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Detroit Lions Postgame Transcripts 9/23

Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia

Opening Statement: "Obviously it was good to get the win and put ourselves in a position where we could play 60 minutes tonight. I'm really proud of the players. I think they did a great job tonight. Give them all the credit for going out and trying to execute the plan and to go for a hard, tough football game against a great football team like the Patriots. I think the guys really understood that they had to do a lot better here all the way around and I think it started with the week of practice. I think we had a good week of practice, I think the guys kind of dove into it right from the start and really tried to do everything they could to learn the game-plan, learn our opponent, and go from there. So, just real proud of them. I think they did a great job. Give all the credit to the players, they're the ones that did it out on the field. But understand that's a really good football team we just played right there. Those guys are outstanding players. They're coached at the highest level, so that's a tough, hard, game."

On the performance tonight against such a quality opponent...

"We try to go out every single week and do the best that we can. And again, give the credit to those guys. They did a good job and I thought they really tried to execute the plan well and I'm happy that we were able to get that done."

On the importance of never losing the momentum tonight...

"I think for us we try to go out every single week and execute at a high level on every play. No matter what the situation is, we're really trying to go out and play that play particularly well and execute at a high level. And it was good that we were able to get that on a more consistent basis."

On the success of the running game tonight...

"The biggest thing, obviously, I'm just happy for the guys. I think they're the ones that deserve it. They're the ones that have been working really hard and I'm glad they got an opportunity to enjoy this. Like I told them after the game, I said, 'This is fun. This is what's fun about playing the game. Coming out and playing well.' To be honest with you, I really thought the fans were just unbelievable tonight. I thought the noise and the advantage that we had—the games are hard. There are a lot of things that go on in the game and it goes up and down and the ebbs and flows of it, but just having the constant fans kind of backing all the way through the game tonight, even when things don't necessarily go the way you want them to go and knowing that you still have the crowd behind you and they're still cheering and they're still making an impact on the opponent. It was a big advantage for us. So, that was great to see tonight. I was glad that we gave them something to cheer about."

On his thoughts on seeing Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick after the game...

"Honestly, I just wanted to find him and shake his hand. There were just a lot of people in my way. I have the most respect for Coach (Bill) Belichick and everything that he does with his program and the way that he coaches his team and everything he taught me. So, I just wanted to find him, I wanted to shake his hand, give him a hug and then go find my team."

On if he wanted more time to speak with Belichick...

"He's got his team, I got my team. We have to go make sure we're seeing everybody."

On the statistical balance thanks to the run game...

"Again, I think I mentioned this maybe earlier, I think our guys have been working really hard at the run game. I know there's kind of stigmatism of the run game around here and however long it's been since we've run the ball well, and I don't really think that's fair to these guys that are this year's team. They're trying to do a great job running the ball this year. I think we would have run the ball last week productively also if the game hadn't gotten twisted on us there late in the game. So, I was just glad they were able to do it. Again, give credit to the big guys up front, the guys on the edge and certainly the running backs. And just everybody on the offensive side of the ball staying consistent with the plan and sticking to it. So, I'm just real happy for them."

On his decision to go for a field goal instead of a touchdown in the first quarter...

"It's really hard. That's a really tough call. I know the crowd favorite would have been to go for it, but I think in that point of the game being so early, you need points. You need to make sure you maximize every single drive. So, at that point if it's inches or one or two, it doesn't really matter. You just have to get the points and hope that you're in a position to play good defense. What you don't want to do is have something bad happen in that situation and then give them momentum. A game like this is definitely about momentum. And scoring points gives you momentum and that's what we needed to do."

On what he saw that made him decide to challenge the call on WR Kenny Golladay's touchdown...

"I just saw the ball crossed and thought it was a good opportunity for us to challenge. It was the first half, so it's a good risk to take in that situation because the points obviously are critical."

On what changed in the first couple of the weeks of the season to now...

"I don't know. Every week we're just trying to get better. We're just trying to improve. I think the process for us gets a little bit tighter, a little bit cleaner. When you get into the regular season you go through different modes. You go through the spring, you go through training camp, you go through preseason games. You go from the transition from preseason to regular season and just trying to get in-sync and get into a rhythm. All that helps. But honestly just give credit to the players. They did a great job this week in coming out and preparing and went out and executed at a high level."

On who gave him the game ball and what plans he has for it...

"That was very generously from the team. Those guys were real excited and honestly that thing belongs to the players, they're the ones who went out and won."

On the importance of his team's physicality tonight...

"I mean honestly for me right now we're just, give credit for the game itself. Don't worry about anything else. I think the guys played really well tonight. I think they believed in what they were doing. I think they went out and executed at a high level. The other stuff for us, again, we have a pretty constant approach every single day and that's just try to get better. Some days we do, some days we don't. The thing I will tell you this is we work really hard to get better every day. These guys, you know, I fully believe in that blue collar work ethic, you know grind it out, work hard during the week. Shoot, that's what this city does, right? Doesn't everyone in this city go out and work really hard every single day? So why are we any different? That's what we're going to do every single day. We're going to try and work hard and try to get better. Some days we do, some days we don't just like everybody, but we're trying to be as consistent as possible."

On if he believes in game-to-game momentum...

"It's hard. You'd like to, you know, you'd obviously like to get that you know if you could week in and week out, but I think each week is different in the NFL. I mean, it's so hard, it's different, it's not the same every week, so you really almost have to reset every single week and you know, you grind it out, you play the game, you empty the tank, you come back in the next day and you start filling it back up and get ready for the next game. And that's what we got to do every week. It's just too hard."

On the offense running the clock down...

"You know, I think those guys did a great job with that, you know what I mean. I mean obviously that was a key part of the game for us and we certainly don't want to give the ball back to them, they're extremely dangerous. But the fact that those guys were able to do that and execute, still think they stayed aggressive though. You know, I think we were doing a good job of just trying to mix it up and do everything we thought we had to do to win really, to be honest with you. So, just glad it worked out that way."

On if time of possession was a part of the game-plan...

"I mean, you know, just in general you're always trying to have good, sustained, consecutive drives and fortunately for us it kind of worked out that way where we were able to burn some clock. You know, have successful drives from that standpoint and you know, ultimately we're trying to score and sometimes you score fast and sometimes you don't and look again, I was just glad the guys went out and executed at a high level. I thought they really did a great job."

On if RB Kerryon Johnson did anything to surprise him...

"You know, I think Kerryon (Johnson) did, a lot of what we saw coming out. You know, a lot of what we liked from him that definitely shows up. But I think all those guys, all the backs, work really hard and think they all have something a little bit different that they provide for us. So, you know, just good team win. That's the bottom line. That's what it's all about."

On if he could sense tonight's performance on the horizon...

"You know, you never really know how it's going to turn out in a game. They're working too, so you're not really sure what kind of week they had. But for us, I think it was good to see us have the week we had and then come out and have the game that we did. I think that's a real positive."

Quarterback Matthew Stafford

On tonight's game...

"We were just going out there and trying to play. We know New England is a multiple defense. I was going to have a lot to look at when I got to the line of scrimmage, trying to get us in the right run plays, the right pass plays, whatever it was. Our guys did a great job communicating, executing, and they had some guys dinged up a little bit so we didn't really know what they were going to come out and play. And there were some changes, some adjustments we had to make. Jim Bob (Cooter) did a great job getting us into some good plays and we went and played well."

On what this win means to Head Coach Matt Patricia...

"I'm sure it meant a lot. Obviously, his first win as a head coach in the NFL, probably no sweeter than to do it against your old team. He has a lot of respect for those guys, we all do in our locker room. They're a really good football team, well coached. But we needed this one. It was great to have them come into our place on a big stage and be able to do something like that."

On the success of the running backs...

"It was great. Really our backs played well. Theo (Riddick) in the pass game did a nice job a couple times, Kerryon (Johnson) was really good running the ball. I thought LeGarrette (Blount) was good running the ball. A ton of credit to our guys up front. That's a defense that does not want you to run the football on them and we did it and I was happy to be a part of it. Those guys deserve it. They've been working extremely hard, they've been hearing it from you guys for a long time and it's just nice to put that one behind us and go play some football."

On what it is about rookie RB Kerryon Johnson that makes him special...

"I think he just does everything well. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, he's a smart player, he's got good vision. He's a slippery runner. He's got probably a little bit more strength than people give him credit for, a little bit more speed. It doesn't maybe jump off the page to you but when he's out there he's really efficient and does some really nice things."

On how the defense looked different to him tonight...

"For me, they wanted to play a little bit of cover two tonight. We have not played a whole lot of cover two all year; they wanted to play a little cover two spy because they were dinged up at the cornerback position and some spots. We were able to get first downs running it, that's what you should do. That is what we can do and our guys up front did a hell of a job and our backs the same. We were just trying to take what the defense was going to give us and if they were going to give us a couple decent looks to run the ball, we're going to go try and do it. We did and we were successful."

On tonight's offense in light of the last few weeks...

"No, I'm just going to take this game and learn from it. I've got mistakes that I've got to get better at in this game, I've got good plays that I need to continue to build on, we all do. This game is its own entity and next week will be the same."

RB KERRYON JOHNSON

On what it means for the team to have a 100-yard rusher...

"I think we saw a different offense today and we won. So, I think it helped us a lot, opened a lot of our passes, it made life a lot easier for (Matthew) Stafford and our receivers and the O-line did a fantastic job. It takes a lot to get us there, it takes a lot to do that and pass-block and they did an awesome job."

On what was working so well today on offense that the team didn't have in the other two games...

"I think this was our most physical game that we've played so far. We came out, we made a decision to run it downhill and our O-line got behind it, we got behind it, and that's what we started to do. We came out and both of us, me and LG (LeGarrette Blount), were both running the ball downhill at the beginning and we just carried it through the whole game, 60 minutes."

On the scene in the locker room after the victory...

"It was all joy. Not only was that his (Head Coach Matt Patricia) former team, but that's a great team. They've been great for a while, they'll continue to be good in the future. So, to get a win over a prominent team in the NFL, over his former team, you can imagine the scene. It was great."

On where he was in 2013 when the Lions last had a 100-yard rusher...

"Well, I graduated high school in '15, so I was 15 years old, a sophomore in high school. I was probably winning state or something, I don't know. But, it was a while, that's for sure."

On if he felt like he would get to 100 yards tonight...

"Like you said, it's a lot easier when you break a long one. But they're a good team. They're a good defense, they're sound, they tackle, they don't make many mistakes. So, we knew it was going to be a grind, but we were ready for it. We were ready for the grind and I'm going to say grind again. We grinded it out."

On how much the defense helped contribute to the win, especially with three-and-outs...

"I think that's more impressive than what we did on offense. Everybody wanted to question them. You know, 'It's Tom Brady. It's Gronk (Rob Gronkowski). It's this and that.' And they came out there and they played their tails off. So, if we can keep these two combined efforts up, I think our future is bright."

CB DARIUS SLAY

On if he read Patriots QB Tom Brady on his interception...

"Yeah, I knew he needed a shot, but I didn't know what kind of route he (would) run until the end. But I got eyes on the ball, tagged it at the highest point and I made a play."

On both sides of the ball giving the other side credit for this win...

"It's a team effort. All team. We could have did better on special teams, less penalties, but other than that it was a team effort. We got three and out, got off the field as fast as we can. They on the field as long as they possibly can and we executed well."

On how it helped during the week that Head Coach Matt Patricia was familiar with the Patriots...

"It made it smooth. He understands, he's a smart man and he's just out there doing his job as a head coach. Putting his two cents in, we applied the pressure and we got a dub."

On how he shut down Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski...

"We were just trying to get hands on him every possible play, he's a big guy. Catch radius is big. Obviously, the best tight end in the league, great hands. So we just knew that was his go-to guy so we had to take him away."

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