Bortles/Jaguars come for a mid season visit

Lions still riding high after Vikings win

Quarterback Matthew Stafford would surely like to get his wins with a bit less flair then what it took to get the overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings last week.  With 23 seconds left in the game, Stafford tossed a 28-yard pass to Golden Tate who lofted into the air to snag the ball and secure the 22-16 victory.

“We all just believed in each other,” center Travis Swanson said. lions-6“I think, especially from my point of view, whenever they scored, and we have 20 or whatever seconds that was left, and you looked at the guys, and everyone was like, ‘All right. Let’s go do what we do.”

The Lions (5-4, 2nd NFC North) will host the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6, 4th AFC South) this Sunday at Noon at Ford Field.  The Lions will need a win to keep pace with the first place Vikings.

“Matt doesn’t get intense, man. He stays calm. He stays collected,” tight end Eric Ebron said. “But you know, he gets excited when we execute the plays that he knows we can execute for him. It just makes him believe more, makes him more confident. And we’ve just got to continue to go out there and keep winning.”

Let’s hope that it doesn’t come down to that against the Jags on November 20th.

Plenty of great seats and affordable tickets are still available so be sure to grab yours today and help cheer on your Detroit Lions!

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Lions prepare for Titans

Run Game Will be key

The Detroit Lions (1-0, tied 1st, NFC North) will be looking to go 2-0  when they face the Tennessee Titans (0-1, 4th AFC South) this Sunday with the running duo of Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah who combined for 107 yards on 19 carries.  Both caught enough passes to go over the 100 total yard mark.

Although the Titans showed last week that they can control the run, holding Adrian Peterson to 31 yards on 19 carries, Matt Stafford should be able to keep the defense honest with the run game which will allow him to have another fantastic throwing day.  Against the Vikings, Stafford showed poise and leadership en route to a 31-for-38 passing for 340 yards and three touchdowns kinda day.

lions-5“When he’s in command and running things, he puts a lot of pressure on the defense. He doesn’t give them much time. And he’s been very, very accurate. When things are a bit spread out, he spreads it around,” Coach Jim Caldwell of Stafford.

The game kicks off at noon and plenty of great seats and affordable tickets are still available so be sure to grab yours today and help cheer on your Detroit Lions on Sunday!

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Stafford gets one of his top targets back

TE Ebron not expected to start this weekend

Eric Ebron went down early in August and has been the center of speculation since he was carted off the practice field August 9th.  Some speculated that an Achilles was sprained or worse, torn.  So it was a great relief when Ebron hit the practice field yesterday after missing over two weeks.

Stafford also welcomes the return of WR Golden Tate as well as offensive tackles Michael Ola and Corey Robinson.

lions 4“Played with a lot of different guys this preseason and in practice, so it’s been good for me to have to adjust to guys on the fly and really just trust myself and put the ball where I think it needs to be put and those guys are doing a good job,” Stafford said.

The Lions return home next week to face the Bills on Sept. 1.  Tickets for the remaining preseason as well as the regular season are on sale now so grab yours today and be there next week when your Detroit Lions take the field.

 

Lions host Bengles

Position Battles Rage on

There are a number of positions still up for grabs.  The quarterback position is still under consideration as far as keeping one or two backups so the battle between Dan Orlovsky and Rookie Jake Rudock will have meaning this week.  Orlovsky went 16-25 for 164 yards and a 79.4 rating while Rudock went 8-11 for 72 yards and a rating of 120.3

The third and fourth string running back position is still up for grabs with Joique Bell the starter, AmeerLions 3 Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner continue to battle. Zenner led the way last week with seven rushes for 24 yards, Riddick rushed for 20 yards on four carries.

Ticket for this weekends game as well as the remainder of preseason and regular season games are still available so be sure to grab yours today and help cheer on your Detroit Lions!!

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Decker listed as starting Left Tackle

First round draft pick Taylor Decker has been slotted as the starting left tackle,

the only rookie to be so listed as all others are third and fourth string options.

Beginning today, the Lions will be joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in lions 2joint practices.  The two teams meet this Friday in the first preseason match up between the two teams.  This will be the first game under new (began last season in week 8) offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.  Expect this new offense to no longer lead the league in turnovers as they did for most of last season.

Tickets for Friday’s game against the Steelers are still available as well as the home preseason kickoff next Thursday against the Bengals. So make sure to grab yours and be a part of Detroit Lions history!

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John Niyo: Lions’ Ndamukong Suh goes on defense to protect reputation


John Niyo

Detroit Ndamukong Suh had a lot to say Monday.

But nothing said it better than this.

“If I’m not gonna protect myself,” the Lions all-Pro defensive tackle mused, “then nobody else is going to.”

That, as much as any statement — alleged or otherwise, heard or unspoken — might explain what he’s thinking these days, both on and off the field.

Because he’s being asked to wage a war on both fronts, no matter how understandably reluctant he is to admit it. When he’s not fighting opponents double teams in the trenches — and the cheap shots that inevitably come with them — he finds himself fighting, or at least being asked to fight, a perception that he’s a dirty player, fueled by postgame comments from the Falcons after a 23-16 loss at Ford Field.

Suh and teammate Cliff Avril were accused by Falcons players of taunting and trash-talking on the field when Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan went down what initially looked to be a serious leg injury in the game. (Ryan did return to the game the next series.)

Receiver Roddy White told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he “lost a whole lot of respect for” both players for “the (expletive) they were doing when Matt got hurt.”

The newspaper quoted White as saying Avril “was kicking (Ryan’s) feet saying, ‘Get him off the field.'”

Falcons center Todd McClure said Suh was saying, “‘Get the cart’ and several other things that I can’t repeat.”

Avril disputed those comments via Twitter on Sunday night, while Suh, who normally doesn’t address the media until Wednesday each week, angrily addressed them Monday.

“They’re gonna say what they want to say,” Suh said, adding “it’s he-said, she-said” as he quickly dismissed the suggestion — one that apparently was lost in translation by the initial report — that Avril actually kicked Ryan while he was down.

The video clearly shows he didn’t. (Avril and Suh are barely in the picture before and after Ryan goes down in a heap.)

And besides, as Suh points out, “I know for a fact, if Cliff — or anybody, for that matter — kicked an opposing quarterback, I’m sure there would’ve been a riot.”

“If that would’ve happened to Matt Stafford and he was on the ground and somebody kicked him,” Suh said, “I guarantee you all hell would’ve broke loose.”

Instead, we’re left with this, whatever the heck it is.

He said, he said

The Lions lost. The Falcons won. Atlanta players accused Detroit of ugly behavior, prompting the Lions to fire back with similar accusations. And we in the media become a ping-pong ball of sorts.

He said, she said? It’s more like, “Did you hear what they said about what you said?” (While conveniently ignoring the fact the hidden soundtrack of an NFL game would make Howard Stern cringe.)

“There was no comments — at all,” Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. “I was there when he went down. … We waved for the trainers to come get Matt. We never once made a threat like that to him at all.

“It’s absurd that they would even mention that.”

White, though, wasn’t backing down Monday as he clarified his remarks in an interview with the NFL Network.

“We didn’t say (Avril) kicked Matt,” White said. “We said one of the guys — I don’t know if it was 92 (Avril) or 93 (Kyle Vanden Bosch), one of the defensive ends — came over and he was making kicking gestures, like, ‘Get him out of here.’ And I know Suh said what he said. He was like, ‘Go get the cart for him. Get him out of here.’ He knows he said that.”

Suh was asked about what he said or didn’t say Monday, and he responded, “I’m not even near their quarterback, so how am I going to trash-talk somebody that has a medical staff that’s all around him?”

But he didn’t stop there, as Suh pointed out it wasn’t the Lions who made contact with Ryan on the play. It was his own lineman, Will Svitek, who stepped on Ryan’s ankle while trying to block the Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson.

“If you look at it, to me, it’s karma,” Suh said, noting the Falcons own well-cultivated reputation for dirty play on the offensive line. “For all the bad stuff they’ve done in the past, their offensive lineman hurt their own quarterback. So I’ll leave it at that.”

White responded, “We’re not gonna go back and forth about ‘he-said, she-said,'” before doing just that, adding, “And then he’s gonna say it’s karma for what we’ve done in the past? And then their quarterback (Matthew Stafford) gets hurt on the last play of the game.”

Reputation is sticking

Back to you, Mr. Suh, who was asked if he was hurt personally by the accusations.

“Do I need Rodney White’s respect?” Suh said, before answering himself. “No. I’ll leave it at that.”

At that point, he walked away, flanked by a Lions spokesman.

Now, I have no idea whether Suh purposely mispronounced White’s name or not as a parting gesture — I don’t think he did — or whether Suh knows where the Pistons former first-round pick is now. (Last I heard, he was hooping it up in South Korea.)

But as Suh himself rather bluntly reminded us Monday, we really don’t know him at all.

“Nobody’s gonna be able to really understand who I am, except for very few,” Suh said.

He went on to explain that’s because some people “won’t take the time” to, as he put it, “see the type of person I am.” Then, in the next breath, he admitted that’s because “they can’t get close enough to me. I won’t let people get close to me.”

So Suh me, but I don’t know how we’re going to solve that riddle if that’s the way he’s going to play this game.

Still, what I do know about Suh is that he’s smart, he’s focused, he’s determined and he’s potentially as dominant a player as we’ve ever seen at his position. And while it’d be foolish to think this talk will change his game — “Have you seen me stop playing? Not at all. It’s not gonna affect me,” he said — it’d be a shame if that talent got overshadowed by talk of dirty play, much as it has been with Pittsburgh’s James Harrison.

Talk is cheap. But reputations are invaluable.

john.niyo@detnews.com

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Bob Wojnowski: Lions shine on prime-time stage, run record to 5-0


Bob Wojnowski

Detroit— The noise and the numbers are ratcheting so quickly now, they’re starting to echo. The Lions no longer are just Detroit’s riveting fresh story. They’ve gone national and gotten numbingly tough, rolling in ways we’ve almost never seen.

The Lions were determined to make their loudest clamor yet Monday night. So were their fans. And with an offensive blur and a defensive blast, they hammered the point — repeatedly.

The Lions beat the Bears 24-13 in front of 67,861 shrieking fans, and there’s no turning back now. Every expectation for this team has rocketed, now that it’s 5-0 for the first time in 55 years and has won nine straight for the first time in 57 years.

See what I mean about the numbers? And the noise?

“It was electric — the fans did an unbelievable job,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was 19-for-26 for 219 yards. “You saw what it can do to an opposing offense, and our defense fed off it. You couldn’t even hear yourself think.”

The frenzy for the Lions’ first Monday night game since 2001 was incredible, as loud as Ford Field has ever been. The full-throttled crowd literally affected the game, causing Bears players to be penalized nine times (yes, nine) for false starts, unable to hear the signals over the din.

There’s nothing false about this start. The Lions have stars in key places, and each one did something big, from Stafford to Calvin Johnson to defensive menace Ndamukong Suh to speedy back Jahvid Best. They’re hitting from all directions, upstaging even playoff baseball. Shortly after the Tigers dropped a crushing, 7-3, 11-inning game in Texas, the Lions launched their whomping, and they whomped hard.

The comeback team in a comeback city, tied together by talent and toughness? It may be trite, but if it fits, go for it.

Past meets present

It fits the Lions, that’s obvious. They trailed at halftime again and took off in the second half again. When Best sprinted 88 yards for the clinching touchdown, and defenders then took turns flattening poor Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, the physical punishment was complete.

“We need to get used to playing in games like this, in prime time,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “It was a big step for this team and a big step for this city.”

You can’t say the Lions shocked anyone this time because they were favored, and probably will be favored in their next three games, at least. You do the math and you realize this is a playoff team, arriving ahead of schedule.

There were ghosts in the building, a convergence of past, present and future, stirred in a cauldron. Barry Sanders was here, the Lions’ preeminent symbol of lonesome glory. On the Bears’ side were Rod Marinelli, the beleaguered former Lions coach, Mike Martz, the former Lions assistant, and Roy Williams, the former Lions receiver. At some point, all were symbols of fake swagger, slowly reduced to footnotes.

“Imported From Detroit” is the auto theme and it’s just a coincidence the car companies are rebounding along with the Lions and the Tigers. But it sure adds to the depth of the pride, and you didn’t have to be wedged into Ford Field to feel it.

If this wasn’t the biggest day in Detroit sports history, it was one of the busiest. In droves, people swarmed in and around Ford Field, clamoring to see first-hand what was going on. In many ways, this was an unveiling for the Lions — to the nation and to their own fans.

The Lions had played at home only once so far, returning after huge road comebacks at Dallas and Minnesota. For hours beforehand, the streets filled, and as the Lions warmed up on the field, fans watched the Tigers on the stadium scoreboards. When Jose Valverde escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, the crowd erupted. It was the last roar for the Tigers on this night, but it was only the start of the noise.

“There was so much energy in the building, I’ve never felt anything like it,” tight end Brandon Pettigrew said. “You could physically feel it on you.”

Almost out of control

This was it, the chance for the hungriest fan base in the NFL to release the beast within. It was almost, dare I say, too much racket and rancor, as the Lions came out determined to prove they’re one of the feistiest, nastiest teams around.

It’s a badge of honor and they’re happy to shove it in the opposing quarterback’s face. The Bears were rattled, no doubt. On their first possession alone, they committed three false-start penalties.

The energy was incredible and the Lions feasted on it — and initially, gorged a bit too much. They had six penalties in the first half, most for committing general acts of mayhem upon Cutler.

The Lions were hitting with impunity (which is still permitted, I believe), and officials tried to keep things under control. Cutler was getting up slowly but he was getting up, and the Bears hung in.

For the Lions these days, it goes back to their stars, and in one stunning sequence, they all made their mark. Facing fourth-and-inches at the Lions’ 25 in the first quarter, Bears coach Lovie Smith inexplicably disdained the field goal and went for it. Running back Matt Forte was crushed by Suh in the backfield, killing the drive.

Three plays later, Stafford lofted a perfect pass to Johnson, who caught it in stride for a 73-yard touchdown. After Johnson leaped atop the end zone wall to celebrate, the Lions had a 7-0 lead and “Megatron” had his ninth touchdown of the season.

But this is the NFL and the Bears are defending division champs, and a team can only ride raw emotion for so long. Somehow, the Lions were outscored 40-3 in the first halves of their last two games, and won both. And when Cutler hit Kellen Davis for a 9-yard touchdown, the Bears were on top at the half, 10-7.

Not for long, of course. Remember, if you can, the last time the Lions lost a game. It was last Dec. 5, 24-20 to Chicago. That was the Bears’ sixth straight victory in the series, so the Lions still had demons to address here.

They addressed them head on, without ambiguity, with everyone watching. The stage was theirs, and they took it like they absolutely meant it.

Bob.wojnowski@detnews.com

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Ndamukong Suh wants fans to answer the call on Monday night


Chris McCosky/ The Detroit News

Allen Park— Suuuuuhhhhh!

Get your vocal cords ready. Ndamukong Suh wants to hear you Monday night.

“One thing I really feed off is hearing my name out there,” Suh said Thursday. “Players may say they tune all that out, but when I make a play and hear my name, those things really feel good.”

Suh was in the midst of the din at Comerica Park for Game 3 of the American League Division Series this week, and he’s counting on a similar roof-raising decibel level at Ford Field on Monday against the Bears.

“Being at that Tigers game, that was a great example of feeling that atmosphere,” he said. “I was six rows up and being able to feel the crowd, that noise, I am definitely looking forward to the same type of thing. I really expect nothing less from the Monday night game. I am excited for it.”

Aware of game’s magnitude

Crowd noise, though, is generally proportionate to the quality of play on the field. As quarterback Matthew Stafford said, “We know this game is big for the city, but we also know we have to play well for it to be any kind of fun.”

Suh understands that, which makes him all the more anxious to get at it.

“Probably the most exciting thing about our team is that we have yet to play a perfect game,” he said. “We’ve played very mediocre. With that, there’s a lot of room to improve.”

Suh, an all-Pro and defensive rookie of the year last season, is off to what can be best described as a quietly effective start. He has 11 tackles and two sacks — far from the torrid pace he set last year when he had 10 sacks.

But, in the grand scheme of the defense, he and the rest of the line has keep steady pressure on quarterbacks and been at times overtly disruptive, other times subtly disruptive.

“Any competitive defensive lineman wants a lot of sacks and it’s unfortunate that we are down on our numbers, but we understand we’ve done some good things,” Suh said. “One way to measure us to see the things we’ve done in the backfield, causing pressure and making quarterbacks loft balls up that lead to interceptions. But by all means, we want to get back to sacking the quarterback.”

Revenge factor?

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been sacked 15 times, second behind Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (18).

Last year in the game at Ford Field, Suh was fined for hitting Cutler with excessive force outside the pocket. He was asked if such a hit might have some carry-over impact on Cutler’s psyche.

“I have no idea; you’d have to ask Jay Cutler about that,” Suh said. “That’s not my concern and it was not the reason for the hit. The reason to hit him hard is to create a play, get him to fumble.”

Suh said the thing he liked most about the defense has been its resiliency and adaptability. He has shown the same traits individually.

Teams are emptying the trick box to find some way to neutralize him, occasionally with some success.

They try to use his penetration against him, either with trap blocks inside, or chipping him with an offensive tackle.

“A lot of teams do that,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “They keep a tight end in and bring a tackle down. But every time they keep a tight end in, it’s one less guy in the route.”

Learning to adjust

As for the trap blocks, that’s a systemic issue.

“We’re vulnerable to trap blocks,” Schwartz said. “You tell guys to get up field and rush the passer, they’re going to be susceptible to the trap. But our linebackers are expected to play that. We don’t want our guys slowing down and playing traps. Suh is an instinctive guy. He’s seen those things before. If we are getting off the line the way we are supposed to, our linebackers should fill those (gaps) up.”

Schwartz would caution against measuring Suh merely with statistics.

“The most impressive thing about him wouldn’t be impressive to other people,” Schwartz said. “But it’s that he’s always in on the play, and it’s because he has great instincts, great balance and he’s so strong.”

He’s so strong, in fact, that even when he’s blocked well, Suh manages to, at the very least, hold his gap most times.

“The great way our defense is set up, when I get penetration, I am doing my job,” Suh said. “Even if they knock me off course — whether they are trapping me from the inside-out, or doing a wham block from the outside-in — a lot of times I withstand those blows and stay in my gap and get my job done.”

Attuned to rivalry

For a guy who grew up in Portland, Ore., and played at Nebraska, Suh seems to have a grasp of the magnitude of a Bears-Lions game, especially one played on the big stage of Monday.

“These were the two top teams in the north back in the day,” he said. “I kind of consider this like going back to the Big 12 — which doesn’t exist any more — and the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry. I look at it the same way. The Bears are definitely a team we want to get after. They are in our division and they beat us twice last year, and they have a great team.

“For me during big game weeks, I am a little more quiet. I want to make sure I am calm. When it’s the right time and I am on the football field, then I unleash it. This is going to be a great challenge and I am ready.”

Bears at Lions

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. Monday, Ford Field, Detroit

TV/radio: ESPN/WXYT

Line: Lions by 51/2

Records: Bears 2-2,Lions 4-0

Series: Bears lead 91-64-5 (Chicago 24-20, Dec. 5, 2010)

Did you know?: The last “Monday Night Football” appearance for the Lions was Oct. 8, 2001, against the Rams, who won 35-0.

chris.mccosky@detnews.com

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Jim Schwartz isn’t satisfied with Lions’ record: ‘We have work to do’


Tim Twentyman/ The Detroit News

Allen Park— The Lions are 4-0, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to coach Jim Schwartz.

“We still have yet to play a complete game,” he said Monday. “We still have a lot of work to do. We have talent to do it but still have a lot of work to do.”

The Lions are the first team in NFL history to win consecutive games in which it trailed by at least 20 points in each contest. The Lions erased a 27-3 second-half deficit to defeat Dallas 34-30 Sunday. Last week, the Lions trailed 20-0 and rallied to beat Minnesota 26-23 in overtime.

Both the players and Schwartz know the low-scoring first halves eventually will catch up with them if the trend continues.

“It is a huge issue,” linebacker Justin Durant said of the slow starts the last two weeks. “It’s the NFL. We can’t (win) every game like this. You can’t get down by 20 points at halftime and expect to win every week. It’s not what we’re about.”

Schwartz said reserve safety Erik Coleman will be out “a little bit” after suffering a leg injury Sunday.

Starting safety Amari Spievey wasn’t able to finish the game because of a hamstring injury and Schwartz said he’ll be “day to day.”

Durant missed Sunday’s game with a concussion but said Monday he feels much better and he expects to be on the practice field this week and play Monday night against Chicago at Ford Field.

ttwentyman@detnews.com

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Bob Wojnowski: Lions finally have teeth to match their roar


Bob Wojnowski

Detroit — Oh my, how things have changed. At times in Ford Field on Sunday, the crowd was so loud, the Lions’ offense had to plead for calm. At times, the quarterback was so jacked up, he looked capable of firing the ball all the way across the street to Comerica Park.

Something startling is starting to happen at this hot little corner in downtown Detroit, and for their part, the Lions are determined to make it happen. That should be their theme this season, because it sure is Matthew Stafford’s theme — make something happen.

The gamblin’, gunslingin’, gosh-darnin’ quarterback was dominant in the home opener, throwing four touchdown passes in the Lions’ 48-3 blasting of the Chiefs. The Lions spent the offseason collecting players and plaudits, and though it was just one game, they showed it all in the biggest blowout in franchise history.

This is about talent, and the 2-0 Lions definitely have some. It’s also about attitude, and they’re certainly developing some, from the noise in the building to Kid Rock and Bob Seger in the postgame locker room. Going back to last season, this is six straight victories, and it’s happening with aggressiveness on offense and defense, and even with a cutthroat edge.

At long last

Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff are letting the fellas loose, and that’s partly because the Lions finally, finally have the quarterback capable of doing it. Stafford threw soft passes, feathered strikes and absolute lasers. His 36-yard pass down the middle to tight end Tony Scheffler in the second quarter was a thing of beauty — almost as audacious as Scheffler’s touchdown dance.

The Lions are having fun and they should. In an amusing pantomime, Scheffler pretended he was making a fire and sending smoke signals. (They were playing the Chiefs, get it?) Actually, the Lions are using more conventional means to send their signals, and it begins with a franchise quarterback who’s healthy and happy to fling.

“Your radar’s gotta be on high alert when Matt’s got the ball in his hands,” Scheffler said. “On my touchdown, he put some velocity on it and stuck it on my helmet. But we have a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed if we want to be the team we think we can be in January.”

The playoffs in January are a long way off, but not as long as they were two weeks ago. The Lions just hammered a team that was 10-6 last season, one week after handling another 10-6 team in Tampa. Granted, the Chiefs look positively awful, committing six turnovers.

But Stafford is growing rapidly, as he searches for the line between making something happen and needlessly forcing something to happen. Early in the game, the Lions were a bit sluggish. Stafford threw a bad interception instead of taking a sack, although the Chiefs fumbled it right back.

Stafford has shown he can scramble, and he and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan are finding ways to make teams pay. When the Chiefs’ defense loaded up to stuff the run, Stafford hit star Calvin Johnson for two touchdowns. When they adjusted, he found Nate Burleson, Jahvid Best, emerging rookie Titus Young and others.

“The big thing was, Matt took some hits and kept making the throws,” center Dominic Raiola said. “When teams leave Calvin out there one-on-one, that’s disrespectful to me. That’s what happens — you get dunked on. We got an aggressive coaching staff. We’re gonna stay fangs out.”

Fangs out, everyone in. Yep, you can feel something building here, after all the years of misery.

People wonder what spawns confidence. I’ll tell you what does: Talent. Stafford has the smarts, the arm and the leadership, and Johnson has become an amazing weapon.

Here were the Lions, up 20-3 late in the third quarter, facing a fourth down at Kansas City’s 1. Field goal by the ever-dependable Jason Hanson? Aw, boring. As the crowd momentarily quieted, Stafford dropped back, zipped a quick pass to Johnson, and the fans erupted again.

“We’ve been doing it for a while now and Calvin kind of knows what I’m thinking, and I’m the same way with him,” said Stafford, 23-for-39 for 294 yards. “It’s a good start, that’s the way we look at it.”

A ferocious start

It’s only a start, but the Lions attacked with stunning ferocity. This is who they’re trying to become — an explosive passing team that runs to keep the opponent honest. There also was some animosity in this one because defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was accused in the offseason of tampering with Kansas City players, a charge that really ticked the Lions off.

I’m not saying they ran up the score. The Chiefs were so incompetent, the score practically ran itself up.

I am saying, when Stafford is flinging like this, the Lions are capable of running up points quickly. Through two games, he has thrown for 599 yards and seven touchdowns, with only two interceptions.

“Until we get some playoffs and championships, I’m not gonna walk around with my chest pumped out,” Burleson said. “But I don’t think people truly realize how many weapons we got. That’s the one thing that makes us so powerful. Matt makes throws that a lot of quarterbacks wouldn’t even attempt. We’re a good team, but our goal is to be great.”

They have a good quarterback who’s striving to be great. Nothing really has changed and everything has changed. The Lions’ goals are still the same, but now, early evidence suggests they’re legitimately attainable.

bob.wojnowski@detnews.com

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