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Lions 'in shock' after devastating loss to Packers with no time left

DETROIT -- Devin Taylor packed up his black rolling suitcase and slowly walked toward the exit. It was close to 12:30 a.m. Friday morning, almost an hour after the Detroit Lions defensive end's face-mask penalty extended the game one more play for the Green Bay Packers.

The Lions thought they had it won, and for 60 minutes they did. They had played well enough to sweep the Packers for the first time since 1991. Then Green Bay was awarded an extra play after Taylor's penalty and Aaron Rodgers vanquished the Lions with a 61-yard Hail Mary that answered exactly none of the Lions' prayers.

It was a loss so completely, utterly devastating for Detroit. It left many Lions speechless, talking in short sentences trying to piece together what happened. Most, it seemed, were still processing the 27-23 loss and what, exactly, had just happened to them.

Including Taylor.

"It hasn't hit me yet," Taylor said. "I can say that much."

He had never been part of anything quite like it before, at least "not an end-of-regulation, ending a game on a penalty, throwing it up for a Hail Mary" sort of play.

It's why he said he couldn't put his feelings, his emotions into words. He couldn't describe what he was feeling because he wasn't really sure yet, even as he spent almost a half-hour, in two sets of interviews, explaining every detail of the penultimate play.

He wasn't the only one.

"All I saw was the dude catching the ball," cornerback Darius Slay said. "Limited words. I don't know what to say. I'm just in shock."

Momentum from a three-game winning streak: shattered. Slim playoff hopes: destroyed. The season: It is almost essentially playing out the string and trying to get to .500 now at 4-8 with four games left to play.

The Lions didn't want to discuss the big picture Thursday night, what the loss truly meant for the rest of their season and, potentially, for the future of the front office and the coaching staff and many of the players.

Those decisions are down the road still. The present, though, is gut-wrenching for Detroit. On this night, with what was at stake, there was no explaining it well for the Lions. It was about as low as Detroit could go.

"It's heartbreaking, man," defensive end Jason Jones said.

What else could the Lions say? Some players lingered, but most dressed fairly quickly and left the locker room. Others appeared to be walking around in a complete daze. The locker room had a somewhat odd vibe to it. It was sullen but felt more like a group stunned and still processing things than anything else.

Most of the Lions, it seemed, were still trying to understand what, exactly, had happened to them -- how a win could turn to a loss in one heave from Rodgers' right arm.

"I'm still in shock," tight end Eric Ebron said. "I don't believe it. I don't believe it. It happened, though."

While some Lions couldn't quite believe what happened, others had moved on in the five stages of grief -- at least past denial.

"At this moment, it's anger," defensive end Darryl Tapp said. "Anger that we didn't finish the job. That's the part that hurts."

The Lions were close to finishing Green Bay and some thought they had done it before they saw the flag. Thought they had won the game and had a four-game win streak intact.

Then came the flag. The throw. The catch. The loss. And the processing of it probably will take a lot longer than that. For some, it already started.

"It hit me. It hit me," running back Ameer Abdullah said. "When they were awarded the extra play, it kind of hit me. I was like, 'Really?' I know how the Hail Mary stuff goes. Nowadays, man, it's more probably that they catch it than it gets batted down.

"It's happened so much around the league and college football and all the ranks of football, it happened a lot. Disappointed we're on the bad end of it."

For others, it's not clear when it would hit them -- other than it probably will at some point. That includes Taylor, who wasn't sure when it would hit him.

He was one of the last Lions to leave the locker room Friday morning. When he reached the back door, he paused for a second, turned right and then he, like the rest of the Lions, were gone.