DETROIT LIONS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2016
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL
On playing with the lead going into the fourth quarter
"Not really. I don't know if it revealed anything. Our guys played a little bit better coming out of the half, kind of hung in there. Defense did a good job all day to keep that offense at bay for thirteen points. You can probably count on one hand the number of times that's happened to them. They did a nice job and I think that offensively, we answered, maybe some field goals when we would have liked some touchdowns down there, but it's kind of the way it goes against a good football team away from home."
On the defense
"I just think our guys, they work hard at it. I think we did a decent job of putting pressure on them. Not certain of how many sacks we got, but there were some people around him. Obviously, to come up with three interceptions against him is pretty special. I don't know if he's thrown one at home in quite some time. I think our defensive effort, all together. Our defensive coaches did a great job in terms of preparation. We had a lot of young guys playing. Young guys playing a little bit more than they've been playing previously, but they hung in there, they fought, played together. It was a great defensive effort."
On Matthew Stafford
"He had one stretch, I think he had thirteen completions in a row which is not easy to do, but he got rolling. I think, things you know, he had two touchdown passes, whatever his percentages were, he earned a 112 quarterback rating or somewhere in that area. I know it was over 110, but he does much more than that for us. This was a team that blitzed us quite a bit. Getting us into the right protection, giving us a chance to try to get some big plays as a result of pressures, getting runs, taking us out of bad runs, getting us into better run situations. So he does a lot of those things, but not only that, just in terms of leadership on the field, he does a tremendous job. He seems to just get better and better every week.
On Matthew Stafford's health and if he was feeling ill
"All you've got to do is look at his numbers. That stuff (whether he was under the weather or not.) Does it really matter? I think it's probably good theater. Maybe he wasn't feeling good if Golden (Tate) said that's a fact. I didn't know it."
On if something was found in preparation for this game that led to the interceptions
"No. That's an explosive offense. It's been that way, week in and week out ever since, for however many years that Sean (Payton) and Drew (Brees) have been together this has been a really explosive unit so we didn't do anything special. Guys just played their keys. They do a lot of different things. They throw you off a lot. Give you some problems, difficulty, but I think our guys played the base fundamentals very well. We tackled, decently and we kept the ball in front of us, for the most part."
On the impact of the defense being able to get off the field quick early in the game
"Yea, I think any time that our guys can get off the field on third down, and particularly against a team that usually converts on a lot of those third down situations was a big plus because it certainly forced them into punting the ball and gave our offense the ball one more time and (Matt) Prater kicking five field goals. Got us in a position to score, but the reason why we got it back with enough time was because our defense was doing a great job on those third down stops."
On possible factors that have led to year-long success in third and long situations
"First thing you've got to look at is protection. That's number one. Not only just our offensive line, but I think our young guys up front did a nice job, (Riley) Reiff and the rest of the group, but also our backs. You'll notice Theo (Riddick), on a couple of occasions, came across and did a nice job in terms of pass protection in some tough situations where they were blitzing off the edge to give the quarterback, Matt (Matthew Stafford), enough time to get the ball out on the field somewhere. I think number one starts with our protections and then number two is the same thing you see with us in tough two minute drives. They don't get shaken by tough situations. They just don't. They just go out. Jim Bob (Cooter), Callie (Brian Callahan) and those guys have a set of plays that we work at each week and we get them ready and then we go out and execute. You have to certainly give our guys a lot of credit for their poise."
On Matthew Stafford's diversity of receivers
"Every week, he reads a series of progressions, according to what play is called and whoever is open, he gets the ball to them and that's how it goes. It could end up in anybody's hands, but he does a nice job of working through his progressions and getting the ball, spreading it around because they can run and catch it. Dwayne Washington had a couple of nice catches out of the back field and got us some decent runs for first downs and things of that nature. That ball gets spread around because he does go through his progressions and they take some things away, there are some other things that should be open for him."
On Glover Quin's performance
"Glover (Quin)'s play over all was obviously excellent. The thing about him is that that's the way he practices. He has the same kind of intensity, the same type of attention to detail, even when we're walking through. Not like we're going full speed during our practice sessions or anything, but the little things. He's that way in meetings. You can always see he's out there coaching everybody around him. Making certain that everybody is on the same page. He's going to come up with plays like that because he studies so hard and he works so hard. That was a heck of a play down the middle there to (Brandin) Cooks where he broke that thing up and then obviously the interception along the sideline, he had to cover some ground to get that done. He's a playmaker. He does a great job. He, much like Matthew (Stafford), there's still a lot of things that he does real well that you don't notice, in terms of communication and things of that nature, getting guys lined up, so on and so forth. He's tremendous at what he does.
On if this is the Detroit Lions most complete game of the season
I'm not certain of that. Pretty doggone good. That's for sure and we played pretty well in all phases today. We would still like to get better. Probably came out of the red zone with a few less touchdowns than we would've liked. We've got a lot to improve upon, I can tell you that. We have to get better this week. Got to make certain that next week, when we play Chicago (Bears), we've got to be a better team next week than we were this week. That's the key. Those guys are a hungry team."
On being in first place in the NFC North
"You don't hear our guys talking about that. They don't focus in on that. They're just trying to get better each and every week. I think that's the thing that's helped us. The easiest way to create some problems is to get distracted and those kinds of things distract you so our guys minimize those distractions and focus in on the things that we can control and that's just playing our game. I think they do a good job of that."
On the guys that filled in for Marvin Jones and his status
"I'm not going to talk about the medical side and all that stuff. I'll talk to you about the two guys that stepped in. TJ (Jones) did a nice job after the one that kind of went off his hands early on. He came back and made some real nice catches for us and big, big time plays. Andre (Roberts) was really good and solid all day long. Caught the ball, ran with it. Caught some slants that were real nice, nicely done. Both guys, I thought, filled in admirably and recorded themselves very well."
LIONS PLAYER QUOTES
#8 QB Matthew Stafford
"I feel ok. But anytime you get a victory; especially in a place like this, it feels terrific. I'm especially proud of the way we moved the ball up and down the field. But I also thought we kept them (Saints) in the game because of our inability to not score touchdowns when we got into the red zone. It's something we are going to have to take a look at and get better at. We're going to do a better job about that moving forward because we just moved the ball great today. And I thought our defense played great today. To hold an offense like that to 13 points, that's saying something."
On the 66-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate:
"It came on a blitz look they (Saints) were showing. We had a different play called. I switched the play to one I thought was going to be good. Our guys up front gave me just enough time to throw it. Right when I threw it I got hit so I know it wasn't real pretty looking when it came out of my hand, but Golden (Tate) did a real good job responding to the check; and I told him right after the play don't take the touchdown for granted. We had a lot of struggles in the red zone all day and we don't want to get tackled on the five or the ten or even the twenty yard line. If that happens, it may not be seven (points). You like to think it is, we are a confident group; but at the same time it's a great play to take that ball into the end zone and it was a real nice play by him."
*#15 WR Golden Tate *
On his 66-yard touchdown reception: "It was just a great call our coaches made and drew it up just this week. It was a play we hadn't called the entire year. It was perfect timing, and Matt (Stafford) took a pretty good hit on the throw. But his throw gave me a chance to get underneath it and catch the ball; and I caught it and I was off to the races."
"There were a lot of plays out that the DB's played me to the outside and I took it in on the inside to get open. We know we faced a lot of third downs and we were able to convert a lot of them. That's just part of the game and it led to us controlling the clock and the game. Matt does an extremely good job extending plays and finding the guy who is open."
"It's really nice to have a lead going into the fourth quarter – I would rather have it that way. It's not something we've done this year. I think mentally we stayed clocked in and put our foot on the pedal. We understood Drew Brees is a heck of a player and a Hall of Famer type of guy and we know the players (on offense) they have there can score quick. Our offense was telling the defense, 'hey, if you can get the ball back to us (Lions' offense) then we are going to score'. That was our goal and for the most part we executed."
#25 RB Theo Riddick
"We started off real well and just maintained it. We were moving the ball the entire game. We were down in the red zone like four or five times and we only scored field goals instead of touchdowns. Obviously it was a great sign moving the ball up and down the field and scoring, but we have to find a way to convert it more into touchdowns as the season moves along."
#27 S Glover Quin
"I thought we played well, I thought we played fast. We knew all week they (Saints) were going to be a big challenge for us. We know Drew Brees is a great player. So we locked in all week for the challenge to prepare;working hard extra hours this week in practice to work all of the details out. We came out today and everyone was on the same page. We flew around the ball and made a lot of plays."
"We felt a lot better having the lead going into the fourth quarter (today). As a secondary, we just kept on saying let's go after them. I mean, when you take the running game away from any team – especially the Saints – they're going to start throwing a lot. And then they started to throw the ball and lot, and we are saying, you know someone is going to get a lot of work. And that is what led to us getting a couple of interceptions today. Of course doing that is huge – keeping points off the board and getting us a victory."
#32 S Tavon Wilson
"That's a great offense we played today – they're one of the best in the entire league. We were able to show him (Drew Brees) some different looks he has never seen before and put him in some uncomfortable spots. But hats off to our offense for holding the ball and controlling the clock and controlling the game. They put points on the board and gave our defense a lot of confidence. This was a great team effort."