“The game at Minnesota was highly boring in the first half. We did not play up to ourstandards and I was a little disappointed about that, but proud of the way that we came back and finished it. It was something that really allowed us to show the fans and the league that we’re never going to roll over. It showed the heart that we have knowing that we had it in ourselves, we just had to take it one play at a time and get it done.
“It goes back to that same thing that I said when we were down in Tampa. In that first defensive series, they had the kickoff return back to the 30-yard line and no one was really concerned. We just went out there and played and held them to a field goal like we should have and took the game over from there.
“The Dallas offense definitely has a big passing attack. Then Felix Jones is a guy that I know personally and he is definitely a tough runner. He looks very small, but he has a big engine and he can definitely play to hurt you. We always go into every game wanting to stop the run, make them a one-dimensional team and get after their quarterback, because if their quarterback can’t throw the ball, those wide receivers and Jason Witten, the you ng guy Dez Bryant, they’re null and voided if he can’t get the ball to them.
“I really don’t care about Romo’s injury, that’s his own problem. If I hit it, I hit it, if I don’t, I don’t. As long as I’m disrupting him and making him feel uncomfortable and worried about where I’m at, then I’m doing my job.”
“Their offensive line is a lot different from what they had last year. They had a lot of big, heavy, strong guys. This year, they only have two guys returning with Doug Free and Kyle Kosier, who I’m actually going against. Then they have two rookies and I think a second-year guy at center. It’s something that they have to continue to work at together and it will be a learning curve for them, as well as for us to watch film and figure out what they’re doing and see what their weaknesses are.
“I’ve played at Cowboys Stadium twice before. We played there last year and I played there as a senior in college, it’s a beautiful stadium, I like playing in there, but for my own sake, I need to come out of that stadium with a win. I’m tired of coming out of that stadium with a loss after a good game.
“I think the key to this game is starting fast and to not have to have a comeback game. I think this will end up being a close game in some respect, but I feel that we also have an opportunity to not make it close; it’s just a matter of whether we want to do that or not.”
Tags: Ndamukong Suh, Week 4 - Lions at Cowboys
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“It was very cool to put last week’s thing away in overtime. We were just hoping to get the ball and we got it. I don’t think there was too much that was going to stop us. We understood the importance of the situation. We couldn’t have any mental mistakes and, on that specific play, Matt made a hell of a throw off his back foot as I saw watching the film. He put it out there for me to go get it.
“Riding this wave so far has been big. There haven’t been any 3-0 starts since I’ve been here. But at the same time – especially in that second half – we knew we were a better team than what we showed in that first half and we can’t always expect to be able to come back from being down 20 points like that against really, really good teams that are in this league. Definitely got to start faster but we know we’re a good team, so we have to come out in the first half like we’re a good team. We can’t wait until the second half.
“The difference between the two halves was a combination of things. Minnesota played their butts off in the first half on defense. That front line was a beast. They were getting all kinds of pressure and I really think that had a big impact on us. Those guys are hole-cloggers up in there. We really couldn’t get too much going in the run game because those guys are so big and fast up front. It’s tough. But the second half we started nickel and diming them down the field and finally got things going with the screen game. Pettigrew had the big second half and we were able to move the ball.
“Dallas has a strong rush also, but the only way it could affect us as receivers is if we’re not on time with our routes. There’s the possibility for the quarterback to be hurried, so we need to be where we need to be. If we’re not there then it can cause problems and the quarterback may be getting hit in the pocket if we’re not in our spots for him to get us the ball.”
Tags: Calvin Johnson
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Quarterback Matthew Stafford was on with ESPN’s Jim Rome on FOX Sports Radio yesterday to talk about Detroit’s comeback victory at Minnesota.
“Twenty points at halftime against a team that’s as good as the Vikings and as talented as the Vikings is tough,” he said. “Especially on the road.”
Stafford cited Detroit’s calm demeanor in the locker room at halftime as “what saved us.”
“The players all understood that we didn’t play our best football – we didn’t play like we play in the first half,” he said. “(We knew) if we went out there and executed and did our part, we could gain some momentum and get it going.”
The win pushed Detroit – and Stafford – full force into the media spotlight; a night-and-day difference from last season when Stafford suffered a shoulder injury Week 1.
“I was upset,” said Stafford of last season. “I felt I had done a lot to make sure I was ready for the season last year and for it to happen in Week 1 the way it did, wasn’t fun.
“I wasn’t a fun person to be around for awhile, but I used it to motivate myself and try and get better on and off the field.”
Stafford feels more prepared to prevent another injury from happening, but told Rome there is a little bit of luck involved as well.
“If it’s anything but my right shoulder last year, I’d probably have played through it. It’s just one of those things that I couldn’t play through.
“Hopefully, if I get a little tweak here and a tweak there this season, it’s nothing big (and) I can just play right through it.”
So what does it take, asked Rome, to go an entire career without missing a game like Brett Favre or Peyton Manning?
“Those guys are unbelievable,” said Stafford. “You’ve got to give respect to them. They get the ball out of their hands and they take hits too; it’s not like they aren’t taking hits.
“Those guys are just tough guys that have been doing it a long time. I admire the heck out of them.”
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Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson (along with Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick and New Orleans’ Drew Brees) have been nominated for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week for Week 3.
The GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week is the best moment or play of the week that represents determination and perseverance.
Fans may vote for one of these three moments on NFL.com/gmc beginning immediately following Monday Night Football and ending on Friday at noon ET to determine the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week. The winner will be announced Friday during NFL Network’s “Around the League” show and then posted on NFL.com.
After the regular season, fans will have a chance to determine the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year, from among the 17 weekly winners. Fans can vote for the winner on NFL.com/gmc throughout the month of January.
More on Stafford, Johnson key Lions’ comeback: Down 20-0 at halftime on the road against the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford led a second-half rally, throwing two touchdowns to WR Calvin Johnson, as the Lions erased that deficit and eventually defeated their longtime nemesis in overtime. The Lions are now 3-0 for the first time since 1980, and the win was their first in the Metrodome since 1997.
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Week 3 - Lions at Vikings
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TE Brandon Pettigrew (shoulder) and LB DeAndre Levy are both active and in the starting line-up for this afternoon’s game at Minnesota.
Detroit’s inactive list:
- QB Drew Stanton
- WR Rashied Davis
- T Jason Fox
- G Jacques McClendon
- DT Nick Fairley
- LB Doug Hogue
- CB Alphonso Smith
Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 3 Comments »
FOX analyst John Lynch weighed in on tomorrow’s NFC North match-up between the Detroit Lions (2-0) and Minnesota Vikings (0-2), which should be an exciting game between two good football teams.
“This is a good football team, in my mind, in Minnesota,” said Lynch. “They haven’t finished (games), which is the mark of a good football team, but they’ve taken two potential playoff teams – San Diego and Tampa – and really outplayed them in the first half. They just need to learn to finish.”
Detroit’s top defensive priority every week is to stop the run, but that is particularly emphasized when up against the Vikings.
“Adrian Peterson, in my mind, is the finest back in the National Football League,” said Lynch. “They know that’s key to their success, but obviously, they’ve got to do other things. They’ve got a guy in Percy Harvin who’s a pretty phenomenal player as well.
“Certainly your No. 1 priority has to be stopping Adrian, but that can’t solely be it. They do have Donovan McNabb. They’ve got (Bernard) Berrian, their tight ends are an explosive group.”
On the flip side, Lynch – a former Pro Bowl NFL safety – is also impressed with the Lions’ secondary, which has proven very capable the last two weeks.
“I love it. I played on a defense like that in Tampa where it started up front and the guys in the back end should be the first ones to appreciate that because it makes your job a lot easier.
“But (the Lions) have really raised their level of play in the back end. Eric Wright’s been key to that. His presence back there allows Gunther to call things a little more aggressive – more man-to-man.
“Chris Houston has raised the level of his game. I’ve always been a big (Louis) Delmas fan, but I think he’s turning that aggressiveness into playing really smart football and (Amari) Spievey was a corner transitioning to safety and you can tell he has a year under his belt.”
Though Detroit and Minnesota have gotten off to different starts this season, Lynch warns against going to sleep on the Vikings.
“You can talk about all the reasons (the Vikings) haven’t finished,” said Lynch. “But the bottom line is that big-time players have got to make a play. If they make one play in that second half, the game’s over.
“They know that, the Lions know that – everybody in this League knows that. They’re 0-2, but that doesn’t put you out. This is the first game of the division, so this is an important game for both teams.”
Tags: Amari Spievey, Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Louis Delmas
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In last week’s 48-3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, kicker Jason Hanson set the NFL’s record for most career games played with one team and became the seventh player in NFL history to record at least 1,900 points.
The football Hanson kicked through the uprights on his first PAT from that game – the point that gave him 1,900 for his career – is now sitting in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Read the full story – ‘Scoring another one for history’ – on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website.
Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 11 Comments »
Linebacker DeAndre Levy (knee) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (shoulder) were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game on the team’s injury report.
Defensive end Cliff Avril (knee), safety Louis Delmas (hip) and wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) were listed as probable.
Notable for the Vikings: defensive end Jared Allen (shoulder), wide receiver Percy Harvin (illness) and defensive tackle Kevin Williams (foot) are all probable.
Tags: Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril, DeAndre Levy, Louis Delmas, Week 3 - Lions at Vikings
Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 4 Comments »
The NFL announced today that quarterback Matthew Stafford has been voted the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week for his Week 2 performance against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Stafford finished the game 23-of-39 passing for 294 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in Detroit’s 48-3 win.
The margin of victory is the largest in Detroit Lions’ team history and Stafford’s seven touchdowns over two games ties a 1962 team record for the most touchdown passes in the season’s first two games.
To see more of Stafford’s performance, watch this week’s wired for sound.
Tags: Matthew Stafford
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“Last week’s win was one that I think we were definitely prepared for. They threw some little gadget stuff at us, but we responded the way we needed to. We expect every single team at some point in time in the game to throw something out at us that we haven’t seen. We handled that in the first quarter, where I thought we started a little slow. We responded well and I’m definitely proud of the defense for the way that we did. The offense did what they were supposed to do. They went down there and took care of business and scored a million, gazillion points, which is what we expect from them.
“Some of the adjustments that they made were that they ran a lot of reverses and just kind of dink-and-dunk things, screens, things that really weren’t big in their game plan. They were just throwing things off and running a lot of them. We weren’t really expecting that. We were expecting them to start downhill with their running game. I don’t know if they went away from that because of our interior play or because of our linebackers and how we filled and played throughout the preseason; but I think they thought they could use our speed against us and thought that we wouldn’t play sound football because we’re such a hustling team that likes to rally to the ball.
“They thought they could use that against us and they got us a couple of times, but it was a matter of taking care of business, sitting back and seeing what they wanted to do. We figured out their scheme and we handled it.
“The first home crowd was definitely very good. I can only imagine coming back and what that Monday Night game is going to be like. I look forward to it, but we have to take care of two back-to-back road games and really two important games, one starting with a divisional on the road opponent and then a Dallas team that squeaked by us last year.
“It’s going to be a good game at Minnesota. I think that they still feel they’ll be able to run on us and it’s something that we as a defense have to always be concerned with, especially with having one of the best backs in the NFL right now in Adrian Peterson. They also have Percy Harvin that’s mainly a wide receiver, but he’s also back there taking running back snaps, so it’s throwing a little wrench at us and it’s something that we’ll have to be prepared for. I think we had a great start to that today in our first practice.
“In my personal opinion these (divisional) games hold a little more value. First of all, you play them twice a year, but also because if you lose every single game, other than your divisional games, you’ll go to the playoffs. Those games in my eyes probably mean the most. Those are teams that you definitely want to take care of business.”
Tags: Ndamukong Suh, Week 3 - Lions at Vikings
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