The difference in the Detroit Lions’ locker room Monday afternoon was obvious. It could be felt. It could be seen.

Mostly, it could be heard.

The cacophony of noise that reverberated through the locker room a day after the Lions posted one of their biggest recent upsets told the whole story.

The 26-10 win on Sunday Night Football over the New England Patriots was a cure for what ailed the much-maligned Lions. Of course the players felt better, maybe even lighter. The victory lifted their spirits and got the media and fans off their backs.

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“We won, we won,” receiver Golden Tate said. “So it’s kind of a sigh of relief. We worked so hard, going all the way back to April and finally get our first win under all this new stuff is big. Against a team like that that’s a yearly contender for the Super Bowl, it’s a pretty big deal.”

If you want to gauge the mood of an NFL locker room, listen to the banter. If there isn’t much, something usually isn’t right. And if the banter trends toward one specific topic — who’s better, LeBron James of Kobe Bryant? — then you know all is right.


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So it was that LeGarrette Blount and Marquis Flowers and Christian Jones and just about anyone within earshot argued about the two NBA superstars’ preeminence. You only need three words to start an argument in an NFL locker room: LeBron or Kobe? The Lions were happy to dive into some bar-stool bickering.

Even usually tight-lipped coach Matt Patricia let his guard down a bit during his news conference. When one reporter inquired about his health and sleeping habits, Patricia said: “Yeah, well, this is a picture of health up here.”

“Yesterday was probably the first time in a long time that I felt we played a complete team football game against a good team,” Tate said.

The veteran receiver outlined all the ingredients that went into the winning recipe: Balance between running and passing on offense, dominating time of possession and Matthew Stafford and the offensive line looking “very, very comfortable.”

“That’s what you want,” Tate said. “That’s how it looks in practice and it all started with a good week of practice. We had three good days of practice and it showed.”

The question now becomes whether the Lions can parlay this mood and this big win into something more, perhaps a victory in Dallas or maybe even the wins Tate said last week often “come in bunches.”

“I think we should realize what it’s like to win, what it feels like to come in on a Monday after (winning) a game,” he said. “It makes those corrections a lot easier to deal with. Just keep building on it. Let’s see how far we can take this. We’ll see if we can play our best football from now on out.”

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Contact Carlos Monarrez at or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.