DETROIT - One team appeared to be playing for its life. The other gave the impression it has been playing over its head.
Green Bay, coming off four straight losses, including a dismal performance at home last Monday night, scored the last 24 points of yesterday's game and dominated the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
The Packers' beleaguered quarterback, Brett Favre, threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-10 romp.
For Joey Harrington, the Lions' quarterback, it was one of those bad news-bad news days.
Harrington had just 12 completions for a mere 101 yards and threw a terrible, game-breaking interception that was returned for a touchdown. On the flip side, he was the Lions' leading rusher with 12 yards on four carries, which also is not particularly rosy news.
Detroit netted 33 yards rushing and after sack yardage was factored into Harrington's numbers, the difference in total offense was 434 yards for the visitors to 125 for a Lions team that came in with a 3-1 record.
"We just didn't execute," said offensive guard Damien Woody. "Not the coaches, not the offense, not the defense."
That takes care of about everybody.
Well, maybe not.
"I told Eddie Drummond he was the only bright spot for us today," said cornerback Dre' Bly, who returned after missing three games to a knee injury. "Unfortunately, we couldn't feed off his energy."
Drummond produced 230 yards in kickoff and punt returns, but the Lions' offense couldn't keep pace.
"That was the most frustrating thing, the field position we had," Woody said. "We got so little production on first and second downs, and third-and-long is about the toughest thing there is in the NFL."
It's either that or Favre when he's at the top of his game.
"I thought Brett played a [heck] of a ballgame," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "I thought the line and receivers stepped up as well. The key component was Brett hanging onto the football. Last week we didn't do that. Today, we did it quite well. We ended up plus-one in turnovers, and [Darren] Sharper's interception was the turning point in the game."
The Packers led just 17-10 when Harrington tried to squeeze a pass to Tai Streets between about three defenders. Sharper sniffed it out, cut in front of Streets and produced a rather acrobatic, 35-yard return for a 24-10 lead.
"[Green Bay] had an interception that changed the momentum and we didn't do anything like that," Bly said of the Lions' defense.
"It's hard to win when you don't create turnovers or make sacks."
Drummond followed Sharper's score with a 58-yard kickoff return, but the Lions' offense dozed again, failing to convert on fourth down from the Green Bay 37. Favre responded with an 11-play drive that put it out of reach at 31-10 after Najeh Davenport scored from 13 yards out.
Lions coach Steve Mariucci, whose team lost a second straight home game rather decisively (Philadelphia, 30-13, on Sept. 26) was asked if this game was a missed opportunity against a struggling opponent.
"I suppose, but only if you look at the records," he said. "When you look at the team we played against today, they were pretty darn good. We weren't very good. We were looking forward to being 4-1 if that was possible, but it wasn't going to happen today. We were simply beaten."
The Lions turned their second possession into a 67-yard touchdown drive, with running back Artose Pinner converting a screen pass into 26 yards and Az Hakim catching a 28-yard pass from Harrington for the score. On the play before the touchdown, Harrington hit Hakim for a seven-yard gain on third-and-four.
It would be the Lions' only third-down conversion of the game. They were 1-of-11.
"We did not play well," Harrington said. "We didn't run the ball well. I didn't throw the ball accurately. I was upset that we had a shot to make some plays and that I missed on some balls."
The one guy who could hold his head high insisted it was a team loss for the Lions, who now hit the road for back-to-back games against the Giants and Cowboys.
"A lot of people are probably angry at their performance," Drummond said. "But we know we're better than this. Basically, we just throw this game away and move on. I mean, that wasn't us out there playing today."
Contact Dave Hackenberg at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6398.42.33168 -83.04792