If the Detroit Lions were attempting to distance themselves from the close-calls that have plagued the first quarter of their 2010 season, they did a nice job on Sunday.
A 38-point margin typically leaves little room for controversy.
But against the Rams, and before a soldout Ford Field, the Lions put together a performance that they had talked about since training camp. To the tune of 44-6, they dismantled, embarassed, and dispatched another professional football squad.
All three facets of the Lions -- offense, defense, and special teams -- scored touchdowns. The Rams never did.
And they made it look easy. In fact, they made it look as though they've been doing for a while.
"After the first quarter season, after the first four games, I think we knew where we were as a football team and we had played well in spots but we hadn't played well enough to win," said coach Jim Schwartz after the game.
Maybe not technically. But more-than-questionable officiating in two road games against division opponents had seemingly stolen victory from this bunch. Their winless mark was a mirage to those who watched every week, but publicly, it was merely a reflection of the same, pathetic teams that had turned losing into an art form.
Something that obviously was not lost on them.
"It's a good feeling; it definitely feels good," said mammoth rookie Ndamukong Suh, who batted an interception to himself in the second half. "Whatever it may be is over with."
Added Dominic Raiola, "It was a long time coming, you know. We know what we're capable of."
And the Lions did it without rookie Matthew Stafford. Led by back-up and veteran Shaun Hill, Detroit seemed poised to handle St. Louis, who walked into the contest winners of their last two games and the fourth best defense in the league.
Neither mattered much after a botched onside kick to open the game.
Hill posted a rating of 117.6, tossing three touchdowns without turning the ball over. But it wasn't only his statistical fortitude that helped push the Lions into unchartered scoreboard territory. It wasn't an individual standout performance, one play, or even the performance of one unit. It was a collective effort; every facet was hitting on all cylinders for the Lions on Sunday.
And if playmaking is contagious, Stefan Logan's 105-yard kick return touchdown to open the second quarter went viral.
Logan, a player that joined the team post-training camp, sent a buzz through Ford Field with the electrifying play -- and his teammates served as conductors.
Nate Burleson's return seemed to spur his beneficiary Calvin Johnson, and the two each had touchdown grabs. Alphonso Smith, meanwhile, was an afterthought not long ago in Denver, but all he's done since joining the Lions is secure a starting cornerback spot and dared opponents to throw in his direction.
It was a win that Detroit could feel coming. A win that they rightfully deserved. And at the end of the day, certainly one that they had earned.
And one that they made certain wasn't going to be taken from them.