It might have been the return of two starters on the offensive line. It might have been the rest obtained during the bye week. And it might be an offense finally coming together. Regardless, if quarterback Jon Kitna, receiver Roy Williams and running back Kevin Jones can post at least a similar effort in Detroit's remaining eight games as they did on Sunday, the season might not be a complete loss afterall.
Kitna tossed for 321 yards in Sunday's 30-14 win over Atlanta, followed by Williams' 138 receiving yards and Jones' 110 yards on the ground. It was the first time since 2001 that a Lions' trio reached a "statistical trifecta." Former players Charlie Batch, James Stewart and Germane Crowell completed the feat against Minnesota on October 14.
"Our offense was tremendous," said head coach Rod Marinelli after the game. "I thought, (offensive coordinator) Mike (Martz) called a great game and they executed. Those offensive people did a heck of a job of execution."
The 435 offensive yards tallied by Detroit was the highest by the team since 2004.
"Anytime you look in that offensive huddle and you see guys that have been through the wars... that just goes to show you what kind of veterans they are and how smart they are and understand the game of football," said Kitna. "That's a great thing, nothing surprises them, nothing shocks them and they did a great job. I was concerned about their conditioning level going into the game, but they played great."
Speaking of conditioning, Williams commented afterwards that the week off was critical to the team's performance.
"We needed the bye week," he said. "We needed offensive linemen to get back. We needed some receivers that were banged up to get some rest and Kevin Jones needed some rest -- he takes those hits. So it was good to get our minds right, get our minds off football for a week and come back and play this real good Atlanta football team and dominate like we did today."
Williams, who caught a 60-yard touchdown pass in addition to a one-handed circus grab, moved into a sixth place tie among Lions' receivers with 100-yard games. Williams has eight, along with former Lion Leonard Thompson. Herman Moore ranks atop that list with 35.
Williams isn't the only one tapping the record books. Kitna is on pace to pass former quarterback Scott Mitchell's record-breaking 1995 season. Kitna is on pace to toss for 4,348 yards, 10 yards higher than Mitchell's All-Time high.