by | Dec 8, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

And the bleak goes on.

This one ended with Daunte Culpepper running off the field, holding his shoulder, unable to even throw the ball, and Drew Henson, the last healthy quarterback, running in – Henson, a guy with one NFL completion in the past four years – and he yanked on his helmet as he dashed into the confused huddle with hopes of chucking a bomb that might win the Lions’ first game.

One second left. Henson took the snap …

And got sacked.

The bleak goes on. The stench is getting worse. The corpse of this season is rotting in ways unimagined even a month ago. The Lions’ last best chance at winning a single game may have come and gone Sunday afternoon, a day when they left more points unscored than a father who lets his 6-year-old beat him at basketball.

Three times the Lions needed only a yard to keep a drive alive. Three times they failed to get that yard.

Three times they got within 6 yards of the Vikings’ end zone. Twice they failed to score a touchdown.

And every time they really needed to stop Minnesota and Adrian Peterson, they flopped.

Oh. And here’s the headline we buried.

This is now, as of this moment, the worst Lions’ team ever.

Which is like being the smelliest fish. Who says you can’t lose ’em all?

No Lions team in the sad and sorry history of this franchise ever has lost its first 13 games. The previous worst got a victory after 12.

That means Rod Marinelli’s guys are alone in their march to history. Three games left. Two on the road, including next week against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Who’s excited? Let’s see a show of hands.

And don’t be surprised if these Lions really do it, if they lose them all and become the worst team in NFL history. Because when you calculate how hard it is to lose ALL your games in the NFL, you throw in the fact that at least once, you’re gonna catch a team on a bad day, a day of turnovers, penalties and lackluster effort.

Guess what Sunday was? Sunday was that day for the Vikings. Here are all the things the men in purple offered up: four penalties in the first quarter, two interceptions in the first half, and their starting quarterback out with an injury.

And what did the Lions do with those gifts? Broke them in pieces. They kicked field goals when they needed touchdowns. They took costly penalties. They blew two fourth-and-1 plays.

Two fourth-and-1’s?

“Do you feel like you missed a golden chance?” someone asked Culpepper, who failed to pick up a yard – or even an inch – on a sneak.

“Definitely … definitely feel like we didn’t capitalize on an opportunity. But that’s football.”

No. That’s Lions football. Football sees wins and losses. Football sees bad and good. Football sees teams celebrating as well as commiserating. All we see around here is the latter.

The worst Lions team ever?

Like being the ugliest of the Huns. A game of inches and feats

By the way, Ford Field was like a morgue with an occasional horn blast. Fans don’t even bother to boo much anymore. They seem resigned to defeat, at least those who bother to show up. You could have had your pick of sections Sunday as the Lions lost, 20-16.

And yet this Lions team struggles forward, tilting into the wind, lame ducks on the coaching staff, future roster cuts wearing uniforms. You feel sorry for them. And yet it’s torture to watch them. Like watching Charlie Brown run to kick Lucy’s football. I mean, when a 270-pound quarterback can’t pick up an inch on a sneak, it’s painful.

And the bleak goes on. Three games left. The worst Lions team ever. It’s hard to know which blemish these guys should be more ashamed of – setting the mark in the NFL books, or in the Detroit ones.

Every team has a game they are ready to give away; the Vikes were generous Sunday. The Lions refused to accept. When Marinelli was asked if his team had blown its best chance, he shook his head quickly,

“Oh, no,” he said. “I’m looking forward to next week.”

That makes one of us.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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