Week six performance will not be making it onto any highlight reels.
Sometimes winning ugly is the most important lesson a football team can learn, and the Detroit Lions graduated week six of the NFL season with honours.
Lions quarterback Matt Stafford showed the frustration his team’s officials felt when he spiked the ball in the middle of a drive early in the second half.
It was meant as a message to the rest of his team to wake up and get on with the job off beating the Browns, who struggled to captalise on a Lions side who was not in-form.
“I knew it was going to take something to spark people,” Stafford said later. “That wasn’t false, man. I was happy, number one, to get the first down and number two to be down on the ground safe after a run.
“I just wanted to get guys going. It was time to go.”
Stafford’s message got through to his team as Detroit ran out 31-17 winners and took their season record to 4-2.
The Browns did look a chance of casing the upset as they went on a scoring spree in the second quarter, racking up all 17 of their points for the game.
But that would be as close as they would get as a half-fit Calvin Johnson, Stafford and the rest of the Lions side had enough class and execution to get the job done.
The Lions defence made life hard for Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, shutting down his passing game in the second half.
“I think there’s an element to that,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. “We knew that it wasn’t just going to be the offense playing well in the second half that was going to get us back in the game.
“We knew that we’d have to hit on all three phases and I think we did.”
The victory has kept the Lions in the hunt for a NFC playoff berth, thanks largely to their ability to win on the road with their two away victories as many as they team earned all of last season.
The Lions will host the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field in week seven while the Browns will look to hit back when they travel to Lambeau Field where they tackle Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.