Lions: 5-2 a good start, nothing more

The Detroit Lions have won back-to-back games, but they'll have an opportunity on Sunday to do something they have yet to accomplish during the Matt Millen era -- achieve an actual "winning streak." They last did it in 2000, the year before Millen took control of the franchise. More inside.

The Detroit Lions have won back-to-back games, but they'll have an opportunity on Sunday to do something they have yet to accomplish during the Matt Millen era -- achieve an actual "winning streak." They last did it in 2000, the year before Millen took control of the franchise.

Currently, Detroit resides just behind Green Bay in the NFC North Division and are 5-2 for the first time since 2000 following last Sunday's win over Chicago. They have never won three in a row within a season under Millen. Never. And if they can get on a roll now, it will greatly help their chances of another first -- cracking the post-season for the first time in the Millen era.

Just don't mention the "P" word to them.

"It's real early to start talking about that," quarterback Jon Kitna said.

When is the time?

"I guess if we're 10-2," wide receiver Roy Williams said. "You're 10-2, you're pretty much in. We've got a long road, man."

Coach Rod Marinelli has been trying to keep the Lions on an even keel, and they have struggled to do that. After they beat Tampa Bay on Oct. 21, wide receiver Mike Furrey told the media to kiss his posterior because the Lions were 4-2.

After the Lions won Sunday at Chicago, 16-7, there certainly was some jubilation and relief. The secondary made four interceptions, three in the end zone. The offense mounted a balanced attack for the second straight game. The special teams units mostly contained Chicago return star Devin Hester.

The Lions had been blown out in their last two road games -- at Philadelphia and Washington -- and had been blown out the last two times they visited Soldier Field. They had taken all kinds of abuse. And here was center Dominic Raiola, staring into the stands, smiling at the Chicago fans and pointing to the scoreboard.

"It was nice," Raiola said. "Finally, right?"

The Lions won a division game on the road for only the second time in the Millen era. They are 3-0 in the NFC North.

"It means a lot," cornerback Fernando Bryant said. "If you think back to it, the way we've lost in the past and everything and the way we're winning now, it just shows you hard work pays off. Everybody's sticking together.

"Even the bad times, when we were in Philly and things went wrong, when we went to Washington and things went wrong, no one panicked. No one pointed any fingers. In the past, it hasn't always been like that. You have to give credit to the coaching staff for changing the mindset of things where we're in this together."

But there was no big celebration. Kitna said 5-2 was "still just a good start." The Lions are one win away from tying their best total of the Millen era. But that's not their goal.

"I'm a little tired of finishing 6-10," Raiola said. "We've got to get somewhere. It's a great win, but I'm not throwing a team party. I'm not going to do something extravagant. This is a big win. We've got to keep perspective on what we want to accomplish."

Individual Player Notes.

  • RB Kevin Jones had 105 yards rushing Sunday at Chicago. It was his first 100-yard rushing game in almost a year, since Nov. 5 against Atlanta. He had 23 carries five games into his return from a bad foot injury.
  • WR Calvin Johnson made some big plays on the Lions' lone touchdown drive Sunday -- catches for 21 and 23 yards, then an 11-yard end around. But he aggravated a back injury on the end around and didn't play much afterward. Coach Rod Marinelli said he was fine.
  • CB Travis Fisher started Sunday, and Marinelli said the Lions had such good competition at corner that no one better get hurt. But Fisher left the game with a back injury in the third quarter.
  • TE Courtney Anderson was released to make room on the roster for S LaMarcus Hicks, whom the Lions signed off the practice squad because Idrees Bashir was out with a ribs injury.
  • DE Kalimba Edwards did not play because of a knee injury, so Dewayne White moved from left end to right end.

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