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Forget it, Lions still a lost cause

Don't blow a fuse. Don't raise your blood pressure. It's not worth it. This team is not worth it. The season is perfunctory. It's a different organ grinder, but the same old monkey.

Don't pop your cork. If you say this Lions defeat is a new low, next week there'll be a newer one. Lose to good teams. Lose worse to bad teams. Get sacked when you need a first down. Give up first downs when you need the ball. Throw four-yard passes when you need five. Fumble. Throw picks. Give stock answers about "turning things around." Fool no one. Scare no one. Win a few, but lose a few more.

And say goodbye to the playoffs by early November.

Sound familiar? So don't waste your breath. Whatever smoldering hope the Lions held for 2005 was squashed by the second quarter Sunday. Once Detroit fell behind 24-0 to the Vikings -- one of the lousier teams in this year's NFL -- the small picture was gone. And the big picture looked like a train wreck.

Let's talk about the opponent. This wasn't just a must-win game. It was a can't-lose game. What NFL team was a bigger mess than the Vikings? Only two wins all year? Missing their starting quarterback and only real star, Daunte Culpepper? The whole team hanging on a wall of shame for its alleged Love Boat escapade? How ripe could they be?

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Instead, the Lions once again made steak out of meatballs. The Vikings -- whose last four losses were by 25, 25, 20 and 29 points -- ran through Detroit's defense and ran over its offense. By the time the Lions finished their extreme Dome Makeover, the Bad Boy Vikings were wearing halos.

Mitch Albom

Detroit Free Press

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