Freitag, November 25, 2011


The following are postgame notes and quotes from the Detroit Lions' 27-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers today at Ford Field.

  • Today’s game was Detroit’s 72nd Thanksgiving Day game, a tradition first started in 1934.
  • This was the 20th meeting between the Lions and Packers on Thanksgiving.
  • Today’s attendance was 66,263. It is the Lions’ second-largest crowd at Ford Field (opened in 2002)
  • Today’s start by Lions T Jeff Backus is the 171st consecutive start of his career. He tied Lions Hall of Fame CB Dick LeBeau for the most consecutive starts in team history.
  • Backus has started every game since he was drafted by the Lions in 2001.
  • He now has the seventh-most consecutive starts by an offensive lineman in the NFL since 1970.
  • WR Calvin Johnson finished the game with 4 catches for 49 yards and 1 touchdown. For the season he now has 1,023 receiving yards.
  • It is the third time in his career he has registered 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. He is the first receiver in Lions history to record 1,000 receiving yards three times (1,331 in 2008 and 1,120 in 2010) in the first five seasons with the team.
  • Johnson’s touchdown reception occurred on a 3-yard toss from QB Matthew Stafford. It is Johnson’s 12th touchdown catch on the year which leads the NFL. He now has recorded 12 touchdown receptions in three of his first five seasons (also had 12 in 2008 and 2010).
  • By catching 12 touchdown passes in three of his first five NFL seasons, Johnson joins Hall of Famers WR Lance Alworth and Jerry Rice as the only players in NFL history with 12+ TD catches three times in their first five seasons.
  • He is the 10th player in NFL history to record 12 touchdown receptions in three different seasons.
  • QB Matthew Stafford threw for 276 yards in today’s gave, moving his season total to 3,119. He has the most passing yards by any Lions quarterback through the season’s first 11 games in team history (previous best was QB Jon Kitna 2,897 in 2007). His is the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for 3,000 yards in the season’s first 11 games.
  • Stafford’s 3,000-yard season is the eighth in team history and he is the fifth quarterback to accomplish this feat.
  • His 3,119 passing yards ranks sixth all-time for a single season.
  • With 1 touchdown pass today, Stafford now has thrown 26 touchdowns on the season. He tied Hall of Fame QB Bobby Layne (26, 1951) for the second-highest single-season tally in team history. QB Scott Mitchell holds the team record with 32 in 1995.
  • Stafford’s 26 touchdown passes through 11 games ties Layne (26, 1951) for the most touchdown passes by a Lions quarterback through 11 games in team history.
  • DE Cliff Avril registered a sack (11 yards loss) and a forced fumble in today’s game. He now has 7.0 sacks on the year and a career high 5 forced fumbles.
On the DT Ndamukong Suh play: “I didn’t really see it on the field. I saw the end of it and I was asking him what happened. He said he was being held in the scrum and was trying to get out of the situation. Obviously they threw a flag and (he) got ejected from the game. We can’t afford to lose anybody, much less a healthy player. Regardless of what our intent is, we can’t put ourselves in that position.”
On if he is disappointed that Suh put himself in that position: “I didn’t see it when it was on the field – I don’t have the benefit of anything. I know what he told me his intent was; was getting out of the situation, so that’s difficult to say you’re disappointed with somebody when their intent is to get out of the situation. But, also, we can’t leave any grey area and can’t give an official any reason to make that call.”
On if he’s seen the replay: “No, I have not.”
On if he’s worried about a suspension: “I’m worried about losing this game.”
On what he thinks happened in the game: “It was fairly obvious what happened. We moved the ball in the first half and we couldn’t get points from it. We missed a field goal; we had penalties derail drives and we had those opportunities to get points on the board and to get a lead in the first half and we accomplished neither of those. We went down 7-0 and then with the injuries that we had –we lost Delmas early and then lost Chris Houston in the first half and then we kept losing defensive backs. We were playing with Rashied Davis for most of the fourth quarter in this game. At that point, it was very difficult to get back in.
“We lost Kevin Smith early; was running very, very well and after we missed those opportunities in the first, a good team like the Packers won’t give you a chance to get back in it.”
On if he expects any of the injuries to be long-term: “Too early to say. But let’s be optimistic, let’s hope none of them are.”
On his impression of the Packers after playing them for the first time this year: “I mean, they’re a good team; they’re undefeated; they’re the world champs. But, we didn’t take care of what we needed to take care of in this game. We had opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them.”
On the interceptions: “The first one, D-lineman didn’t rush, tipped the ball, Clay Matthews, made a great play. You know, the second one, they made another great play. I was trying to go to Pettigrew over the middle and the guy jumped way up and made a great pick. On the last one, guy just took it, you know. I thought it was a good play, he just made a better one.”
On if he thinks the Packers were better and deserved to win: “I felt like we match-up – I still do feel like we match-up really well against those guys. We didn’t play our best; we didn’t’ get a bunch of the breaks today.
“We got penalized early on in the game. We were moving the football a couple times and you know, that hurt us early on. And the second half, (we) just didn’t make enough plays to win the game. But we match up well with those guys. Our defense did a great job of trying to keep the score down; we put them in some tough spots.”
On not scoring: “Yeah I mean it’s tough. You know, we got to get down there. When we cross the 50, we got to do a better job of getting points on the board. We knocked ourselves out of field goal range a couple times, had some chances to get first downs deep into their territory and didn’t get them.”
On if losing RB Kevin Smith early affected the offense and the play-calling: “That changed some. I think the score changed it, too. You know, having to chuck the ball a bunch to try to get back in it, and obviously, losing Kevin was tough.”
On if his finger hurts more than he’s letting on: “No, nope.”
On what DT Ndamukong Suh said in the locker room: “He may be doing it right now.”
On what he thought of Ndamukong Suh’s ejection: “I didn’t see it. I had no idea what happened. I really didn’t see either of the ejections.”
On what the team’s mindset is moving forward: “Try to get to 8-4. We got a chance to. We got to go down to New Orleans, play a really good Saints team in a tough place on Sunday Night Football, and we got to show up and play well. It’s a very good football team, a high powered offense, and you know, a pretty good defense, too. So, those guys are very multiple. They get after it, and you know, it’s a challenge for us. We just got to look at the film, get better, and come out with a good plan next Sunday.”
On how it feels missing an opportunity to make a statement to the league about how good the Lions are: “It doesn’t really matter. It’s just on us. We didn’t do what we had to do. When you give a good team like that the ball on our side of the field, what can you expect?”
On why all the self-inflicted errors occurred during the game: “I can’t tell you why. Penalties, turnovers and those things, when you got those on your stat sheet, you don’t win a lot of games. You got to eliminate those and the story of the year, we have to start faster on offense. We can’t continue to do that against a good team. We beat ourselves.”
On if DT Ndamukong Suh’s ejection affects the offense: “It doesn’t affect us. We still have to do what we do. We have to be mentally strong team and things don’t go your way all the time. You have to fight through it and keep pushing.”
On why QB Matthew Stafford is throwing more interceptions the second part of the season: “We just got to get back our timing. All of us got to do a better job with that. We have to help pitch in and do whatever we have to do to sacrifice for the team.”
On if the frustration of this loss comes from trying to change the national image of the Detroit Lions: “Any loss is frustrating, especially on Thanksgiving. We had a very positive vibe going into the week and even today. It’s just the turnovers.”
On the second-half: “To be in the position we were, that was just down seven at half, that’s good. If you’re within seven you have a fighting chance. It slipped away from us there the second half.”
On when he was told there was a chance he could play defense: “They mentioned it at halftime. I used to play defensive back so it’s not that much of a stretch, but I hadn’t done it since 2005.”
On if their own mistakes cost them the game: “Exactly. Until we start doing what we need to do and trying to handling the penalties and controlling tempers and (crap) like that… We need to make sure we quit beating ourselves. We are beating ourselves.”
On how disappointing the loss is: “It is extremely disappointing. But again it is only one game. We are 7-4. We need to go out and play disciplined next week, beat the Saints (and) just do our jobs. Come out, stop beating ourselves. If we don’t beat ourselves today, the game is a lot closer than it winds up. I believe we win if we don’t beat ourselves. But we did. I want to give credit to them. They are a great team obviously, they are 11-0. They have a great quarterback, great receivers and great players on the defense. They made some phenomenal plays, but we need to stop beating ourselves.”
Opening statement: “First and foremost I’m only going to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, and my true fans for allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game. What I did was remove myself from the situation in the best way I felt and me being held down in the situation that I was in and for that, my intentions were not to kick anybody, as I did not, removing myself. As you see, I’m walking away from the situation. With that, I apologize to my teammates, and my fans, and my coaches for allowing…putting myself in a position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game.”
On what situation he was in: “The situation that I was in? I was on top of a guy being pulled down and trying to get up off the ground, why you see me pushing his helmet down, because I’m trying to remove myself from the situation and as I’m getting up, I’m getting pushed, so I’m getting myself on balance and getting out of the situation. Which, with that, a lot of people are going to interpret it as, or create their own storylines for seeing what they want to interpret it, but I know what I did and the man upstairs knows what I did.”
On whether he intentionally stepped on another player: “Not by any means. I understand in this world because of the type of player and type of person I am, all eyes are on me. So why would I do something to jeopardize myself and jeopardize my team first and foremost.
“I don’t do bad things, and I have no intention to hurt somebody. If I want to hurt him, I’m going to hit his quarterback, as I did throughout that game.”
On the leg motion: “The leg motion? I’m on one leg and I’m trying to get out of myself at the same time being pushed by his teammates, so where, how am I supposed to do anything else?”
On if he pushed down forcefully with his leg: “I’m pushing down forcefully to get up and get myself out of the situation.”
On if he’s seen the tape: “Yes I have seen it.”
On what he sees on the tape: “If I see a guy stepping on somebody, I feel like they’re going to lean into it and forcefully stand over the person or step on that person. I’m going the opposite direction to where he’s at, so that’s where I leave it.”
On pushing his helmet down multiple times: “Yes, I did push his helmet multiple times, because he’s holding on to me and he’s grabbing. That’s the reason why I’m on the top and I’m not at the quarterback, because I’m being held down by him, and so I’m pushing him off of me.”
On if he was chippy or edgy going into the game: “I’m composed as I go into every single game. That’s why you don’t see me “rah rah rah,” running around, being loud, because that’s not my style. I don’t play that. I play very composed and I can handle anything that you throw at me, as I’ve continued to do.”
On how this will effect perception of him: “Like I said, you guys are going to create your own storyline, people are going to have their own opinions—that’s fine. The only (people) that I really care about are my teammates, my true fans, and my coaches and their opinions and that’s where it lies. And honestly, the most important person in this whole thing that I have to deal with is the man upstairs.”
On if expects discipline: “That’s their decision—I can’t speak on that. I don’t have a decision in that making.”
On if he’s concerned about being disciplined: “I have no clue.”
On limiting the Packers to 54 yards rushing: “Yeah, but their No. 1 weapon is isn’t the running game, it's obviously Aaron Rodgers getting in a rhythm and getting big plays. He came out in the second-half and hit us with a couple of big ones."
On how tough it is to lose: “That's part of the game. We have to keep going. It's unfortunate that we came out (the way we did). When you play a team like this, you can't shoot yourself in the foot. We made too many dumb penalties, bad errors with throwing the ball (and) we didn't get any turnovers on defense. When you're going against a good team, it's hard to win when you do those things."
On how much of a difference there really is between the Lions and the Packers: “It's hard to say. I thought we matched-up with them pretty well. It's hard to blitz a guy that gets the ball out as fast as he does. You have to get pressure up front and we had been playing pretty good in the backend manning guys. We got a couple of guys banged up and kind of got out of a rhythm in the second half. We couldn't really get a hold of it."
On what makes the Packers offense so good: “They do a lot of good schemes on offense. They always check into the best play possible. Guys are so worried about their pass, Rodgers will check to a run or check to something that finds a weakness in the defense, so obviously it's a well-coached team and when you have somebody behind like Rodgers that can execute, you're pretty good."
Opening statement: “I’ll have the injuries: (Desmond) Bishop had a calf; A.J. Hawk also had a calf strain, and Josh Sitton had a knee sprain. With that, I’ll take your questions.”
On RB James Starks’ injury: “You know, it’s a…I think he just tweaked his ankle again.”
On how satisfying winning this game was: “I felt it was an excellent character win for our football team, something we talked about at halftime. (It was) a tough day for both teams. A lot of injuries throughout the game, but both teams had to play with players and different personnel (groups) and so forth, so I’m very proud of our football team to fight through adversity.
“We had a lot of young guys step up big today, had a lot of guys play a lot of football today. Big road win, division games are always the biggest. We knew it was going to be a physical, aggressive game; the stadium was electric. Obviously, it was a great atmosphere—it’s all part of Thanksgiving Day. So, we feel very good about ourselves today.”
On scoring two touchdowns after Suh’s ejection: “It had nothing to do with our performance of that play. The two teams that were battling, you had some extracurricular activity. It gave us another first down, but we just had a plan.
“(We were) exclusively no huddle in the first half. I thought Aaron did an excellent job managing that, (he) just didn’t handle the third-and-1-5s. (I) give credit to Detroit, they did a good job and they do a very good job on third down, as evident by their statistics.
“So, we went to more of a multi-personnel formation format in the second half, and we were very productive and ran our offense.”
On their defensive plan: “Kept them out of the endzone. They do a great job of that, and you know, the takeaways. It’s been a staple of our football team for the last three years. We take the football away, we take care of it, everybody preaches it, everybody practices it. But we do as good or better than anybody in the League, and that was evident today.”
On the touchdown pass to WR James Jones: “It was just play-action, hard play-action. Stepped up and threw it, under threw it a little bit, but didn’t want to overthrow. (He) made a nice catch and ran.”
On the difference between first- and second-half: “Probably third down conversions. And we went more, little more under center in the second half, and had some success, at least just kind of keeping those drives going, putting us in third and manageable situations and we converted those a little bit better in the second half.”
On the offense not retaliating when things got chippy: “Yeah we try to rise above anything that happens on the field and you know, I’m proud of our guys, the way we play, the way we competed, and you know, it was a tough game. They’re a good opponent, got a real good defense, and we were able to, I believe, (allow) no sacks, unless they counted that one where I got tackled. So, no sacks, and did a nice job of giving me some time in the pocket.”
On if they were prepared for chippiness this week: “In a rivalry game like today, it’s going to be a hard fought game, but I’m proud of our guys, the way we played, and played between the whistles, and you know, it was a tough game for us, physical, and I’m glad we got the win.”
On if it’s difficult not to retaliate: “Well, that’s just the way we’re coached I think. We’re coached to play the game the way we’re coached to play and to not try to get into all the other stuff that can happen after the whistle. Vanden Bosch is a…what he was saying to me was very mild I’d say for trash talking .He was just commenting on his hit and asking me if I was okay, which I responded to, and told him he might have a penalty flag, which he wasn’t surprised about. You know, it was pretty friendly trash talk, but I mean, they’re a group that likes to fly around and there’s occasionally some things that might happen after the whistle.”
On the difficulty of the game: “It was a tough game for us. It was hard coming off that short week and coming in and playing at 12:30, so it came around pretty early but we gutted it out. We had some guys going down and had some guys come in and step up, so that is what you got to do with a team looking to do the things we are trying to do so it was a good win for us.”
On the confidence this team has: “It goes without saying that we are undefeated to this point and we just feel like we have guys that continue to step up regardless of what happens. Coming off of last year, we feel like (when) guys go down, there is no excuse why we still can’t win so that is the mindset we bring to every game.”
On his interception: “Just making a play on the ball. See it develop, see it leave his hand and just went to go make a play.”
On the Lions getting a lot of yards and not getting any points: “I mean anytime you can keep a team from getting points, it is a big win for your team so this is a team that is capable of putting up a lot of points. They have shown that throughout the season. Last week, you saw what they did coming back and winning a game so that is a big plus for this team to go out there and hold them from getting points.”
On if this is becoming a rivalry: “Yeah, when you have a team like this that is on the rise, a team that gave us a loss last year late in the season and they were making some strides to become a good team and they put together a great effort this year so far so I think it is a rivalry. There is a lot of talk earlier this week about years ago what happened. So it was a lot of hype surrounding this game and it was good for us to come out with a victory.”
On what the Packers defensive effort showed today: “Well it shows what we are capable of. Obviously, we had a dominating performance against the Vikings and we kind of took a step back with last week’s performance, this week we did some good things as well as some bad things. So it shows we have the capability and we are making progress. We really overcame a lot of adversity today, lot of injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball, so it shows we are making progress and we are getting better as the year progresses.”
On if he could sense the ‘chippiness’ of the game: “You understand when you play in the Black and Blue Division that it is going to be a little chippy. So we understood, especially on Thanksgiving Day, national TV, wanting to knock off an undefeated team that we were going to get their best shot and that is exactly what we got today. So you can sense that was there and unfortunately there were two ejections which I don’t think took away from much of the game, but I think for the most part it was a fair game, well played.”
On his interception: “I caught the ball and almost scored. Someone tipped it and I caught it. It was awesome.”
On if this game felt like a playoff game: “I wouldn’t say a playoff atmosphere, but it was a big win for us.”
On what this loss does to the Lions: “I think it put fire in them actually. I think it is going to put some fire in them. They didn’t lose to a sorry team. I think they will bounce back from it. They are a good team.”
On the difference between the first-half and second-half: “First half, I think we were caught up in the hype and all of that and going out with little jitters, a little butterflies in us. Second-half, we calmed down and played our type of football.”
On getting scores right after turnovers: “That’s huge. Every time we get past the 50, it can get real dangerous.”

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