(ALLEN PARK, MI) -- The Detroit Lions took one more step in their progression to becoming a respectable NFL team. They beat a division opponent at home in a close game.
During Monday's media briefing, head coach Marty Mornhinweg said you can't put a price tag on what those kinds of victories mean.
"You need to be put in those positions time and time again and really as crazy as it sounds, those overtime games are great for a football team when you're in the midst of improving."
What makes those kinds of wins more valuable than, let's say, a 24-7 win? "Those are the tough, tough, tight, tight situations and the close situations at the end of the game. And you need to be put in those positions, time and time again. You may fail nine out of ten [times],and then the next time six out of ten [times], but then all of a sudden you're succeeding six, seven, eight or nine times out of ten."
The win over Chicago was one of those 'tight, tight' situations where one wrong decision could cost you the game. Joey Harrington nearly made one of those wrong decisions, but the penalty, a false start on tight end Matt Murphy, nullified the play and gave Harrington another chance.
"Joey played better than I thought coming out of the game. He managed the game
very well. [Just] the one critical turnover. We'll discuss [that] and there's a couple of
other things we'll discuss. He missed a couple but he's progressing pretty well."
Overall, the coach loves the progress of his defense under new coordinator Kurt Schottenheimer. "Corey Harris played terrific, the whole defense played well. Really, there were two series -- one right before the half and one after the intermission -- that they got most of their yards."
"It was a terrific defensive game," continued Mornhinweg. "If you go back to those two defensive turnovers, they were big. They led to touchdowns on the offensive side. When the offense turned it over the one time, the defense stopped them right there and held them to three [points]. And then after the big kickoff return our defense stopped them immediately as well."
Mornhinweg also took note of the improving run game led by James Stewart.
"James had an outstanding game. To rush for 172 yards and the longest be 24
[yards], he was grinding it pretty good in there. Cory [Schlesinger] played a fabulous
game and really, while injured in two different spots on his body."
"Certainly, our offensive line and both of our tight ends played well, [including] Matt Murphy, getting his first game experience."
Mornhinweg even noted that the backups forced to play in the midst of all the injuries have stepped it up. "Some of our backups have stepped up and played just at a high level and so I'm kind of pleased at that."
The Lions are on a 'feel good' week following a tough win, but they'll face a different kind of greeting going into Buffalo (4-3) to play the Bills who, behind quarterback Drew Bledsoe, have also turned around their record of last season (3-13).
INJURY REPORT: Coach Mornhinweg updated the Lions injury situation as follows:
TE John Owens - Left shoulder AC sprain (questionable)
FB Cory Schlesinger - Crack transverse process, left chest "SC" joint (probable)
WR Germane Crowell - Swelling in knee (probable)
WR Eddie Drummond - Left ankle (questionable)
LB Clint Kriewaldt - Left foot (doubtful)
TE Mikhael Ricks - Hamstring (questionable)
FS Brian Walker - Toe (probable)
WR Bill Schroeder - hamstring (probable)