Detroit Lions Lose to Finish 0-16
Monday, December 29, 2008
GREEN BAY, Wis., Dec. 28 -- The Detroit Lions own a distinction no team wants: worst in NFL history.
Facing one last chance to avoid their dubious destiny, the Lions lost Sunday's season finale to the Green Bay Packers, 31-21, to complete the league's first 0-16 season. The 1976 expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14) were the last NFL team to complete a season without a victory.
It didn't come without a fight. After the Lions fell behind 24-14 midway through the fourth quarter, Kevin Smith's nine-yard touchdown run put Detroit back within a field goal.
But Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers responded with a 71-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver and the Lions' Dan Orlovsky threw an interception on fourth and 27 with three minutes left, dooming Detroit to futility of historic proportion.
"No competitor wants to go through something like this," said Lions Coach Rod Marinelli, who declined to discuss his future with the team. "This is not fun to go through, obviously. But there's people going through a lot worse than this."
The Lions were building toward this for years and now have lost 23 of their last 24 games. The 0-16 record will be a lasting testimony to the Matt Millen era. With Millen as president of the team from 2001 until he was fired on Sept. 24, Detroit won only 31 games -- none this year, of course.
"It can't do anything but motivate you," Orlovsky said. "I don't ever want to be a part of this again. We haven't won since, November of '07, maybe? I don't even know the last time we won a game."
The Lions haven't won since Dec. 23, 2007, when they beat Kansas City. Green Bay is where this woeful streak began at the end of last season. Since then, the Lions have lost 17 straight and have been outscored 551-281.
Marinelli has gone 10-38 in three seasons. His future has not been announced, but team owner William Clay Ford has decided the leaders of the front office, Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand, will be back in some capacity.
"I am positive that every aspect of what we do as a football team has to be rethought and analyzed," place kicker Jason Hanson said.
Orlovsky was 22 of 42 for 225 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Lions.
Rodgers was 21 of 31 for 308 yards and three touchdowns for the Packers (6-10), and Ryan Grant and DeShawn Wynn rushed for 106 yards each.