Jim Caldwell insisted the latest setback didn't sting more than the others.
Tim Fuller/Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Lions coach Jim Caldwell is doing his best to look forward as Detroit’s hopes of making the playoffs fade, refusing to rehash his team’s disheartening loss to Green Bay on a Hail Mary.
"Some of you will ask me questions about last Thursday," Caldwell said Monday, the first time he faced reporters since his postgame news conference. "I’m not going back there."
Why did the Lions rush Aaron Rodgers with just three players, none of whom was Ezekiel Ansah, giving the two-time MVP quarterback time to scramble and buy time to make a 61-yard pass on an untimed down?
Why did the Lions anticipate a lateral-filled final play, leading to them putting some defenders out of position — somewhere between the line of scrimmage and end zone — and keeping jump-ball specialist Calvin Johnson on the bench?
Those questions, and more like it, will be left unanswered by Detroit’s coach.
"It might not be appeasing to you or appealing to you, but the fact is that you have to get focused in on St. Louis in a hurry," Caldwell said.
Detroit (4-8) will travel to play the Rams (4-8) in a relatively insignificant game Sunday.
"We can’t feel sorry for ourselves," Lions receiver Golden Tate said. "What’s done is done. Just move forward and continue to grow. That’s all we can do."
The Lions had won three straight before losing to the Packers 27-23 on Thursday night, blowing a 20-0 second-half lead.
"We’ve got to finish four games strong," Detroit safety Glover Quin said. "Like I always say, you can never know what happens. You’ve got to play them out and see how it turns out then."
Caldwell, though, insisted the latest setback didn’t sting more than the others.
"They all cut deep," he said. "They cut deep the second game of the season, the third game of the season, the fourth. I think this team’s been battle tested mentally. They’ve gone though some very, very difficult times. And for them to hang together and play the kind of football we’ve played the last quarter, I think it’s kind of a testament."
Until falling to the Packers, Detroit hadn’t lost since team President Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew were fired. And, the Lions were 3-1 with new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter before getting beat by Green Bay.
With Detroit leading the Packers 20-0 midway through the third quarter of a prime-time game, a lot of people could see just how much things had improved. But the Lions let the lead and the game slip away.
Caldwell insisted he and his players won’t be thinking about their future with the franchise, which is led by impatient owner Martha Firestone Ford, when they finish up the season by facing St. Louis, New Orleans, San Francisco and Chicago.
"I know oftentimes, everybody kind of points to the fact, `Well, you know, what are you playing for?’" Caldwell said. "These guys started playing this game, we started coaching this game, long before we knew we’d be at this particular stage. We did it because we love the game, did it because we love to compete and these guys are exactly the same way."