2008 Detroit Lions season
|2008 Detroit Lions season|
|Head coach||Rod Marinelli|
|General manager||Matt Millen (fired during week 4 bye)
|Home field||Ford Field|
|Division place||4th NFC North|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
The 2008 Detroit Lions season was the 79th season for the franchise in the National Football League. Although the Lions had a flawless preseason with a 4–0 record, the Lions became the first team in NFL history to compile an 0–16 record in regular season play. They were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention after Week 11. Team president and CEO Matt Millen was fired on September 24, while head coach Rod Marinelli and most of his assistants were fired the day after the season ended. The season was also famous because only one game was decided in the final play (Week 6). This season has been framed as the Detroit Lions' worst season ever, and statistically the worst season ever in football.
To celebrate their 75th year playing as the Lions (they had been known as the Portsmouth Spartans their first four seasons), the Lions wore special throwback uniforms for two home games, a replica of the ones used in 1934, the first year as the Lions. The uniforms had blue jerseys with silver lettering, solid silver pants, blue socks, and solid silver helmets (as helmets were leather back then). This replaced their black alternate jersey used in the 2005–2007 seasons.
Notable roster losses and trades 
- RB Kevin Jones - Released on March 13 - signed with the Chicago Bears
- DE Kalimba Edwards - Released on March 13
- DT Shaun Rogers - Traded on February 29 to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for cornerback Leigh Bodden and a third-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
2008 Draft 
|1||17||Gosder Cherilus||Offensive Tackle||Boston College|
|3||64||Kevin Smith||Running Back||Central Florida|
|3||87||Andre Fluellen||Defensive Tackle||Florida State|
|5||136||Kenneth Moore, Jr.||Wide Receiver||Wake Forest|
|7||216||Landon Cohen||Defensive Tackle||Ohio|
*Due to new rules implemented that year regarding Military athletes by the U.S. Military Academy, Campbell was later ruled ineligible to play professionally until 2010, and instead had to serve in the Army until then.
|Week||Date||Kickoff||Opponent||Results||Game Site||TV||NFL Recap|
|Final score||Team record|
|1||August 7, 2008||7:00 PM EDT||New York Giants||W 13-10||1-0||Ford Field||Lions TV Network||Recap|
|2||August 17, 2008||7:30 PM EDT||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 27-10||2-0||Paul Brown Stadium||Lions TV Network||Recap|
|3||August 23, 2008||4:00 PM||Cleveland Browns||W 26-6||3-0||Ford Field||Lions TV Network||Recap|
|4||August 28, 2008||6:30 PM EDT||at Buffalo Bills||W 14-6||4-0||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Lions TV Network||Recap|
Because the Lions went undefeated in exhibition games, they were dubbed by the media as "The Pre-season Champions". T-shirts were made to reflect this.
Regular season 
|Week||Date||Kickoff||Opponent||Results||Game Site||TV||NFL Recap|
|Final score||Team record|
|1||September 7, 2008||1:00 PM EDT||at Atlanta Falcons||L 34-21||0-1||Georgia Dome||FOX||Recap|
|2||September 14, 2008||1:00 PM EDT||Green Bay Packers||L 48-25||0-2||Ford Field||FOX||Recap|
|3||September 21, 2008||4:05 PM EDT||at San Francisco 49ers||L 31-13||0-3||Candlestick Park||FOX||Recap|
|5||October 5, 2008||1:00 PM EDT||Chicago Bears||L 34-7||0-4||Ford Field||FOX||Recap|
|6||October 12, 2008||1:00 PM EDT||at Minnesota Vikings||L 12-10||0-5||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||FOX||Recap|
|7||October 19, 2008||4:05 PM EDT||at Houston Texans||L 28-21||0-6||Reliant Stadium||FOX||Recap|
|8||October 26, 2008||1:00 PM EDT||Washington Redskins||L 25-17||0-7||Ford Field||FOX x||Recap|
|9||November 2, 2008||1:00 PM EST||at Chicago Bears||L 27-23||0-8||Soldier Field||FOX||Recap|
|10||November 9, 2008||1:00 PM EST||Jacksonville Jaguars||L 38-14||0-9||Ford Field||CBS x||Recap|
|11||November 16, 2008||1:00 PM EST||at Carolina Panthers||L 31-22||0-10||Bank of America Stadium||FOX||Recap|
|12||November 23, 2008||1:00 PM EST||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 38-20||0-11||Ford Field||FOX x||Recap|
|13||November 27, 2008||12:30 PM EST||Tennessee Titans||L 47-10||0-12||Ford Field||CBS #||Recap|
|14||December 7, 2008||1:00 PM EST||Minnesota Vikings||L 20-16||0-13||Ford Field||FOX x||Recap|
|15||December 14, 2008||1:00 PM EST||at Indianapolis Colts||L 31-21||0-14||Lucas Oil Stadium||FOX||Recap|
|16||December 21, 2008||1:00 PM EST||New Orleans Saints||L 42-7||0-15||Ford Field||FOX x||Recap|
|17||December 28, 2008||1:00 PM EST||at Green Bay Packers||L 31-21||0-16||Lambeau Field||FOX||Recap|
COLOR KEY AND NOTES:
- x Indicates game was blacked out locally
- # Indicates the game was nationally televised
|y (3) Minnesota Vikings||10||6||0||.625||4–2||8–4||379||333||W1|
|Green Bay Packers||6||10||0||.375||4–2||5–7||419||380||W1|
Game recaps 
Week 1: at Atlanta Falcons 
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009)|
The Lions began their 2008 season at the Georgia Dome against the Atlanta Falcons. A pre-season poll on thespread.com said the Falcons (who finished 11-5 before losing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs), were less likely (dead last for that matter) to make the Super Bowl than the Lions. In the first quarter, Detroit trailed early as QB Matt Ryan completed a 62-yard TD pass to WR Michael Jenkins, while RB Michael Turner scored twice; in which he ran a 66-yard TD run and then a 5-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Lions would respond when rookie RB Kevin Smith scored on a 3-yard TD run, while QB Jon Kitna completed a 21-yard TD pass to WR Roy Williams. However, in the third quarter, Atlanta continued its dominant start when kicker Jason Elam kicked a 50-yard field goal, while RB Jerious Norwood scored on a 10-yard TD run. Detroit would reply when Kitna hooked up with TE Casey FitzSimmons on a 1-yard TD pass. However, the Falcons sealed the win in the fourth quarter when Elam nailed a 25-yard field goal.
Week 2: vs. Green Bay Packers 
Hoping to rebound from their road loss to the Falcons, the Lions played their Week 2 home opener against their NFC North foe, the Green Bay Packers. In the first quarter, Detroit trailed as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers completed a 9-yard TD pass to WR James Jones. In the second quarter, the Lions continued to trail as Rodgers completed a 2-yard TD pass to WR Donald Driver and a 29-yard TD pass to WR Jordy Nelson. Detroit would close out the first half when kicker Jason Hanson nailed a 38-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Lions continued to hack away at Green Bay's lead with Hanson kicking a 49-yard and a 53-yard field goal. The Packers responded when kicker Mason Crosby nailed a 25-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Detroit clawed away at the Pack's lead when QB Jon Kitna completed a 38-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson. The Lions closed in as the snap to Packers punter Derrick Frost was high, causing it to go through the back of his end zone, giving Detroit a safety. The Lions would take the lead on Kitna's 47-yard TD pass to Calvin Johnson. However, Green Bay rebounded with Crosby's 39-yard field goal, RB Brandon Jackson's 19-yard TD run, CB Charles Woodson's 41-yard interception return for a touchdown, and safety Nick Collins' 42-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Week 3: at San Francisco 49ers 
Trying to snap a two-game skid, went to Candlestick Park in San Francisco for a Week 3 duel with the 49ers. In the first quarter, Detroit trailed early as 49ers (and former Lions) QB J.T. O'Sullivan completed a 6-yard TD pass to WR Isaac Bruce. In the second quarter, San Francisco increased its lead when RB Frank Gore scored on a 4-yard TD run. The Lions would get on the board when kicker Jason Hanson hit a 44-yard field goal. The 49ers closed out the half when O'Sullivan completed a 24-yard TD pass to TE Delanie Walker.
In the third quarter, Detroit tried to rally as Hanson kicked a 51-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, San Francisco increased its lead when CB Allen Rossum scored on a 1-yard TD run. The Lions tried to come back as QB Jon Kitna completed a 34-yard TD pass to RB Rudi Johnson, yet the 49ers pulled away when kicker Joe Nedney nailed a 25-yard field goal.
Week 4: Bye week - Millen fired 
Week 5: vs. Chicago Bears 
Coming off their bye week, the Lions played a Week 5 Black and Blue Division duel at home with the Chicago Bears. In the first quarter, Detroit trailed early as Bears kicker Robbie Gould got a 37-yard field goal. In the second quarter, the Lions continued to trail as QB Kyle Orton completed a 9-yard TD pass to RB Matt Forté and a 12-yard TD pass to WR/KR Devin Hester. In the third quarter, Chicago continued its domination as Forté got a 1-yard TD run, and CB Charles Tillman returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, Detroit got its only score of the game as rookie RB Kevin Smith scored on a 12-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, the Bears sealed the win when Gould nailed a 45-yard field goal.
Week 6: at Minnesota Vikings 
The Lions traveled to Minneapolis in week 6 to take on the Minnesota Vikings. In the first quarter, Detroit's misery continued as Orlovsky unintentionally ran out of the back of his endzone, giving the Vikings a safety. In the second quarter, the Lions got the lead as kicker Jason Hanson got a 40-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Detroit increased its lead as Orlovsky completed a 12-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson. However, Minnesota answered when QB Gus Frerotte completed an 86-yard TD pass to WR Bernard Berrian. In the fourth quarter, the Vikings sealed the win when kicker Ryan Longwell nailed the game-winning 26-yard field goal.
Dan Orlovsky's run out of the end zone for a safety topped the list of ESPN's Not Top 10 of 2008.
Roster moves 
On October 14, The Lions traded wide receiver Roy Williams to the Dallas Cowboys for three picks in the 2009 NFL Draft. The same day, quarterback Jon Kitna was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season, due to chronic back pain. Dan Orlovsky took over his place.
Week 7: at Houston Texans 
In week 7, the Lions flew down to Houston, Texas for an interconference duel with the Houston Texans. In the first quarter, Detroit's slow starts continued as Texans QB Matt Schaub completed a 2-yard TD pass to TE Owen Daniels, along with RB Ahman Green getting a 1-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Houston increased their lead as RB Steve Slaton got a 1-yard TD run. The Lions responded when kicker Jason Hanson completed a 54-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, Detroit began to catch up as rookie RB Kevin Smith got a 26-yard TD run, yet the Texans answered with Schaub completing a 1-yard TD pass to Daniels. In the fourth quarter, the Lions tried to come back as QB Dan Orlovsky completed a 96-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson, along with Hanson nailing a 54-yard field goal. However, Houston's defense prevented any comeback from happening.
Week 8: vs. Washington Redskins 
The Lions went home for a Week 8 duel with the Washington Redskins. This was the first ever regular season game at Ford Field that had failed to sell out by the 72-hour deadline and was, therefore, subject to local television blackout.
In the first quarter, Detroit trailed early as Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham got a 25-yard field goal. In what would be the first time in the season the Lions scored during the first quarter, RB Rudi Johnson got an 11-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Detroit increased its lead as kicker Jason Hanson got a 43-yard field goal. Washington closed out the half with Suisham getting a 47-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Redskins regained the lead as Suisham made a 45-yard field goal, along with QB Jason Campbell completing a 50-yard TD pass to WR Santana Moss. In the fourth quarter, the Lions' struggles continued as Moss returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown. Detroit tried to rally as QB Dan Orlovsky completed a 17-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson. However, Washington closed out the game with Suisham nailing a 42-yard field goal.
Signing of Daunte Culpepper 
Week 9: at Chicago Bears 
Still trying to get their first win of the season, the Lions traveled to Soldier Field for a Week 9 NFC North rematch with the Chicago Bears. In the first quarter, Detroit trailed early as Bears kicker Robbie Gould got a 36-yard field goal, along with QB Kyle Orton getting a 5-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Lions greatly responded with rookie RB Kevin Smith getting a 1-yard TD run (with a blocked PAT), along with QB Dan Orlovsky completing a 17-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson and a 14-yard TD pass to WR Shaun McDonald. Chicago would respond with Gould getting a 41-yard field goal, yet Detroit answered with kicker Jason Hanson getting a 52-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Bears began to rally as QB Rex Grossman (who took over for Orton after he left the game in the second quarter with a right foot sprain) completed a 6-yard TD pass to WR Rashied Davis. In the fourth quarter, Chicago completed their rally as Grossman got a 1-yard TD run. The Lions tried to rally, but the Bears' defense prevented any possible comeback from happening.
With their 9th straight road loss, not only did the Lions fall to 0-8, but they were swept by the Bears for the first time since 2006. Due to the Bengals' victory over the Jaguars, the Lions remained the only winless NFL team.
Week 10: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 
In week 10 the Lions went home, donned their throwback uniforms, and played an interconference game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the first quarter, Detroit trailed early as Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee got a 34-yard field goal. The Lions would respond as QB Drew Stanton made his NFL debut and completed a 1-yard TD pass to TE John Owens on his first NFL pass. In the second quarter, Jacksonville took a huge lead as RB Maurice Jones-Drew got a 6-yard, a 1-yard, and an 8-yard TD run.
In the third quarter, Detroit's misery continued as Jaguars QB David Garrard completed a 7-yard TD pass to WR Jerry Porter. In the fourth quarter, Jacksonville pulled away as Garrard completed a 10-yard TD pass to WR Troy Williamson. The Lions would end the game when rookie RB Kevin Smith scored on a 1-yard TD run.
Week 11: at Carolina Panthers 
The still winless Lions next went to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina for a Week 11 duel with the Carolina Panthers. In the first quarter, Detroit struck first as QB Daunte Culpepper completed a 29-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson. In the second quarter, the Lions increased their lead when kicker Jason Hanson got a 40-yard field goal. The Panthers responded when QB Jake Delhomme completed a 15-yard TD pass to TE Jeff King. Detroit answered when Hanson completed a 56-yard field goal, yet Carolina took the lead as RB DeAngelo Williams scored a long 56-yard TD run. Later, Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart scored on a 22-yard TD run. The Lions closed out the half as Hanson completed a 27-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Panthers increased their lead when kicker John Kasay nailed a 29-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Detroit tried to come back as Culpepper got a 1-yard TD run (with a failed 2-point conversion due to a missed facemask call against Carolina), but Carolina pulled away as Williams scored on a 4-yard TD run.
Week 12: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
The Lions went home for a Week 12 duel with another NFC South team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the first quarter, Detroit struck first as QB Daunte Culpepper completed a 15-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson. The Lions continued their early success as safety Daniel Bullocks returned a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown, while kicker Jason Hanson got a 38-yard field goal.
Although the 17-0 early advantage was the largest lead the Lions would have all year, it didn't even last until halftime. In the second quarter, the Buccaneers' RB Warrick Dunn got a 13-yard TD run, while QB Jeff Garcia completed a 36-yard TD pass to WR Ike Hilliard and a 24-yard TD pass to TE Jerramy Stevens.
In the third quarter, Tampa Bay added onto their lead as RB Clifton Smith returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, along with CB Ronde Barber returning an interception 65 yards for a touchdown. Detroit scored when Hanson got a 40-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, only the Buccaneers scored when kicker Matt Bryant nailed a 48-yard field goal.
Week 13: vs. Tennessee Titans (Thanksgiving Classic) 
Later that week, the Lions stayed at home, donned their throwback uniforms again, and played their 69th Annual Thanksgiving Day game against the then 10-1 Tennessee Titans. It was the only nationally televised game of the regular season and the only one of the final six home games that wasn't blacked out, although the Lions needed a 24-hour extension to sell out Ford Field. In the first quarter, Detroit trailed early as Titans RB Chris Johnson got a 6-yard TD run. The Lions would respond with kicker Jason Hanson getting a 53-yard field goal. Tennessee would answer with Johnson getting a 58-yard TD run, along with DE Dave Ball returning an interception 15 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Detroit's misery continued as RB LenDale White got a 6-yard TD run and a 2-yard TD run. Detroit would end the half with QB Daunte Culpepper completing a 2-yard TD pass to TE Michael Gaines.
In the third quarter, the Titans continued to pull away as kicker Rob Bironas got a 49-yard and a 41-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Tennessee scored two more times when Bironas nailed a 45-yard and a 43-yard field goal.
Singer Jesse McCartney performed during halftime.
The 47 points were most points that Detroit had ever given up on Thanksgiving Day as they fell to 0-12. It also became the 2nd straight NFL season to have a team start out 0-12 after the Dolphins in 2007.
Week 14: vs. Minnesota Vikings 
Next, the Lions stayed at home for a Week 15 NFC North rematch with newly signed veteran quarterback Daunte Culpepper's former team the Minnesota Vikings. In the first quarter, Detroit was on the board first as kicker Jason Hanson got a 25-yard field goal. In the second quarter, the Lions increased their lead as Hanson got a 23-yard field goal. The Vikings would close out the half as kicker Ryan Longwell got a 35-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, Minnesota took the lead as RB Chester Taylor got a 17-yard TD run. Detroit would reply with former Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper completing a 70-yard TD pass to WR Calvin Johnson. However, Minnesota got the lead again as QB Tarvaris Jackson completed an 11-yard TD pass to TE Visanthe Shiancoe. In the fourth quarter, the Lions tried to rally as Hanson made a 39-yard field goal. However, the Vikings pulled away as Longwell nailed a 50-yard field goal.
Week 15: at Indianapolis Colts 
In the last interconference duel of the season, the Lions traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts struck first when Dominic Rhodes ran in a TD from 1 yard out midway through the first quarter. The Lions would respond a few minutes later with a 51 yard field goal by Jason Hanson. With just under 6 minutes left in the half, Chad Simpson of the Colts ran in a TD from 2 yards out. Calvin Johnson of the Lions responded a few minutes later by catching a 33 yard TD pass. The Colts struck back with just under a minute in the half, when Dallas Clark caught a 3 yard TD pass.
The only points for either team in the 3rd quarter was a Jason Hanson 30 yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Kevin Smith ran in a TD from 1 yard out. The Lions decided to go for the 2 point conversion to tie it up and were successful when Casey Fitzsimmons caught a pass and ran it in. The Colts responded with another Dominic Rhodes 1 yard TD run. They put it away with a 31 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.
With their 11th straight road loss, the Lions fell to 0-14 and 0-4 against AFC Opponents.
Week 16: vs New Orleans Saints 
For their last home game of the season, the Lions took on the New Orleans Saints. Detroit trailed early in the first quarter as Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem got a 20-yard touchdown run, along with running back Deuce McAllister getting a 2-yard touchdown run. The Lions would respond in the second quarter with rookie running back Kevin Smith getting a 1-yard touchdown run. However, New Orleans answered with running back Mike Bell getting a 1-yard touchdown run, along with running back Pierre Thomas getting a 2-yard touchdown run. The Saints would then close out the game's scoring in the third quarter quarterback Drew Brees completing a 6-yard and a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marques Colston.
With the loss, the Lions became the first team in NFL history to have a record of 0-15. They also became the first team to lose 15 straight in a single season since the 2001 Carolina Panthers, who won their first game, then lost the remaining 15 to go 1-15.
Week 17: at Green Bay Packers 
|Wikinews has related news: NFL: Packers defeat Lions 31–21, Lions become first team to finish season with 0-16 record|
For their last chance to avoid becoming the first 0-16 team in NFL history, the Lions traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin to take on division rivals the Green Bay Packers (whom Detroit had not beaten on the road since 1991). The Packers struck first midway through the first quarter when Deshawn Wynn ran in a career long 73 yard TD. They made it 14-0 when Jermichael Finley caught a 3 yard TD pass near the end of the first quarter. The Lions got on the board in the second quarter when Calvin Johnson caught a 9 yard TD pass. At the end of the half, Will Blackmon called a fair catch as time expired, allowing Mason Crosby to attempt a rare 69 yard field goal. Crosby kicked it accurately but it fell just a yard short with the wind blowing against him. Before the game, Crosby also attempted a 64 yard field goal. Calvin Johnson scored another TD to tie it up in the 3rd quarter when he caught a 14 yard pass. The Packers responded just after the start of the 4th quarter with a 36 yard Mason Crosby field goal, and later with a John Kuhn 5 yard TD catch. The Lions responded less than a minute later with a Kevin Smith 9 yard TD run. The Packers sealed the Lions' fate though with a 71 yard TD pass caught by Donald Driver.
With the loss, the Lions became only the second NFL team of the post-merger era to go winless without a tie in the regular season, and the first to go 0-16. (The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers also went winless, but that was when the regular season only had 14 games.) The Lions ended 2008 having lost 23 of their last 24 regular-season games, going back to the previous season. The Lions also finished 2008 with 17 consecutive regular season losses (the NFL record is 26 by the Buccaneers, who lost the next twelve games after their winless season).
After allowing 31 points to the Packers, it brought their season total points allowed to 517. This is the second highest point total allowed in a single season in NFL history, trailing only the 533 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.
Notable reactions 
|This section requires expansion. (April 2009)|
Clock ticks down here in Green Bay. The Lions find themselves in a very familiar position. For 16 weeks, starting in Atlanta back in September, they took the field thinking this was gonna be their day. Sixteen times they were wrong, and now there are no Sundays left. By record, they are the worst team in league history. Zero and 16, those are the numbers that will forever be associated with the Detroit Lions.—Dan Miller December 28, 2008, on the Detroit Lions Radio Network, after the Detroit Lions become the first team in the history of the NFL to go 0-16.
On the NFL Network's "Top 10 Worst Teams of All Time", the 2008 Lions were recently placed at #1, with the 0-14 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the starting-out-0-12 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranking as the 2nd worst team(s) ever.
Coaching staff 
|Detroit Lions 2008 staff|
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
|Detroit Lions 2008 final roster|
Unsigned Draft Picks
Rookies in italics
Notes and references 
- NFL rookie Caleb Campbell Must Serve The Army Before Realizing Football Dreams
- Glazer, Jay. Millen out as Lions president, GM. Fox Sports. 24 September 2008.
- http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081016/SPORTS0101/810160388/1126 Lions emptied of promise
- Detroit News October 29, 2008 - Culpepper, Lions discuss contract
- Detroit News 11/6/08 Blackout II: Lions / Jags not on local TV
- Detroit News November 20, 2008 Lions game blacked out
- Detroit News 12/4/08 Lions Vikings won't be on local TV
- Lions game to be blacked out
- An 0-16 season -- that's even painful to write
- NFL Network - State of the Lions