Allen Park — During their 0-5 start, Lions players mentioned their confusion about their inability to win a game, typically pointing to the talent in the locker room.
Now, after beating the Bears for their first victory, the Lions have to find a way to carry something positive into next week — and beyond.
“It’s awesome,” wide receiver Lance Moore said after the victory. “I think we got too good of a team to not win ballgames. Obviously, it was kind of ugly. We had to do it in overtime. We put our defense in tough situations a couple times, but a great team win, something to build from and hopefully we will continue to play well.”
The Lions can take away a lot of positives from the 37-34 overtime victory, but the players had enough self-awareness to say the performance was by no means perfect.
Among the feats ...
■They had 546 yards offense, including 155 rushing yards — which more than doubles the season high of 69.
■The Lions finished with eight passes of 20-plus yards after having 15 over the first five games.
“They showed up and we greatly appreciate that,” free safety Glover Quin said of the offense. “It was fun to watch. We see it in practice all the time, and we knew it was only a matter of time before they got going.”
Kicker Matt Prater and punter Sam Martin had good games, too.
But there were plenty of pitfalls defensively as the Lions gave up 444 yards and six passes of 20-plus yards. After the Lions took a 3-point lead with 21 seconds left in regulation, the defense looked helpless as the Bears drove to the tying 29-yard field goal on three snaps — two deep passes and a pass interference.
The Lions also gave up two turnovers on punt returns and had 10 penalties for 98 yards.
“We just know we just have to keep fighting,” Quin said. “It’s hard to win on Sundays, and we just know we’ve got to play together for four quarters as a group. And we did that today.”
Even before the game started, there was a sense of unity with the team. The Lions skipped the typical player introductions, and exited the tunnel as a team, something coach Jim Caldwell thought could bond the group.
Players said during the losing streak there wasn’t any splintering in the locker room, but the win should assist with the unification of the team.
“I guess I could say it just brings us together,” Johnson said. “Definitely down the road, maybe we can get a little win streak going right here and get us back in some good position.”
Up next is a home game against the Vikings, who won the first meeting 26-16 in Week 2. Although the Lions are five games behind the division-leading Packers (6-0), a victory would improve their division record to 2-1. The Lions then go to London to play a Chiefs team that has lost its last five games before the bye, before getting the bye in Week 9.
To their credit, the Lions maintained their confidence during the rocky start, and Caldwell is one reason. During his Monday news conference, he was subdued and hardly reveled in the victory.
“That one’s over, and we’ve got to get our heads straightened away and get ready for the next one,” he said.
Even if the Lions could take some momentum from the win over Chicago into next week, Caldwell wouldn’t entertain the thought of it leading to a season turnaround. Instead, preparation for Minnesota is the key.
“Well, one game does not a season make either way, so we still got work to do,” he said. “Let’s see where we are after next week.”
Vikings at Lions
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, Ford Field, Detroit
Records: Lions 1-5, Vikings 3-2
Line: Vikings by 3
Series: Vikings lead 70-36-2