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Published: Monday, 10/20/2003

QB play concerns Lions

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DETROIT - Joey Harrington experienced at least his worst half of football playing in the NFL yesterday against Dallas.

Detroit's starting quarterback threw two interceptions while completing only five of 13 passes for 30 yards before he was yanked from the game during the second quarter by Detroit coach Steve Mariucci.

Obviously, watching the former first-round draft pick struggle early against the Cowboys was no laughing matter as the Lions suffered a humiliating 38-7 defeat.

Yet, the Lions' first-year coach found humor when asked to respond to Harrington's 7.1 QB rating for the game.

“On the Richter scale that's a big earthquake,” Mariucci said.

Nonetheless, Harrington's play has opened up concerns about the status of the Lions' QB position. Mariucci expressed thoughts that could lead to a quarterback change down the road.

However, backup Mike McMahon didn't do much while in the game to sway a quarterback change in his favor. He completed five of 20 passes for 51 yards while throwing an interception and fumbling once. His QB rating was only 18.8.

“We need to see which direction we want to go,” Mariucci said. “I talked to both of them. I told Joey we needed to give him a break and let Mike play.

“I owe it to the football team to think about it [quarterback situation] and I'm going to take everything into consideration.”

Harrington made it clear who he thinks deserves to start in the Lions' next game at Chicago on Sunday.

“I do,” Harrington said. “Whether Coach does, we will wait and see. I'm prepared just like I always have been. I'm going to be in there every single day and watching film and know the game plan from top to bottom just like every other week.”

BLY IN STRIDE: Dre' Bly didn't initiate what led to Detroit's first score of the game.

However, the Lions defensive back was in close enough proximity to scoop up a Troy Hambrick fumble caused by safety Corey Harris and raced down the Lions' sideline for a 67-yard touchdown return. The fumble recovery and return by Bly gave Detroit a 7-0 lead with 8:23 to play in the first quarter.

It was Bly's second return of a turnover for a touchdown this season. Yet, it wouldn't figure in on a Lions' win.

“We're very capable of winning, but today was just a bad day,” Bly said.

“Normally when you score defensively early in the game, you try to build off of that, but that was something we weren't able to do today.

“It was very frustrating and it was tough.”

Bly became the first Lion to return two turnovers for touchdowns since Terry Fair returned a fumble and an interception for touchdowns during the 1999 season.

REPLAY, REPLAY: Replays on the high-definition screens hanging inside Ford Field showed Terry Glenn's left foot straddling the white line at the back of the end zone on what was ruled a 20-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.

At least Mariucci and a large percentage of the crowd on hand for the game thought so based upon their response following the replay official's ruling that Quincy Carter's strike to Glenn would stand and tied the score at 7.

Mariucci's decision to protest the initial call made on the field by game officials resulted in the Lions losing a timeout. But it really didn't matter as the Cowboys would go on to score 31 more unanswered points and Glenn would end up with three touchdown catches for the first multiple-touchdown-receptions game of his career.



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