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Coach Schwartz dishes out game ball to Lions' faithful

Ford Field 1, Da Bears 0.

After the Lions were treated to a raucous, pounding reception at Ford Field that never let up in Monday's 24-13 win over the Chicago Bears, Detroit's coach Jim Schwartz handed out a game ball to the team's most-deserving recipient: the fans.

The decorated football will live forever in a yet-to-be-determined corner of the stadium, which rocked out through four quarters, driving Jay Cutler and the Bears berserk.

"I'm all for (fans having a presence that's) intimidating," Schwartz told the Detroit Free Press. "They, obviously, did have an impact. It's not just a notion. It's not just an idea. Proof is in the pudding. It's one thing to be loud. It's another thing to affect the game, and I think that was obvious to anybody that was in that stadium.

"I don't know about people that watched it on TV, but if you were there, you felt it, and we need a lot more days like that."

The Free Press claims the 67,861 onlookers were the loudest in Ford Field history, and running back Jahvid Best said it fueled his upstart squad the entire way.

"It was just crazy," Best told WQAM-AM in Miami, via "We knew our fans were going to be tearing the roof off, but we didn't expect it to be at that level. These people are just so hungry for something to believe in and now they're getting it. They're just loving it."

For years, national exposure to the Lions fan base was limited to Thanksgiving Day mismatches and stories of woe. Children in Detroit have grown up never knowing the feeling of a Lions winner -- not to mention ripping off a 5-0 start on their way to becoming the early darlings of the 2011 campaign. It helps to have something to cheer about.

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