Dienstag, Oktober 11, 2011


  • With the 24-13 win over the Chicago Bears, the Lions have now opened the 2011 season 5-0. It is the team’s first 5-0 start since 1956 and only the third in team history (1956, 1934).
  • The Lions current 9-game win streak dating back to last season (4 wins to end 2010) is the team’s longest since 1953-54.
  • It is the Lions first 5-game win streak in one season since the team had a 7-game win streak in 1995.
  • The crowd of 67,861 for the Lions Monday Night Football game set a new Ford Field record for a Lions game since the team opened the stadium in 2002. The previous record was 63,257 vs. Green Bay November 11, 2007.
  • Monday night’s crowd was only 345 fans shy of the attendance for Super Bowl XL (68,206). 
  • Detroit Lions K Jason Hanson has become the first player in NFL history to player 300 career games with one team. In Week 2, he set the NFL record (297) for the most games played with one team in NFL history.
  • Hanson is the eighth player in NFL history to play 300 career games.
  • WR Calvin Johnson gave the Lions a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 73-yard pass from QB Matthew Stafford. It was Johnson’s ninth touchdown reception of the season. He became the first player in NFL history with nine touchdown receptions through the first five games of the season.
  • The 73-yard pass play was the longest of the season for the Lions.
  • Johnson’s 73-yard touchdown reception was his fifth career reception of 70+ yards. He ties WR Leonard Thomson (5) for the most 70+-yard receptions in team history.
  • Johnson caught 5 passes for 130 yards with one touchdown, and he surpassed 100 yards for the 15th time in his career. He now is tied with WR Terry Barr (15, 1957-65) for the third-most 100-yard receiving games in Lions history.
  • In the first half, he caught three passes for 100 yards.
  • Lions RB Jahvid Best gave the Lions a 21-10 lead in the third quarter by running off an 88-yard touchdown run. It was the second-longest run in team history and longest since RB Bob Hoernschmeyer ran a 96-yard touchdown vs. the New York Yanks November 23, 1950.
  • He finished the game with 12 carries for 163 yards (13.6 avg) and 1 touchdown. It was a career high and his first career 100-yard rushing game.
  • Best’s 163 yards vs. Chicago is the most by a Lions back since RB Kevin Jones registered 196 yards vs. Arizona December 5, 2004.
  • In addition to his 88-yard touchdown run, he set up the Lions final score of the game (Hanson 31-yard FG) by starting off a fourth quarter drive with a 43-yard run.
  • Best became just the second player in Lions history to register an 80+-yard run (88-yard TD run vs. Chi 10/10/11) and a 75+-yard reception (75-yard TD vs. Phi 9/19/10). He joins RB Billy Sims (81-yard run at SD 9/30/84; 87-yard TD reception at GB 9/14/80; 81-yard TD reception vs. Dal 11/15/81) as the only players in team history to accomplish this feat.
  • In all five games this year, the Lions have yielded less than 10 points in the second half. The three points allowed in the second half tonight marks the third time this season they gave up 3 points or less.
  • Entering this weekend’s games, the Lions had the League’s best scoring margin (+72 points) in the second half with 92 points scored and 20 points allowed. Following tonight’s win, the Lions have now scored 109 points and allowed just 23 points for a +86 scoring margin (17.2/game in second half).
  • Today’s game marked T Jeff Backus’ 165th consecutive start. He currently has the most consecutive starts by any lineman (offense or defense) in the NFL and the most among offensive players.
  • With 165 consecutive starts, he has tied Hall of Fame G Gene Upshaw for the eighth-most consecutive games started by an offensive lineman since 1970. Upshaw actually started 207-staright games dating back to 1967.
  • Johnson and Best put together a pair of big plays in today’s game, including a 73-yard touchdown receptions and an 88-yard touchdown run. It marks only the second time in team history that the Lions have registered a 70+-yard reception and an 80+-yard run in the same game. The previous time was WR Herman Moore (79-yard reception) and RB Barry Sanders (82-yard TD and 80-yard TD) at Tampa Bay December 12, 1997.
  • It’s the first time in team history that the Lions have scored on both a 70-yard pass play and an 80-yard rushing play. Moore’s 79-yard reception did not result in a touchdown.
On the run game: “It’s an example of having Barry Sanders in the house. Maybe that rubbed off a little bit. Our run game is obviously a compliment to our pass game. I think that we’re committed to the run, but we also needed some explosive runs – it’s where we were lacking. Obviously we had that today.”

On if he’d ever been in a building that loud: “I can’t remember, but nine false starts – I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of that. So our hats are off to the fans here, to the city of Detroit. It’s a great night for the city. We need to get used to playing in games like this and having atmospheres like this. Fans did their part tonight and we took the cue from them. But nine false starts is an awful lot and all the credit goes to our crowd.”

On what this means for Detroit: “Well, this is a blue-collar town. Detroit has been through tough times before and tough times don’t last but tough people do. There’s tough people in the city of Detroit. It’s a blue-collar town and blue collar towns are the best sports towns. When cities are going through tough economic times; states are going through tough economic times, people look to sports as an escape. I think we have a responsibility to give people something to smile about; giving people something to cheer about. We feel a very strong bond to this city. I think our work ethic reflects the city of Detroit’s work ethic.”

On the decision to play rookie DT Nick Fairley: “He was healthy and we drafted him for a reason: for him to play. It’s been awhile that we’ve been waiting to that. He did some really good things in practice this week. Put the foot in his rearview mirror and got a good start. Today was probably a little bit more like a preseason game from him, not from a tempo or anything like that standpoint, but number of reps in the beginning. He hadn’t had a whole lot of practice time, but he’s very talented. He’s going to play a lot of good football for us.”

On containing Bears KR/WR Devin Hester: “I think our kicks were outstanding. We had very good directional kicks. We had very good kickoff depths and, combined with good coverage, I think one of the key parts is that we very rarely punted from backed up. We punted from midfield a lot of times and that made it easy to sky the ball and not worry too much about how far we were driving it, but try to take Hester out of the punt return game.”

On describing the atmosphere tonight at Ford Field: “It was electric. Our fans came out and did an unbelievable job. We need that kind of support every week – we saw what it can do to an opposing offense. That’s a really good offense and our defense fed off that crowd and really, you know, they struggled with the crowd noise today.”

On the 73-yard touchdown pass to WR Calvin Johnson: “The long one to Calvin – that was a third down-and-long play. Had a real good inkling they were going to play some cover two and try to get Calvin matched up on a safety and (the) guys up front did a heck of a job giving me time. And when they do that and Calvin gets down field, he’s dangerous and he made a great play.”

On if tonight’s game proved that the Detroit Lions are for real: “I don’t know if we’re looking to prove to anybody, we’re just trying to win and that’s the mindset of our head coach, that’s the mindset of our team. We show up everyday to work hard and go out on Sundays expecting to win. We had a great day running the ball, which was a huge boost for us and really sealed the game for us in the second half.”

On if the crowd noise tonight was the loudest he’s ever heard: “It was up there. I mean, it was unbelievable. You know, especially early on some of those third downs, you couldn’t hear yourself think and you know, that’s just the potential of this city. We know that they can get behind us like that and come out and really wreck a game for another team.”

On the Bears allowing RB Jahvid Best to run: “I think it’s just execution more than anything. Guys up front did a great job and Jahvid did his thing when he got into the secondary. The long one was unbelievable; (I) thought he was going to get 30, 40 yards maybe and he just outran everybody. It was great to see – happy for him. He really carried us there in the fourth quarter with some crucial plays.”

On how much cover two they saw: “We saw a lot, you know, and they mix it in; they played a little bit more single high in the first half than we thought they were going to play and other corners did a good job on our guys. That’s part of football; they’re a good football team. We’re division opponents. They know us well and we know them well so it’s always going to be like that.”

On if his parents were alive in 1956, the last time Detroit started 5-0: “My dad was; my mom wasn’t. But yeah, it’s been awhile. We understand that, but it’s behind us now. We understand we had a great win; it’s great for the city, it’s great for our team, but we’ve got a short week coming up and a really hot San Fran team coming in, so we know that we’re going to need our crowd again next week and we’re going to have to come out here and play great football.”

On perspective of what this win means: “You know, I think it means a lot. I don’t want to speak for the fans as far as what it means to the city, but I know what it means to our team to be able to go out there and play well for them. We have a great group of fans here, you can tell they showed up tonight, and it was unbelievable. It’s our job and our joy to go out there and give them something to cheer about and it’s been a bunch of fun and hopefully we can keep it going.”

On if they kept grinding: “Yeah, like I said, this is a division opponent. They know what we’re going to do; we know what they’re going to do. It’s going out there and executing and you’re going to have plays go your way, you’re going to have plays not go your way and that’s the way football goes, especially against a good defense and a good team like Chicago and I’m just proud of the guys for sticking in there. Defense did a great job in the second half getting us the ball back with some good field position and we were able to capitalize.”

On what it says to be one of only two undefeated teams: “I don’t know what it says. It means we’ve got a game next Sunday and we’ve got to try to do it again. That’s the way this league is; there are 16 games, we’ve only played five and we’ve got to keep grinding and got to go back to work. We’ve got a short week, guys got to rest up, get their bodies back right, and play a tough team in San Fran coming in next week.”

On the 88-yard touchdown run: “It was just an inside zone play. The O-line just made a little crease and I just hit it and ran as fast as I could.”

On pointing at the end zone well before getting there on the touchdown run: “I figured if I get in that open field nobody should catch me. So, I knew no one could get me from behind.”

On the impact of his runs in the fourth quarter: “Those were huge; we wanted to keep their offense off the field, so, we had to stay on the field in order to run the clock off. Getting those first downs was really crucial. The O-line just did a good job on getting me some creases.”

On what was different about the run game tonight in contrast to the first three weeks: “It was not nothing new. We were still kind of doing the same thing. It’s just that the creases were a little bit wider today.”

On the atmosphere tonight at Ford Field: “It was crazy out there. The fans, I think, caused them at least six or seven false starts. The place was rocking; it was a lot of electricity in the air. We were definitely feeling it.”

On whether he can appreciate anguish some of the fans experienced in previous seasons: “Some of our guys were on the team. They know what the city has been through and know what the team has been through. I’ve been fortunate to come on the upside of things. I can definitely feel the sense of how hungry the city is and how hungry this team is.”

On what it meant to him to have a career-high in rushing on Monday Night Football: “It means a lot to me. It was a Monday night game. The biggest thing is just the win. Now we’re 5-0. We have a short week. We have to bring our focus back to the next opponent.”

On how different the game was than practice: “Like I said, the speed is always different than in college. But once I got those first two plays under my belt, it was just like natural.”

On what he takes away from the night: “Basically, go in and watch film. Make corrections. Get better and see what I did wrong. Basically, try not to make that mistake again next week.”

On when he found out he was going to play: “I found out yesterday (Sunday), after walkthrough. I had a light workout for the GM and coach Schwartz and they said I worked out pretty good and it was looking good so they gave me the green light.”

On what it was like out there playing again “It was crazy. This was my first NFL game. I was always on the sideline, but for it to be a Monday night game and the crowd to be like it was, it was just amazing for me to be basically part of it.”

On his grade of the Lions defensive line: “We did a good job. There is always room for improvement though. We got to go back, watch the film and see what we did wrong and just correct it.”

On the defensive line disrupting the Bears offense despite not getting a lot of sacks: “Yeah, definitely. Our goal was to get ahead, shut down the run the first couple quarters, let our offense do their thing so we can get after him in the passing game. We kind of accomplished that. Like you said, we didn’t get the sack totals, but we got a lot of pressure.”

On what the 5-0 start means and winning this game on Monday Night Football: “It is big. The whole country is seeing how good the team can be. Even with the win, we had so many mistakes so it is huge, but we’ve got to bounce back and get the sixth.”

On the crowd: “They were amazing. They jumped offsides; I want to say probably 5 times in the first two series. Yeah, I want to say they jumped a lot in the first couple series, so the crowd was definitely clutch. We got to keep it going by keep getting wins.”

On if he is surprised they are 5-0: “Surprised? No. I mean, us amongst the locker room, we know the potential we have. We know what kind of guys we have, the players. So it is not surprising, it is just a great feeling for the rest of the country to see.”

Opening statement: “We had a great opportunity against a good football team tonight to gain some ground. We play football like that and it’s going to be hard to win against a good football team.

“Defensively, I’ll just kind of get to it straight away. Defensively, just can’t give up big plays like that. Best is a good player, but we’re not set up to give up easy runs or passes that way — (we’ve) got to keep the ball in front of us and you know, to be able to have a base run go for a touchdown—it’s kind of hard to swallow.

“Other side of the ball, offensively, too many penalties. We had the ball a long time; we moved it at times. The early fourth down play that we didn’t make hurt us, but we got ourselves back in it after that. I thought we did some good things running and passing, but you’ve got to be able to get more points in some of those situations. So just not a good effort by us; I shouldn’t say effort but, just not a good game played by us. We’re (a) better football team than that. But when we lose games, most of the time that’s what you say: we are better than that. Got to get this straight fairly quick.”

On all the false starts: “We were going against a loud crowd on the road and all of that, but we can’t use that as an excuse. (We’ve) got to be able to sit in there, kind of simple as that. Pre-snap penalties kill you; first-and-15, first-and-20, it’s hard to overcome those. Again, it’s the discipline part of the position, some of it.”

On burning all three timeouts in the first quarter: “I can’t really give you an answer for that. We’ve got to get the plays in a little bit quicker, kind of simple as that. It kind of went calling the plays and getting in them in, kind of went along with the rest of the stuff we did tonight that we got to do a better job of. Got to get the plays in quicker, kind of simple as that.”

On going for a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal in the first quarter: “On the road, opportunity, you know, we have to be able to get less than a yard. Fourth and less than a quarter…half a yard or so, that’s something you’ve got to be able to get in a game like this. I felt like we could; felt like we had a good play, had momentum at the time. I make that call 10 out of 10 times. We’ll go for it.”

On having played most of the game under pressure of the defense: “You know, there are some things that in this ball game that usually if that does happen, you’re not going to be very successful. Nine false starts; we put ourselves in a lot of holes out there and against a team like that, the way they’re playing, it’s going to be difficult.”

On all the false starts: “You know, we started off with a regular count and the guys were having trouble hearing me, so we went to a silent count and we had a little head movement and we’re going, so you know, the pressure that they were putting on our offensive line with their defensive line, I think that started to accumulate a little bit and guys started wanting to get out of there a little bit quicker – the crowd noise, you know, there’s a lot of things that happened. But, at the end of the day, it can’t happen. We practice that, we bring speakers out on our field so this isn’t anything new to us. We’ve played in loud situations before.”

On the environment at Ford Field being anything like he’d seen before: “Yeah, you know, it’s like everywhere else you go. It wasn’t anything that crazy; it was loud. I mean, we played in New Orleans, it was loud. When we go to Green Bay, it’s going to be loud and when we go to Minnesota it’s going to be loud. So, you have to deal with it; you know that going on the road, and it’s just something that happens, and if you don’t handle it well, you’re probably going to lose and that’s what happened to us tonight.”

On how the Lions have improved from years past: “You know, they didn’t do anything different than we saw on film. They attacked the ball well; that front four gets unbelievable surge and that’s where they generate a lot of pressure from and that’s how they’re successful defensively with those front four.”

On most disappointing play of the game for him: “The long run; I got the penalty at the end. It was an accident. I really didn’t mean to horse collar him, but, I did. That was a bad play.

“I could have helped my safety out on the jam on Calvin when he got the touchdown. Just the overall game, we gave up to many big plays.”

On the defense’s play: “We need to get back to the fundamentals of football. I feel like our scheme is not difficult. We are doing the same thing we did last year. It’s the same defense, same players. I respect Coach Smith and Coach Marinelli. They will be men and blame themselves, but, it really falls on the players. They’re doing everything in their power and I think we, as players, we can definitely man up and make the plays.”

On being surprised with how the defense has played so far in 2011: “Definitely. I don’t think anyone (foresaw this); I don’t even know what we’re ranked, 31, 32, somewhere up there. I don’t think anyone could foresee us being ranked that high. It’s time to do some soul searching and see what each of us is really made of. We can either tuck your tails between your legs and go run away or man up and fight and get this thing turned around.”

On the penalties changing the way they call plays: “It makes it tougher. Play calling on first-and-10, you have a wide variety of plays you can call. First-and-15, kind of changes the playbook. We just made too many mistakes out there.”

On what it means having two 5-0 teams in their division: “There is never a time for panic but we need to have a sense of urgency. If you panic, you get out of your regular rhythm. I think we need to continue to focus on each upcoming game and cut down on penalties and if the opportunity to make a big play is there, make that. Eliminate the mistakes. We have a lot to learn from this game, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We need to learn from the mistakes and once we learn from them, don’t do them again.”

On the difference in the game: “My hat goes off to the Detroit Lions. They played well. They made more plays than we did. We’ve just got to play better. In reality, we are a 2-3 football team and we just have to play better.”

On what went wrong after the good start: “Yeah, we had it going. Penalties got to us a little bit. They just had big plays. They have big plays. They had a 73-yard bomb to Megatron and an 88-yard run. They just had big, explosive plays and we have to match that. We have to find a way to get some of those plays too.”

On if this is the loudest he has ever heard Ford Field: “Yeah, fans (were) very excited. I mean, we were 6-2 one year, but it wasn’t like this. 5-0. They are a good football team and they are playing well right now.”

On if they should have taken more shots down the field: “Yes. At the end of the day, those guys on defense did a great job of putting pressure on Jay, not allowing him to have enough time to throw the deep ball, so we had opportunities out there, but we left a lot on the field.”

On how he was feeling leading at halftime 10-7: “10-7? We were feeling comfortable, but we still had hope. Ten-7 is a close ballgame. Any big play can catch the momentum of the game. Unfortunately, we were unable to come up with the big plays that give us momentum and put us up ahead. Those guys took the lead and ran with it.”