Shortly after Casey FitzSimmons scored Detroit's only touchdown Sunday, he attempted to execute the fashionable "jump-and-bump" celebration with teammate Sean McHugh. The midair collision, instead of seeing the 260-pounders fly high and touch down lightly, sent McHugh crashing to the Metrodome turf, back first.
That lack of coordination was typical of the Lions' day in a 42-10 loss to the Vikings.
Coach Rod Marinelli attempted to take all the blame for Detroit's four-game losing streak ("It's 100 percent on me," he said), but quarterback Jon Kitna basically accused his teammates of just going through the motions.
"The boat's not very full," Kitna said, causing a rash of questions from the Michigan media as to his exact meaning. He followed with some equally confusing clichés ("This is a man's game, and it's all about being a man," for instance).
It all was in marked contrast to Kitna's giddiness after the second game of the season, when he quickly recovered from a concussion to lead the Lions to a 20-17 overtime victory over the visiting Vikings that he credited to divine intervention.
That intervention has been absent in four consecutive losses, during which the Lions have given up 126 points. Their 6-2 start has dissolved into a .500 record, with Dallas, San Diego and Green Bay still on the schedule.
"Our schedule will never be favorable no matter who's on the schedule if we play like we played today," said Kitna, who over the summer predicted the Lions would win at least 10 games in 2007, despite their average of four victories per season from 2001 to '06.
The Lions did not intend to test the Vikings run defense Sunday. They ran only three times in their first 42 plays, gaining 1 yard in the process, and finished with 23 yards on seven attempts.
Kitna completed 27 of 36 passes for 260 yards, had a tipped pass picked off by Kenechi Udeze and threw a 1-yard scoring pass to FitzSimmons. Pro Bowl receiver Roy Williams had five catches for 85 yards in the first half, but he injured his right knee before halftime. He tried to come back in the second half but was in for only one play.
The problem was Detroit's defense. The Vikings rolled up 216 rushing yards, passed for 231 more and, ahead by 32 in the third quarter, used a trick play in field-goal formation to get a 27-yard completion from holder Chris Kluwe to blocking back Jeff Dugan. On the same series, the Vikings also tried a halfback pass that would have resulted in a touchdown from Chester Taylor to Visanthe Shiancoe, but Shiancoe dropped the pass.
Kitna seemed as though he was bracing for more of the same in the Lions' final four games.
"There's an easy way out and a hard way out, and we have to choose the hard way out if we want to do it, but we have to choose it with all 52 guys," Kitna said. "We can't have some and not the others."