DETROIT -- Glover Quin made a sliding interception on Eli Manning with 23 seconds left in regulation to give the Lions one final swing at saving their season Sunday against the New York Giants.
They took over at their own 25-yard line, had two timeouts in their pocket, and lined Theo Riddick up in the backfield and split two receivers wide on each side of the line.
But instead of taking a shot or two downfield, the Lions called a handoff to Riddick, their go-to play in late-game, long-field situations, and let the clock tick down to overtime.
As boos rained down on Ford Field, TV cameras caught Lions coach Jim Schwartz turn toward the crowd and twice mouth what appeared to be an expletive as he questioned the jeers.
Schwartz said after the game, "I wasn't addressing the crowd I was just trying to ... get our team fired up."
But if Sunday was Schwartz's last home game with the Lions, the coach whose hot temper has gotten him in trouble with handshakes and challenges through the years left a fitting image behind.
The Giants took advantage of three Lions turnovers, including a fourth-quarter Matthew Stafford interception that was returned for a touchdown, and Josh Brown made the game-winning 45-yard field goal with 7:32 left in overtime to beat the Lions, 23-20, and knock them out of playoff contention.
Since starting the season 6-3, the Lions (7-8) have lost three straight and five of six overall, blowing fourth-quarter leads in each defeat.
"It's very disappointing coming from where we were," Schwartz said after the game. "It's hard to take when every game is close. I think that's the thing that makes it difficult."
On Sunday, the Lions looked uninspired for most of the game.
They turned the ball over twice in the first half and again in the fourth quarter, and couldn't capitalize on an Andre Brown fumble on the second play of overtime or finish off a solid defensive effort for most of the game.
"We just didn't do our job," linebacker DeAndre Levy said. "We didn't play good football in the most important time of the year. November and December, we didn't play our best football."
Reggie Bush lost his fourth fumble of the season midway through the second quarter to set up the Giants' first touchdown, a 20-yard pass from Manning to Jerrel Jernigan.
Stafford side-armed an interception into the arms of defensive end Justin Tuck on the next series that the Giants converted for a field goal. And after the Lions went ahead 20-13 on Riddick's 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter, Will Hill returned Stafford's second pick of the game 38 yards to tie the score with 4:57 to play.
Stafford completed just 25 of 42 passes for 222 yards Sunday and now has 19 interceptions on the year, including 11 in the last five games.
Bush spent most of the game on the bench after his fumble. His replacement, Joique Bell, with 91 yards rushing on 20 carries and 10 catches for 63 yards.
"It's tough," Stafford said. "We've had two back-to-back heartbreakers at home with games that decided by field goals. I'm proud of the team, they fought extremely hard, battled through a bunch of crap and kept fighting. It just didn't come out our way."
The Giants (6-9) won the toss to start overtime, but Nick Fairley forced a Brown fumble two plays after a long Michael Cox kick return.
The Lions went backwards on the next series. Dorin Dickerson dropped a pass on their first play from scrimmage and was called for a holding penalty that wiped out an 11-yard run on the second.
After the game, Dickerson said he was temporarily knocked unconscious on a fourth-quarter kickoff return and tried to play through the head injury. The Lions said Dickerson reported the injury after his two overtime miscues.
"Honestly, after we leave here I probably won't remember talking to you guys," Dickerson said.
The Giants scored on their next possession, three plays after Manning found Jernigan for a 15-yard gain on fourth-and-7, and the Lions once again walked off the field to a hearty chorus of boos.
Schwartz explained his verbal spat with fans at the end of regulation by saying he was "disappointed to hear boos."
"We're getting ready to go to overtime right there and our crowd's great for us and they support us," Schwartz said. "I thought our team needed a lift right there. We didn't need to feel bad at that point. We just intercepted a ball that got us to overtime. I thought that just trying to get our team ready for it, and that's tough. A situation when your players are getting booed, you want to keep them fired up and that's what I was trying to do right there."
As for his tenuous job security, Schwartz didn't have much interest in addressing that after the game, either.
The Lions are 29-50 and have made the playoffs just one time in Schwartz's five seasons as head coach. Next week, they close the season against the Minnesota Vikings and could be looking for a replacement for Schwartz soon after.
"It's hard enough dealing with this loss right here and getting the team back, we have a difficult week ahead of us with Christmas and everything else that goes into it," Schwartz said. "I admire this team and I'm proud to coach the team, I'm proud to stand among these guys. They're tough, they fight and I think that's what we'll be concerned with."
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