ALLEN PARK -- The temptation for Lions fans is to look at a win as a rarity, a once- or twice-in-a-season occurrence to be treasured but not to be viewed as an indicator of good things to come.
And, for the most part, that has been a sound approach to a team that has won only 23 of its last 88 games and only twice in 5 1/2 seasons has put together back-to-back wins. Along the way there have been numerous false alarms that inevitably led to disappointments -- for instance, the 4-2 start that preceded the firing of Steve Mariucci in what developed into a 5-11 record last year.
But with the 30-14 upset of Atlanta behind them, the Lions are approaching a portion of their schedule that gives them a chance to put together a few wins.
They have San Francisco coming up Sunday at Ford Field, followed by a Nov. 19 game at Arizona and the traditional Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field, this time against the Dolphins.
Even with a sweep of those three games, however, the Lions would be a game under .500, and the remaining five games on the schedule are a sobering thought -- on the road against New England, Green Bay and Dallas, home games against Minnesota and Chicago.
So perhaps that is why coach Rod Marinelli prefers the Lions to keep their focus on the job at hand and never mind what might -- or might not -- lie ahead.
"I think we're starting to sense the energy that we want," Marinelli said. "Right now, my biggest concern is that we come back with the consistency, that we come back this week and practice again this week really fast, really hard. Then take it into the next game, next Sunday and play with the consistency we want."
There will be plenty of time to talk about the Lions being "on a roll" later,
perhaps after they put together another of those rare two-game winning streaks.
Coach Rod Marinelli has been stressing the need to finish strong if the Lions are to win some of the close games that have gotten away from them earlier this season.
At times they have seemed to run out of energy. Other times they have not been able to protect a late lead, in part because they couldn't control the ball in the late going.
In fact, the Lions went into the Atlanta game averaging just 27 minutes, 48 seconds time of possession in their first seven games of the season.
In the 30-14 victory against the Falcons, however, they controlled the
football for 32 minutes, 56 seconds -- roughly five minutes more than they had
averaged in previous games -- and they were in no danger of letting it get away
at the end.