Caldwell earns applause from Ford family for win

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Lions head coach Jim Caldwell

Detroit — As Lions coach Jim Caldwell walked down a basement hallway in Ford Field, the Ford family greeted him with applause.

With a 45-14 win over the Eagles Sunday, the Lions won on Thanksgiving for the third straight season. The dominant performance — the team's hadn't scored 45-plus points since November 2011 — also gave the Lions a third consecutive win this year after an embarrassing 1-7 start.

So, clearly, owner Martha Firestone Ford and her relatives, including daughter Sheila Ford Hamp and son William Clay Ford Jr., were thrilled about the victory.

"I think the family's always excited about victories, and this one is no different than the others that we've had," Caldwell said. "I think that they're appreciative. They're looking for a winner here, want to build a winner and want to do everything possible to make certain that that indeed happens.

"It was just a show of appreciation. Mrs. Ford generally shows her appreciation after games."

The Lions' winning streak followed Martha Ford making monumental changes with the franchise, firing president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew on Nov. 5.

But, Caldwell and players said those changes didn't galvanize the team. Instead, they've just been playing better than during the first half of the season.

"I don't think there's any such thing as coincidence," Caldwell said. "The reason why it's happened is that our guys are practicing better (and) they're playing better. … Our execution is better. I think that's the real key."