PONTIAC, Mich. -- Coaches, players and even secretaries were still grinning at the Silverdome on Monday.
Everybody was celebrating Detroit's their first win of the season, a 27-24 victory Sunday over Minnesota that guarantees the Lions will not become the NFL's first 0-16 team.
James Stewart's hip pointer forced him to walk with a limp, but he smiled through the pain.
"It's amazing what a win can do," the running back said.
Receiver Johnnie Morton, who berated Jay Leno after the game because of the comedian's Lions jokes, was excited to share the news of his appearance Tuesday on "The Tonight Show."
Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg casually strolled into his weekly news conference with a smile and exchanged pleasantries before dissecting his first win as a head coach after 12 losses.
When Mornhinweg began to field critical questions about the wild celebration that ensued after the game, he defended his players for heaving helmets in the air, dumping a bucket of water on his head and acting as if they had won the Super Bowl.
"I told them I wanted a big celebration after we win," Mornhinweg said. "I thought it would happen in the locker room, but if we celebrate like that every time we win, that's fine by me.
"Hey, this is a game, played by men. It's emotional, and celebrations are part of the game. But we would like to compose ourselves until after the game.
"I suppose I was surprised, a little bit, on how our players felt about the so-called streak."
Mornhinweg had consistently downplayed the significance of the Lions' winless record, but his players didn't.
They wanted no part of the lasting legacy that would've accompanied an 0-16 season.
"I think people were hoping we'd go 0-16," said fullback Cory Schlesinger, who scored the go-ahead touchdown with 10:36 left Sunday. "We finally got that first win, but I'm not going to be satisfied until we win the next three."
That won't be easy.
Detroit (1-12) plays Sunday at Pittsburgh, which has an NFL-best 11-2 record. Then the Lions finish with Chicago (10-3) and Dallas (4-9) at home.
The Lions will answer an interesting question in the following weeks.
Now that they can blend in among the teams with the poorest records in NFL history -- and not stand out as the worst -- will they still be motivated?
"After an emotional type of situation that we just had," Mornhinweg said, "one of the keys will be: Let's make sure we refocus because everybody is getting patted on the back. All of that stuff is out Wednesday morning, and the whole focus is on Pittsburgh."
The win finally allows some observations to be made without the qualifying statement: "But they haven't won a game."
Rookie defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, with 78 tackles, has been consistently dominant. Rookie offensive tackle Jeff Backus has been worthy of a first-round pick.
After a lackluster 2000 season, Robert Porcher has made 10 sacks to bring back his reputation as one of the league's best defensive ends.
Morton, who has 60 receptions for 947 yards, has played remarkably well considering defenses have double-teamed him because of season-ending injuries to Germane Crowell and Herman Moore.
Stewart has shown the courage to play hurt and the ability to average nearly 70 yards a game rushing without much help around him. Schlesinger, with his 46 catches, can do more than just the gritty work.
And the Lions may have found a future quarterback in Mike McMahon.
The fifth-round pick from Rutgers has dazzled fans with his quick feet and strong arm while pleasing his coaches and teammates by not throwing an interception in two starts since Charlie Batch's season-ending shoulder surgery.