The Detroit Lions have been here before; 0-7 isn’t a huge stretch for a team that’s experiencing its eighth consecutive losing season and that has won only one playoff game in 56 years. But it is a huge comedown for a team that started 6-2 last year.
The Detroit Lions have been here before; 0-7 isn’t a huge stretch for a team that’s experiencing its eighth consecutive losing season and that has won only one playoff game in 56 years.
But it is a huge comedown for a team that started 6-2 last year.
That now seems a lifetime ago. The Lions come to Soldier Field Sunday to play the Chicago Bears (4-3) having lost 13 of their last 14 games.
“Last year is last year; 0-7, no matter if we had won the Super Bowl last year, would still be tough to swallow,” quarterback Dan Orlovsky said in a conference call. “We had much different expectations than where we’re sitting right now.
“It’s tough to swallow, but at the same time there is a lot of season left. We know it’s a long shot, but we’re focused on getting better, trying to get win No. 1 and taking steps to try to get No. 2.”
The Lions talk about winning once, twice and then going from there. The national media talks about their chances to be the first team in the history of the NFL’s 16-game schedule to go winless.
“We know the schedule we have ahead of us, so, yeah, it’s difficult not to hear it,” Orlovsky said.
But he says the Lions aren’t listening.
“I’d be lying if I told you a losing streak doesn’t weigh on your mind, but it’s a matter of getting up every day and fighting that,” Orlovsky said. “Our guys have done a good job of that.”
Third-year coach Rod Marinelli, wildly speculated to be the next coach fired, makes the Lions sound heroic, not Quixotic, in their quest to win.
“It’s a tremendous challenge. It’s fun,” Marinelli said. “We’ve got great players here. In terms of attitude, it’s unbelievable. I wish you could feel the spirit and energy here. It’s awesome.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been as challenged and as excited about every week that starts. It’s a bunch of guys who are just alive and wanting to get better. I don’t know if I’ve been more proud of a group of men that I’ve been around. These guys work every day. We just have to do things a little better.”
They needed to do things a lot better then when Chicago drilled the Lions 34-7 in Detroit five weeks ago. And that may not have even been Detroit’s lowest point.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of low points,” Orlovsky said.
That marked the fourth game in a row Detroit trailed by at least 21 points in the first half. Since then, the Lions traded star receiver Roy Williams, replaced veteran quarterback Jon Kitna with Orlovsky, a fourth-year, fifth-round pick out of Connecticut and played respectably in losses to Minnesota (12-10), Houston (28-21) and Washington (25-17).
“That says a lot about their team,” Bears coach Lovie Smiths said.
“Just by looking at their record, people may think they are playing bad, but they are actually playing good,” Bears running back Matt Forte said.
Well, playing better anyway.
But they’ll have to play much better to reverse course against the Bears, who handed them their most lopsided loss of the season in October.
“It was a low point, sure,” Orlovsky said, “but we have a chance to make up for it. That’s all we can ask for.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.