Quarterback Jon Kitna was rusty, the offensive line seemed slow-footed, and there was an overall lack of sound chemistry on the offensive side of the football.
There was no semblance of a pass-rush, the secondary was exposed for its lack of experience, and Cincinnati seemed to move the ball often times without effort.
Yet, despite several new faces on the defense, and hampered by the absence of defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, the Lions defense kept one of the league's more prolific offenses out of the end zone early in the game.
"The thing that we've all seen is a team that will fight," said head coach Rod Marinelli following the win. "You can't get a stats sheet on the effort part, all those things.
"What I was impressed with from a starter to the last guy on this team, they competed, it was important to win, everybody fought."
Marinelli noted that the team still had many things to work on, which was sometimes painfully apparent during the game: Lions' running backs were often left on an island, Kitna was flushed from the pocket a handful of occasions, and the first-team offense only passed midfield one time.
On defense, Carson Palmer picked apart Detroit's secondary, and was given ample time in the pocket. The Bengals' running game, meanwhile, was also effective.
But collectively, the team not only overcame a quality opponent, they also overcame their own deficiencies -- the catalyst behind many of the team's shortcomings in recent years.
Consider the following:
The score put the team behind 26-10.
Although exhibition contests are, indeed, glorified practice sessions, the Detroit Lions walked away with both a literal and moral victory over their orange-clad opposition.
And, for one game at least, the ball club's all-team effort reflected the mindset of its head coach.
"The thing that this team is going to be all about is effort and attitude, character and fight," said Marinelli. "We'll keep working to clean the other stuff up. Because (with) their attitude, they'll do that.
"We had a lot of good stats and all those things tonight, but the stat I like is the toughness, and it means something."