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Lions players comment on win over Dolphins

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A recap of what various Detroit Lions players had to say after Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins.

Joe Robbins

Below is a look at what various Detroit Lions players had to say after Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD
On the final drive of the game: "We made some plays. We had some guys step up and make some big plays. Golden (Tate) had a couple good ones, obviously the play at the end Theo (Riddick) did a great job, and our O-line held up great. That's a great pass rush we played. We had a couple guys go down, some guys step up, some rookies and played pretty well. I'm just proud of the team. Our defense obviously did a heck of a job. Great play by Dig (James Ihedigbo) on the third down to knock that ball out to give us a chance to go win the game and not have to go tie. Obviously, we love to be running four-minute offense and taking knees at the end of games, but we'll take them how we can get them."

On what is it about coming back in a game that he enjoys: "I don't know, I just have a good time in them. It's one of those unique situations in sports where everybody kind of has their back against the wall. It's a total team thing, it's not an individual thing. You've got to rely on everybody and everybody stepped up. There's no better feeling than when you come out of that drive successful as a team as an offense. Obviously, you fight tooth and nail for that feeling."

On what he saw on the winning touchdown play: "First of all I got an eight up look I thought they were going to bring everybody and just kind of banked on them not. They didn't, dropped eight and our guys kept fighting. Calvin (Johnson) had a shallow route coming to me, was getting jammed up, they had a couple guys on him trying to take him away, obviously. Theo (Riddick) had just kind of like a quick flat route play and we were trying to get it to him quick, but they did a good job of playing over the top of it. Our guys ran the defensive ends by, I had a chance to step up and Theo did a great job of willing up the sideline, staying in bounds, making himself available and that's just instinct there. You draw them up and sometimes the way football goes you've got to go out there and make a play and we were able to do that."

On if he is telling himself to throw a side arm pass when it happens or if he just does it: "There's absolutely no thought going into that. At that point you play this game long enough you get into those situations where your body just kind of takes over. Apparently my mind thought that the best way to get that ball to him quickly as I could in that spot was to drop it down a little bit, so it happened. It was a big play for us."

On if the looks that the opposing defenses give contributes to him being successful in late-game wins: "I don't know. I think everybody kind of plays those situations differently. It's different if you're down a field goal or if you're down a touchdown, each look is different. The faster we play the better we're going to play. We had too many penalties today, too many lost yardage plays where you get behind the sticks, and that's tough. It slows the pace of the game down and it's tough for the play caller. You get 2nd-and-20-something, it's tough. The drives that were successful, even if we didn't score a touchdown on some of them, we were moving the ball, in and out the huddle quickly, and making positive plays. In a two-minute (offense) that's what you've got to have and we were able to do it."            

LIONS WR CALVIN JOHNSON
On how he feels being back: "Oh man, great to be back on the field. There's nothing like being out there and winning with your teammates."

On the emotions running through his head on the last drive: "Just like last week, we've been in that situation so many times, we have a core group of guys that have been on the team over the last four years. We've been in those situations time in, time out where we come back and win. So, there really wasn't any sweat, we just had to go out there and execute."

On what he feels the ceiling is for this team: "I don't put a ceiling on it. We'll go as high as possible. We'll just stick to being smart out there on the field."

On what the Dolphins were trying to do against him down near the goal line: "Sometimes I'll get some single coverage, sometimes they'll bring the safety over the top later in game. But, like I said, we have so many playmakers on the team, it's crazy."

On sitting out the last two comebacks from QB Matthew Stafford and if it gives him a different kind of appreciation being able to watch what he's done: "Oh, no doubt. The guy gets it in his mind that he's going to go win the game and that's what he does. He's the most accurate quarterback, to me, in the League. He puts the ball wherever he needs to put it. He helps us out a ton and we just try to make plays for him."

On Stafford's ability to make unorthodox throws: "You have to appreciate it. There's been times where Matt has been getting sacked, he's going down, there's an arm in his face and he'll just throw it side-armed and get a first down or make a big play off of it. So, those things he's just a play maker and you have to love it."

On what was going on during their offensive struggles early on: "Whenever we're struggling it's usually because we're hurting ourselves on offense. We had some penalties, some holding penalties, we had a bunch of 1st-and-15-plus and when we get in those situations, it's tough to get out of those."

LIONS WR GOLDEN TATE
On finding a way to win: "We just fight. We have a really, really good team. Unfortunately it keeps coming down to the end, but the game is never over until it says zero on the clock. That's one thing you don't have to doubt is that we're going to play until it hits zero on the clock. It's been working out for us. We still left a lot of plays out there that I'm excited to go back, watch and fix. But overall, a great team victory. We control our own destiny and if we just keep handling our business it doesn't matter what everyone else does."

On his catch to keep the game-winning drive alive: "Nine (Matthew Stafford) trusts in getting me the ball. They had a zone out there, obviously CJ (Calvin Johnson) is going to draw a lot of attention, so I just found a soft spot and I was trying to score. I was trying to end it right then and there. I ended up getting the first down, very close call but I think it was the correct call and it burned some more time off the clock and we were able to get six instead of three."

On so many players being able to contribute during ‘crunch time': "We have the next man up (mantra). We had a great camp and everyone got the same amount of reps. I think it's helping us now. Every guy is in there and is comfortable, playing tough, playing hard and making plays. You never know, good teams find multiple ways to win games and that's what we've been doing. Other guys have been helping us out. It doesn't always have to be CJ, (Eric) Ebron, myself or Reggie (Bush). Other guys can step up and make plays when we need it."

On how difficult it was to play against the Dolphins secondary: "That's a good team. (Brent) Grimes and Cortland (Finnegan) are extremely good players. You saw that by Grimes, that was a heck of a catch that he made in the end zone to get that pick. But, it's going to be tough to game plan us. I can do things differently that CJ can do, he can do things different that I can't do and I think that makes it tough. I want to see how they try to stop us. We're going to continue to work hard and keep getting better, try to get more confident and get this quarterback's trust. Just keep taking it game by game. We're going 1-0. I think that's key, don't get caught up looking in the future, December or January, just keep going game by game."

LIONS RB THEO RIDDICK
On the Detroit Lions Radio Network, 97.1 The Ticket

On his touchdown catch: "Just a wheel route. (Matthew) Stafford extended the play, I just continued on my route and had to make, obviously, a good catch. I was fortunate to do so."

On being a key contributor for this team down the stretch: "I'm just trying to do whatever I can to obviously help this team win. We're doing that right now so, it's good."

On what Miami's defense did after the first drive to slow the offense down: "They're a great defense. Coming in, they're No. 3 (in the League). They did a lot of good things today. They have a great front four and a great secondary. My hat goes off to them, they played us tough, we just found a way to win."

On what it means to be 7-2 at this stage of the season: "It's just one game, we're just taking it one game at a time."

On how hard it is to take it one game at a time: "Not at all. Our coaches have told us to have tunnel vision and that's what we're doing."

On not being able to afford looking beyond the game at hand: "We can't do that, we can't do that. We have to take it one game at a time and we're doing that right now."

LIONS DE JASON JONES
On beating a talented Dolphins team today: "They were a hot team, they were 3-0 (coming into today), they have a potent running game and (Ryan) Tannehill is a great quarterback. We came out with the aggression knowing that we had to start early. This defensive line we have is something special because we can roll different people in and out and get going. It was a good test for us."

On if he likes lining up next to DT Ndamukong Suh: "We definitely do. Me and him working inside, it's fun for me and I know it's fun for him too because we can do a lot of things. But just that versatility, it's good for us. We can put anybody outside, inside."

On not giving up when they needed a defensive stand: "Yeah, three weeks in a row we've kind of made it tough on ourselves and made it a harder game, but this is the NFL and teams come to play. Just to come out the way we did, make the plays that we did and step up when we needed to step up, when the offense needed to get that ball back we knew what we had to do. It speaks to the players on our defense."

LIONS S GLOVER QUIN
On the secondary's cohesion with the defensive line: "I mean, that's what our D-line tells us all the time, ‘Hey, don't worry about the run, we're doing a great job.' They did a heck of a job stopping the run today. We knew if we took their running game away they weren't going to beat us throwing the ball. I think we held up all day. I mean, they had some good field position a couple times off returns, they got down to the goal line from a special teams blocked field goal, but all day defensively I think we were locked in."

On the resolve of this team: "Hey, we try to win every game. We feel like we could win every game, that's just how it is. We practice that way, we go out and play that way. Whoever needs to make a big play in the crunch time, whether it's offense, defense, special teams, that's what we're trying to do."

On if this season feels differently than last year: "Definitely. I mean, the confidence that we have, winning close games, winning down the stretch, just playing better. Last year, we were winning but we weren't really playing well, giving up a lot of yards and it wasn't good. This year we're playing good offensively, playing good defensively, playing good special teams, playing great as a team and it just feels a whole lot different."

LIONS LB DEANDRE LEVY
On finishing games: "I think a lot of guys just learned from last year. It goes back to what I was just saying before, nobody starts pressing, nobody starts panicking. Always make sure you just do your job."

On stopping the Dolphins' drives late in the game: "Yeah, that's part of our experience and us keeping our composure. We've had those situations a few times this year and we continue to do our job when it matters most."

On winning games late: "Hopefully it builds a little character for us down there. It was giving me a heart attack personally, but as long as we're winning that's all that matters."

On the difference between being lucky and being good: "I don't think it's luck. We're doing it consistently. I think we have stretches all game where we continue to do our job. I mean, we did it three weeks in a row now. It just goes back to our defense keeping our composure and continuing to do our job."