3.5 ... The number of sacks registered by defensive end James Hall, part of five total sacks for the game. The number of traditional sacks totaled by Detroit in the previous three games? Zero. From the outset of Sunday's win over Buffalo, the Lions defensive line made it evident that pressuring Bills' quarterback J.P. Losman would be paramount. The line forced two incompletions on the first Bills' drive, and sacked Losman twice on the second.
As the first half wound to a close, defensive tackle Shaun Rogers tossed Losman for a loss of 15 yards, forcing the Bills to convert a lengthy field goal and nullifying any chance of a late touchdown attempt.
Simply put, Detroit's Cover Two defense is not nearly as successful without an effective pass rush. Too many times, the Lions' secondary has been left on an island, allowing a league-high 72.4 passer completion percentage entering Sunday's game. Flushed from his pocket frequently and blitzed often, Losman managed to complete just 62 percent of his passes for 207 yards, including an interception.
To the credit of Detroit's coaching staff and head coach Rod Marinelli, a flip of DE Cory Redding and DT Shaun Rogers was also key. Marinelli said the team will continue to make defensive line shifts through the season, but felt the improvement was primarily due to the players doing a "better job."
"If you just contain and do what you're supposed to do we would have had a few more (sacks) on him, but we just have to make sure we're continually on the details," said Marinelli in his post-game presser. "That's why what happens is if you get a win and then you watch this tape and guys are happy, you can't let the little details slip away, you know what I'm saying? You got to just keep pounding the details if you're in the tank or if you're happy. It's the details that count."
127 ... The last time running back Kevin Jones passed the century mark was back in 2004, when the first-year player racked up 123 yards on 25 carries against the Chicago Bears. A couple of years later, Jones has clearly regained that same pep in his step. Jones carried 23 times for 127 yards and a touchdown (5.5 yards per carry), giving offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense playbook versatility.
Fifty-two of Jones' yards came on his first carry of the game; a drive that resulted in a failed fourth down conversion inside the five yard line. Even more impressive was Detroit's patchwork offensive line. The Lions had yet another makeshift line, which was missing three starters, but that didn't prevent them from opening gaping holes for the running back. Detroit's ability to run the ball, coupled with a passing attack, kept Buffalo's defense off-balance.
10/161 ... The career numbers tallied by receiver Roy Williams on Sunday. His 10 catches for 161 yards were impressive, certainly, but the fact that everyone in Ford Field knew where quarterback Jon Kitna was going with the ball made it even more shining.
With only a few days of practice and still recovering from a stinger suffered last week, Williams was a God playing among men and can now be considered one of the elite receivers in the league.
"Coaches talk about practice and we all talk about practice and all that stuff -- (Roy) misses two days of practices, comes in on Friday, shows up today and can barely turn his neck and plays a superstar game," laughed Kitna after the game. "That's what superstars do."
Now if he can only do it consistently ...
66 ... Bills' running back Willis McGahee entered the game averaging 88 rushing yards per contest; good enough for seventh overall in the league. And, perhaps a sign that last week's pitiful run defense performance was a fluke, the Lions defense held Buffalo's most potent offensive performer to just 66 yards on 17 carries (3.9 yards per carry) and two receptions.
Plus-2 ... The Lions defense has been unable to collectively force the opponent into turnovers. Against Buffalo, they did just that, while limiting their own mistakes. While Losman tossed an interception to Terrence Holt in the first quarter, Detroit forced two fumbles -- the first (committed by Losman) resulted in what would ultimately be the game-clinching field goal.
Besides Jon Kitna's interception on a long-ball to Roy Williams, the Lions recovered their only two fumbles, including one on an Eddie Drummond punt return.
1 ... Detroit's win total for the season. While small in stature versus their five losses, the Lions could easily be 4-1/3-2 with a couple of breaks. With a road game against the Jets next week followed by their bye, Detroit needed this win for both momentum and confidence. Injuries have certainly taken its toll this year, but the season is anything but lost. If they're able to string together more complete games like they did on Sunday, Lions fans might not have to witness another double-digit loss season.
"All year, I've told them for the last couple of weeks, I sat there in front of the team meeting, I kept showing them if we just keep cleaning this up and we just clean this thing and we clean this up - cause we're a good team, we're good," said Marinelli after the game. "Just do those things."