply, all hell was about to break lose. The Lions continued their comeback as the offense quickly moved the ball down the field and everything was turned upside down.
Kitna first hit Casey FitzSimmons for 16 yards, and then Roy Williams drew a 17-yard pass interference penalty. Shaun McDonald then picked up 7 yards before Calvin Johnson blew this game wide open. Kitna threw in Johnson's direction and Charles Woodson dove to break up the pass. Problem is he didn't break up anything, so once Calvin gained control of the ball after bobbling it he was gone. Johnson ran into the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown and dunked the ball over the crossbar. The touchdown made the score 24-16 and brought the Lions within one possession.
The Lions defense caused a three and out on the proceeding drive and one of the strangest plays I've ever seen happened on the punt attempt. The snap was a little high and the ball went right through the punter's hands. Since Green Bay was already punting out of their own end zone, the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety. Not only were the Lions now only behind by 6, but they also would get the ball back after a free kick.
Although the offense couldn't get any points immediately following the safety, they pinned the Packers deep in their own territory and after the defense held tough again, the Lions were about to blow the roof off Ford Field. The Lions got the ball back on the Green Bay side of the field following a punt that actually worked, and it was Megatron time again.
Kitna dropped back to pass and threw a short slant to Johnson. Calvin made the catch and took off. Three Packers defenders tried to tackle him but could barely get a finger on him as Johnson was off to the races. He ran by everyone and into the end zone for another touchdown, this time from 47 yards out. The celebration was another dunk over the crossbar and the scoreboard now showed the Lions leading 25-24 after Hanson converted the PAT.
At this point Lions fans were in shock over what they just saw. The Lions not only came back from a 21-0 deficit, but they took the lead thanks to a pair of amazing touchdowns by Calvin Johnson. In the back of all our minds, however, was the thought that they could still screw this up, and boy did they ever screw this up.
The first bad thing to happen to the Lions was a 60-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings. Jennings caught the pass over the middle of the field and had lots of room to run thanks to a missed tackle by Dwight Smith. Daniel Bullocks eventually did catch him to make the tackle, but only after Jennings added another 60-yard catch. The Lions defense was able to hold the Packers to only a field goal, but that was still good enough to give Green Bay a 27-25 lead.
Even though the Lions were now trailing, there was still over five minutes left in this game. That's more than enough time to get in field goal range, right? Yes, but apparently it's also enough time to score three freaking touchdowns because that's exactly what the Packers did in the next three or so minutes.
Jon Kitna started the epic implosion by first getting picked off by Charles Woodson. He really underthrew Calvin Johnson and gave Woodson the somewhat easy interception. The pick eventually led to a 19-yard Brandon Jackson touchdown run that came on 3rd and 1 and gave the Packers a 34-25 lead. Although the situation looked bleak, there were still three and a half minutes remaining. That's enough time to score a touchdown and a field goal. However, that wouldn't be a concern for the Lions after Kitna completely sucked any of the air left out of Ford Field.
Two plays into the Lions' next drive, Kitna helped Green Bay put the nail in Detroit's coffin by completely telegraphing a pass intended for Mike Furrey. Charles Woodson read it all the way and intercepted his second pass of the game. Since it was such a clean pick, Woodson had nothing by turf in front of him and was able to run into the end zone untouched for the 41-yard touchdown.
With the game looking to be over already, Kitna put the icing on the Packers' cake on the following drive. This time four plays in he threw another terrible pass that was picked off by Nick Collins and returned 42 yards for a touchdown. Kitna not only displayed a pathetic playing ability, but an even worse attitude. He didn't chew out any coaches or anything like we saw last week, but this was actually a little worse in my opinion. Before Collins even got into the end zone Kitna was already walking off the field without his helmet on. I don't care what the score is; you don't ever quit on a play and walk off the field, especially when it's your mistake.
The third interception in three drives and the second returned for a touchdown gave the Packers a 48-25 lead. That is what the final score would end up being after Dan Orlovsky replaced Kitna and went four and out. Why Detroit went for it instead of simply punting it away is beyond me considering the game was out of reach. They did go for it, though, and were shut down. The Packers came back out and kneeled twice to run out the clock and put an end to the worst five minutes of football I've ever seen.
This is probably one of the toughest losses I've ever seen as a Lions fan. That's saying an awfully lot considering how many times this team has ripped our hearts out, but I've never seen a collapse happen like this. Detroit went from being down 21-0 to taking a 25-24 lead. The crowd was pumped up and fans everywhere were shocked and excited. Well, that feeling didn't last long as the Packers quickly regained the lead with a field goal. Kitna then proceeded to throw three interceptions to put together the most up and down fourth quarter performance I've ever seen.
The Lions are now 0-2 and head to San Francisco next week. Not only did the 49ers beat Seattle on Sunday, but this will be Mike Martz's first game coaching against his former team. If you don't think he's licking his chops then you're crazy as he's going to try to stick it to the Lions every chance he gets. It's not exactly like the break up between Martz and the Lions went smoothly as Martz was called out in the press by a few players. He returned the favor, though, by saying degrading things about the Lions. At the time it seemed like sour grapes, but he may have been on to something.
Kickoff for the 49ers game is 4:05 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast on FOX. All I can say is that the fans that haven't jumped off the bandwagon already are about one more bad game away from doing so. I would be one loss away from joining them if I didn't have to maintain this blog, but either way, I have never seen such anger out of Lions fans this early in a season before. I would say it's a combination of the fact that this team was expected to be better and the mindset that this is simply getting old that is contributing to a pissed off fan base that is only going to get angrier with every loss. I'll try to keep it civil, but like many of you, there's only so much I can take.