Lions tie NFL record, blowing 3 big leads in a row
- Article by: LARRY LAGE
- Associated Press
- December 11, 2012 - 7:09 AM
ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Detroit Lions have tied an NFL record and they're not proud of it.
Detroit blew a 10-point lead in their third straight game to match a dubious league mark in a 27-20 loss Sunday night at Green Bay.
"We have to be accountable and find a way to get over this," Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "We are the best three-quarter team in the league."
The 2011 Minnesota Vikings, 1999 New Orleans Saints, 1991 Cleveland Browns, 1980 St. Louis Cardinals, 1952 Washington Redskins and the 1947 Green Bay Packers are the other teams in NFL history that have lost three in a row after leading by at least 10 points in each game, according to STATS LLC.
The Lions (4-9) have dropped five straight games overall — by an average of 5.2 points — to guarantee a losing record this season after winning 10 games and ending an 11-year postseason drought a year ago.
"It's very difficult to lose in professional sports, in any kind of sport. It's even more difficult, I think, when the games are so close," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said Monday. "Sometimes if you get blown out, you can sort of put it off your radar pretty quickly."
Detroit's next opponent is coming off quite a blowout. The Arizona Cardinals (4-9) got beat 58-0 by Seattle, one point short of the NFL mark for the most lopsided shutout and their most one-sided loss in franchise history. It was Arizona's ninth straight setback after a 4-0 start.
Arizona seems to be the perfect team to give the Lions a chance to snap their skid.
Schwartz said he doesn't see it that way.
"We've lost five games in a row, so we're worried about ourselves not our opponents," he said. "It's more about us and ending our losing streak than anything that's happened to them or anything that they're going through right now. Nobody feels sorry for anybody in the NFL, I'm just telling you."
If they did, Lions kicker Jason Hanson would get some sympathy.
The 42-year-old Hanson, perhaps one of the nicest players in the league, was drafted by Detroit in 1992, not long after their last win in Wisconsin against the Packers.
Since Dec. 15, 1991 — when Eddie Murray was kicking for the Lions — Green Bay has won an NFL-record 21 straight home games in the regular season against Detroit and 22 in a row, including a 1994 victory in the playoffs.
"It is just sad," Hanson said after Sunday's loss in Green Bay. "It is not fun to talk about. For a lot of years we didn't win, we weren't good and you can't come in here and win. But there were years where we were pretty good, and we still couldn't win up here. It is just a terrible streak. I wish we could have ended it."
The Lions looked as if they had a shot Sunday night.
Matthew Stafford ran for a score and threw for another to give Detroit a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Stafford, though, couldn't stop the football from slipping out of his right hand on a pivotal play and Mike Daniels recovered the fumble and returned it 43 yards to pull the Packers within four points with 6:15 left in the half.
After the strong start, Detroit drove into Green Bay territory six times and had just two field goals from Hanson to show for it.
The Packers took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter and held off the Lions, who lost their previous double-digit leads late in home games against the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.
Schwartz refused to blame the latest loss on Stafford's fumble.
"Had a lot of critical plays in the game and there were plenty of opportunities to change it after that," Schwartz said. "But we didn't make any of those plays."
Notes: Schwartz said TE Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) and DT Nick Fairley (shoulder) were scheduled to have tests Monday to determine the extent of injuries they had in Sunday's game. ... Lions WR Calvin Johnson, who had 10 receptions for 118 yards at Green Bay, joined Marvin Harrison and Andre Johnson as the only players in NFL history with 1,500 yards receiving in consecutive seasons. Johnson has 1,546 yards receiving with three games left, putting him 303 yards away from breaking the NFL's single-season record set by Jerry Rice with San Francisco in 1995.
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