Both sides of the Lions' victory

Look, we have no love for the Detroit Lions here at Total Packers, but it was good to see them break their 18-game losing streak yesterday.

The Lions won’t be contending for the NFC North title anytime soon, but it looks like they will at least be competitive in most of the games they play this season, which is a long way from the embarrassment they were last season.

This isn’t to say that we’re pulling for the Lions, but we’re certainly not rooting against them in games that don’t involve the Green Bay Packers. It would be nice if a once-proud franchise was a competitive member of the NFC North rather than a laughingstock.

I mean, the Minnesota Vikings should be the laughingstock.

Much of the credit for Detroit finally winning should go to coach Jim Schwartz, who has made the Lions tougher in his first year, and hasn’t accepted the Lions’ culture of losing.

And so, the monkey of futility is off the Lions’ collective back and the analogies of what the Lions’ 19-14 win over the Washington Redskins meant were flying around Detroit all day.

Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press says the healing process has begun.

And, suddenly, Ford Field was Lourdes. Wounds were washed clean. Souls were healed. Fans and players, some near tears, thanked each other for enduring. It was as if some mystical prison doors had been sprung, and everyone was getting to go home. At long last, after a game, Detroit players did something they’d forgotten about doing since Dec. 23, 2007.

The Detroit News’ Bob Wojnowski explains that the Lions and their fans forgot what winning felt like.

The Lions are still just a 1-2 team trying to find itself, but oh, at least they can run without the weight of all their sins tattooed on their foreheads. When Larry Foote knocked down Washington’s Ladell Betts at the Lions’ 23 after a couple of wild laterals, and the clock expired, the emotions spilled — from the players, from the stands, from the rookie quarterback who won his first NFL game, to the veteran offensive linemen who have been through it all.

“I couldn’t watch the last two plays, I just couldn’t,” said center Dominic Raiola, in his ninth season here. “I really couldn’t control myself at the end, the emotion was awesome. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, we went 19, 20 weeks without this feeling, so how can we know how it feels?”

Offensive lineman Jeff Backus, who was the first player drafted by Matt Millen – the architect of Detroit’s recent futility, thinks the Lions can finally move forward.

“It’s a monkey off everybody’s back,” said Backus. “It’s not good for the team. It’s not good for the city for us to continue losing.” This victory “allows us to move forward.”

Let’s hope so. It’s no fun for anyone having such a huge doormat in the division.

Welcome back to the NFL, Detroit.

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