x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Winless Lions create NFL history

The Detroit Lions lose the season finale against the Green Bay Packers to become the first team in the NFL to complete an 0-16 season.

The Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (No 21) intercepts a pass during the Lions' defeat to Green Bay.
The Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (No 21) intercepts a pass during the Lions' defeat to Green Bay.

The Detroit Lions embattled head coach Rod Marinelli cut a disconsolate figure as his team created history by becoming the first in the NFL to complete an 0-16 season following a 31-21 defeat to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes for the Packers (6-10), who handed the feeble Lions their 23rd loss in the last 24 games. Detroit joined the 1976 Tampa Buccaneers, who went 0-14, as the only winless teams in the Super Bowl era and Marinelli found it difficult to mount a defence of his team. "I think the record speaks for itself," he said.

"We tried hard all year. I felt they gave it their best. I felt I gave it my best but sometimes your best isn't good enough and it wasn't good enough this year. "No competitor wants to go through something like this. We have nobody to point a finger at other than ourselves." The Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, one of the bright spots in a dismal season, was more scathing in his assessment. "It stinks, the first team to not win a game in a 16-game season," he said. "We can't do anything about it. We started off bad, had a couple of chances, but we let it get away. The season kind of slipped away." The kicker Jason Hanson added: "I feel bad for the fans of Detroit. It is a bad deal. Everyone here owns this. We just could not get it done. It is embarrassing. "Back home, what is everyone saying about you? We all feel bad but it is exactly what it is - 0-16."

The Lions did showed some backbone in their bid to avoid NFL ignominy, twice fighting back to enter the fourth quarter level at 14-14. But Rodgers threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of five yards to the fullback John Kuhn and 71 yards to Donald Driver to seal a face-saving win at the end of a disappointing campaign for the Packers. "We didn't want to lose, no we didn't," said Rodgers, who finished with 4,038 yards and 28 touchdowns in his first season as Brett Favre's successor in Green Bay. "But really it's not on your mind once the game starts." Detroit's final comeback bid ended when Dan Orlovsky was intercepted by Nick Collins with three minutes remaining, prompting the fans at Lambeau Field to taunt the Lions with chants of `0-and-16!` "I didn't even think about it until the fans started chanting in the fourth quarter," Rodgers added.

"Detroit played hard, they really did. They've been in a tough situation. I think Rod Marinelli's handled everything very classily through the whole season." Green Bay also rewrote the NFL record book, becoming the first team in league history to have two 100-yard rushers and two 100-yard receivers in the same game. Green Bay's Ryan Grant and DeShawn Wynn each ran for 106 yards, while Driver finished with 111 receiving yards and Greg Jennings 101 as they ended a five-game losing run. But the Packers' woes this season did not compare to those of the Lions, who have not won since December 23, 2007. Detroit was outscored 517-268 over the campaign and lost 10 games by double digits. *PA Sport