EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- They weren't trying to send any big messages, make any grandiose statements or massive proclamations with how they played Monday night. No interest in that, even if that is somewhat how things went down.
Most of the Detroit Lions brushed off Monday night's 24-10 win over the New York Giants as just another football game. They didn't see any extra meaning how dominant they had been against a team that made the playoffs last year -- and had handled them fairly well a season ago at MetLife Stadium.
Nope, they were interested in precisely none of that. No talks about being contenders or possibly one of the teams to watch in the NFC after two weeks of the season.
"No, I think that's stuff you guys like to talk about and write about," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "For us, we're on a short week against defending Super Bowl runner-ups."
A lot of that is fair, and perhaps warranted considering Detroit is a franchise that has had teams jump out to strong starts to seasons before only to see things unravel -- last season and 2013 being the two most recent memories. But this, for some reason, felt unique.
The Lions just haven't won games like this before -- not on this type of stage, in this type of way. National stages with chances to prove themselves have been, for years, places where Detroit has failed. The more the pressure, the more attention, the more the Lions seemed destined to play mistake-filled, disastrous football.
Yes, there will be tough games and possible losses along the way -- Sunday against Atlanta is going to be a massive test -- but Detroit showed something against the Giants.
No, Monday night against New York was something rarely seen from the Lions. They appeared comfortable. They never seemed panicked or rattled and gave the impression they were comfortable and in control. They made big plays when they had to. They rarely gave up big gains at all.
"I know it's been a team, traditionally in the past, that things haven't been very great, but we don't talk about that," right guard T.J. Lang said. "We talk about that. We talk about the football team we have right now.
"We've got a lot of good things going for us two weeks in."
That's the key. Most players focused on the same general theme: It's only two weeks. But the two weeks have been really good.
It starts with how the Lions have played as much as that they’ve won. They didn't need a last-minute comeback to win. They didn't need Stafford to put together a fourth-quarter rally or Matt Prater to hit a game-winning field goal or Darius Slay to force a game-changing turnover when things looked bleak.
Those three guys still made massive plays -- Stafford with smart decisions, Prater with an off-the-crossbar-and-in field goal and Slay with two big passes defended and a team-high eight tackles. But they were surrounded by other players who made smart contributions, too.
This is an offense that has been average statistically but efficient with a star quarterback making good decisions. It's a special teams group with a Pro Bowl kicker and an exciting young returner, Jamal Agnew, who flashed his potential on an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown that gave the Lions a comfortable margin.
And it's a defense ranked No. 7 in the league (289 yards allowed per game) that contained Arizona running back David Johnson and Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The defense, which is allowing only 53.5 yards per game rushing, has been the big surprise. It has also been the group that, so far, has shown the most consistency.
A pass-rush, which was questioned before the season, has six sacks in two games. The secondary has three interceptions and has been the most cohesive unit on the team. Rookie Jarrad Davis has handled the middle linebacker role well and Tahir Whitehead has fit in well on the outside.
It is the Detroit defense that has helped carry it all -- a group Stafford said "was nails" against the Giants. But are they for real over the long grind of a season?
"Oh yeah, it's for real," Slay said. "We for real. We ain't no fake. We're for real."
Detroit will get a real idea of this in less than a week, having to face the Falcons on short rest. The Falcons are not the Cardinals or Giants offensively. They have more than one established star. They have the reigning MVP as a quarterback and the best combination of offense and defense Detroit will have faced to date.
"We'll enjoy this one for about 30 minutes, I think," Stafford said. "And I'll be watching Atlanta as fast as I can."