Sunday's Detroit-Houston game won't be as miserable a matchup as it could have been. The Texans are coming off their first victory, and though the Lions are still winless, their defense at least showed progress in a 12-10 loss at Minnesota.
"That's momentum going into Houston," safety Daniel Bullocks said. "I think we can take the good from this game and move forward."
The Lions dug big deficits for themselves in their first four games -- 21-0, 21-0, 21-3, 31-0. They had only four sacks, one fumble recovery and no interceptions.
But they fell behind only 2-0 against Minnesota, after quarterback Dan Orlovsky, making his first NFL start, lost his bearings and ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
The defense shut out the Vikings for 40 minutes and allowed them only 10 points. It came up with five sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception. Defensive end Jared DeVries also blocked a field-goal attempt on special teams.
"I'm proud of our defense today, the way we stepped up to the challenge," defensive end Cory Redding said. "We put it on tape that we can play at that high level. That's a standard that we need to set from this point on for the rest of the season."
The Vikings didn't get the winning field goal until nine seconds remained -- after a controversial pass-interference call on cornerback Leigh Bodden.
"I think we played our butts off today defensively," Bodden said. "We really deserved this win, but it didn't happen. We just have to go back to the drawing board and do it again next week."
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry said there was "no master plan," that the Lions just played hard and fast. But it looked like they used different blitzes.
"Honestly, it's what we did in camp," coach Rod Marinelli said. "We just called them. When you feel like you're executing them well, you'll call them. When you don't feel comfortable with them, you won't."
Not that there isn't work to do ahead of Houston.
The Lions still gave up 111 rushing yards to Adrian Peterson and 131 receiving yards to Bernard Berrian. The Lions have been burned by big plays often this season, and Berrian caught an 86-yard touchdown pass.
"We played well, but not well enough," DeVries said. "A couple plays. The things that we talked about the last four weeks on those plays showed up."
LINEUP WATCH: Veteran Rudi Johnson started at running back at Minnesota instead of rookie Kevin Smith, a week after the change was reportedly going to be made. Brian Kelly started at cornerback after not playing a down last week.
"We were struggling blocking those guys," Marinelli said. "(Offensive coordinator Jim Colletto) put some guys in, trying to fight, find the answer." Shaun McDonald replaced Mike Furrey on punt returns during the game.
"He's got some juice," Marinelli said. "Hoping maybe he could give us a jolt there."