Lions quotes: Players comment on loss to Buccaneers

Leon Halip

Quotes from various players after Sunday's Detroit Lions game.

Below is a look at what various Detroit Lions players had to say after Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD

On what he needs to do to help this team reach its potential: "Can't make bad decisions. Had a couple bad ones, had a couple unlucky bounces. You do that, you turn the ball over five times, have a punt blocked and all that, the minus part of the turnover ratio for a long time now. We've got to get that fixed."

On Tampa Bay changing their coverage on WR Calvin Johnson after CB Darrelle Revis went out of the game: "Just giving him a lot of help. Whoever was covering him had a lot of help and he did a great job of trying to fight through it and I was giving him some chances. Just didn't happen."

On the interception on the goal line: "Yeah. That's not the best decision. I can live with the ball getting in and out of his hands on the last one and even the early one to Nate (Burleson), just a miscommunication, the ball tips around four times and the guy makes a great catch. That one down the middle, just got to throw that ball away."

On not being out of the playoff race: "The good thing for us, we play on Thursday. We get to get that taste out of our mouth, get back out on the field and play a team in our division. Obviously don't like losing games, especially in the fashion that we lost it. Got some work to do and have an opportunity to make it right next week."

On how frustrating it has been the last two weeks not playing their best football with a chance to extend a division lead: "Yeah, it's something we've got to do. Got to get hot at the end of the season. We haven't played our best in any phase. It's something that we've got to continue to work on. Obviously this is a short week. Got to get in there, study Green Bay as soon as we possibly can and come out ready to go on Thursday."

On the interception right before the half: "Yeah, they played two-deep. We were trying to run 88 combination and check-down's probably the best throw. I just threw it too early honestly. I had a little bit more time, I got out there to the left, I was kind of free for a little bit and I threw it when I thought (Pettigrew) was going to turn around. In hindsight, obviously, I just buy a little bit more time, let him extend that out a little bit further and throw that ball."

On the most disappointing aspect of this loss considering this is the first time the team has lost back-to-back games: "I don't know. The way we played. We can't be minus-five and a punt block in turnover ratio and expect to win games. That's the hardest part to swallow. Obviously knowing personally that I had a hand in a lot of those doesn't make me feel too good."

On if he feels he's been too aggressive: "I don't know. I think I probably could have burned that one, obviously - that ball I got intercepted. The other one I was probably too conservative on, getting it out too quick to (Pettigrew). I'll take a look at all of them and find ways to be better."

On the return of WR Nate Burleson: "Yeah, it was great. He did a great job of finding some open areas. Obviously had a big touchdown catch early in the game and continued to play well. Hopefully he's feeling good and can continue on that path."

LIONS WR CALVIN JOHNSON

On losing the football on the Lions' final play on offense: "It's just a bang-bang (play). I wanted to turn up, get up-field, and as soon as I did, the dude was right there. He got a good hit on me and the ball is in my hands. I don't know if he got his hands on the ball or whatever, but it just came out."

On if a hit he took in the back during the fourth quarter bothered him: "I don't even remember what hit that was."

On how frustrating it is to lose back-to-back games: "Yeah, just the turnovers. To be where we were in the game, even with all the turnovers, however many we had, we still had a chance to win there in the end. If we just take care of the ball, we wouldn't even be close to that position. We just have to do a better job. It's on us. Matt's (Stafford) giving us good balls and we just have to take advantage of those opportunities he's giving us."

On how to make sure the locker room does not get too down with the consecutive losses: "We have too much going. We have some grown up guys in here. We don't have time to be worried about this. We're going to go back in and make our corrections tomorrow, but we have to move on. We have a real quick turnover this week."

On if he is surprised by the Lions' lack of execution: "We're executing, it's just like you said, it's the turnovers. If we don't have the turnovers, we look great out there, but when we have turnovers, then this is what happens."

LIONS RB REGGIE BUSH

On if his saying of "Don't eat the cheese" a few weeks ago is playing a role in what is currently happening: "No, not at all. We turned the ball over five times. I don't care how good our defense plays, we turned the ball over five times. We're not going to win."

On managing expectations moving forward: "I don't know. We just have to find a way to win the next game, that's it."

On letting games like this get away: "It's very disappointing, because we knew we should have won that game, but we didn't deserve to win the game. We turned the ball over five times, you don't deserve to win a game. That's just the way it goes."

On it being a five-game season now: "This next game is the most important game of the season. Until we play another game, that would be the next important game. Right now we just have to worry about playing Green Bay in a short week."

On why the offense struggled to execute: "Just details. It's not the big things, it's the little things that get you beat. We didn't do the little things right today. We had a lot of errors, a lot of mental mistakes today. It wasn't us, it wasn't like us. We have to find a way to fix this and fix it quick."

On the pressure the turnovers put on the team as a whole: "It puts a lot of pressure on your team. You can't win like that. I don't care who we're playing, what their record is, if you turn the ball over five times, we won't win the game and we don't deserve to win the game and that's what happened today."

LIONS WR NATE BURLESON

On if he could feel the offense was more dynamic with him back in the lineup: "I don't necessarily feel like I am a special part, I just try to be a reliable source of hands for Matt (Stafford) when he can't find CJ (Calvin Johnson) or the tight ends. It just felt good to be out there. I tried to pick up where I left off earlier in the year. That was the point. I did a lot of rehab and worked my legs like crazy. I just wanted to be productive my first game back."

On if it is easier to let go of this loss because of the quick turnaround: "It's not easier, but that is the motivation. We have to show up to work with this behind us and it is hard. I told the guys, ‘Yeah you should be mad' and I am not trying to take anything away from Tampa. We're the better team but they played better today and they were a better team than us today and I have to give them credit. We are mad about that, we're mad that we lost. We're mad that we made a ton of mistakes but we still had a chance to win. There is so much more to be excited about. We have a game in a few days and we still have a chance to win the division so there is so much more to be happy about than to be overly frustrated."

On if the team is struggling with handling expectations: "No, not really. I try not to listen to people outside these doors. Everyone inside the organization is what we try to focus on. At the end of the day if we win big people are going to praise us and pick us for the Super Bowl. If we lose tough then people are going to say that these Lions suck and it's the same old Lions. We can't dive into what people say. What we have to do is understand that we are a good team and if we play a decent game we will have a chance at winning by more than a touchdown. You got to figure, we had five turnovers and a mistake on special teams and we were still only down by three. I am not too concerned. We come back for this Thanksgiving game, we take care of the ball and play the ball that we need to play we will win."

On how tough it is to overcome the five turnovers: "It's tough because it hasn't been a problem. The thing about turnovers though is that they are physical errors. You can always take care of the ball. We just go home and look at the mistakes, look at what you did whether it was a receiver stopping on a route or bad ball, tipped ball, we can fix those things. If it was mental errors or we were just getting ran off the field then that would be frustrating, but no one is concerned about that."

LIONS LB DEANDRE LEVY

On if this loss will stick with the team for a while: "Absolutely. It's a critical stretch and it was a critical game. Big plays hurt us early and it's like three or four straight games where we aren't getting the ball on defense. We have to get takeaways. You can't win when you're minus five. As a defense we have to find a way to get the ball."

On not getting turnovers: "Yeah that's big. Even back to the Dallas game, we were minus four and we managed to sneak away with a win and we can't do that all the time. We have to find a way to get the ball and eliminate those big plays in critical moments."

On the short week: "I think this quick turnaround would be good for us to come in, get this game corrected and get the right mindset for Green Bay."

LIONS DT NDAMUKONG SUH

On how the game slipped away from the team in the fourth quarter: "Obviously we just made too many mistakes. It comes down to making mistakes and we obviously didn't capitalize or create mistakes on their side of the ball. It's just something we have to learn from and fortunately enough, I still believe we own our destiny. We just have to focus up. We just made it a lot tougher for us right now."

On playing at home for the first time in a month and letting the game get away from them: "Just mistakes. That's what it comes down to. We made too many mistakes to win and we still had a chance at the very end. Overall, as a team, we didn't put it together. Obviously, at critical points and times, you can't mistakes. In all three phases, we didn't capitalize. If you look at the defense, we still have an opportunity to get the ball back for our offense. It's just the mistakes that we made."

On if these are the games that the team should and needs to win: "You can't say you should win every single game. You want to win every single game and you can't take any team in this league lightly, whether they're 0-and-whatever, or they have only two wins on the season, you have to respect everybody. I don't think our team by any means took them lightly. I just feel like we made too many mistakes to obviously win the game. We got what we deserved."

On criticism that the team cannot play with expectations: "I don't believe so. I think we have a very strong character throughout this team, starting from the very bottom, if you consider anybody at the bottom, all the way up to the very top. And all our leaders are at the top. Without question, I think we have plenty of heart and you'll continue to see that as the weeks go on."

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