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Lions players discuss win over Buccaneers

A recap of what various Detroit Lions players had to say following Sunday's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

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

On if he feels like he is on a hot streak here like in 2011: "I don't know about 2011, but I feel good, I feel confident in what we're doing and I think the guys in the locker room and on offense definitely feel confident in what our game plan is each week. We're doing a great job of going out there and trying to execute. Guys are catching the ball which is always great. The guys up front, I mean that's a heck of a defensive line that we just played and they kept me clean most of the day. When they can do that, we have so much talent on the outside that we're going to have good days."

On this being the team's first December win since 2011 and what it means: "It means that it was the next game for us, honestly. That's the approach that we have. Obviously, December games when they mean something, you have to go out there and try to find a way to win them and we were able to do that today."

On if he feels like things are starting to evolve on offense: "Earlier on in the season, we went through so much turnover and spots, game to game we didn't have certain guys in certain places and it took us a second to figure out what we were going to be really good at and what we could do really well when those guys came back. We found that every week is different, you have to play a different scheme, you have to find what works, but guys are in spots to succeed right now and they're doing a great job."

On being patient with the running game: "I think against a team like that, with a pass rush like that, you have to be patient. That's a great d-line, they're going to stop some runs, they're going to get after the quarterback, especially if you just abandon the running game and just start flinging it around. But, run game in the NFL very rarely looks like five yards a pop, five yards a pop and five yards a pop. Obviously, we want to be efficient when we can, but usually you see a team rush for a 100 yards and there's a chunk in there somewhere. That's no different than what we were today. I'm proud of the guys up front. I mean, when we really needed it, to go out there and put the game away running the football, we hand the ball off on the first play and pop a big one. It changes the whole game as far as sealing it. You felt great at that point that we were going to win the game."

On how much empathy he had for Buccaneers QB Josh McCown after being on the ground for most of the day: "When you get a lead in this league and you're trying to catch up, everybody in the building knows that you're going to throw the football and we have a great defensive line. They were getting after him and that's part of football. As a quarterback, it's great when you get into a groove and you get a chance to go back and maybe change the game and win it, but when it's not going your way, it's tough. He's a tough guy, he took some big time shots today and kept getting up. I can see why everybody on that team really respects him."

On his performance today: "Well, you know, being out for so long you wonder how you're perceived. When you're able to show your team that you're going to push through and help out and win, help out and score, you get that respect that you've been trying to earn for a while. It's something that I'm going to have to get better at. It's character-building, but I'm just glad I got to help my team."

On feeling that the team is supposed to win at this point in the season: "Yeah, we're not the same team as last year. We're not ‘SOL'(same old Lions). We're a new Lions team and we're going to keep on rolling. Our fate's in our hands."

On having depth on offense: "We have so many weapons that the field is all of the 100 by 53, whatever it is, and we're going to take advantage of that. We have so many weapons everywhere, Eric (Ebron), (Brandon) Pettigrew, running backs, receivers that when someone has their name called to make a play they better make it."

On if the offense has found a rhythm: "We've definitely found a rhythm. I can't call our future, we're just going to keep on plugging away like we are though."

On how good he feels: "I'm feeling pretty good, the best I've felt in a little while. I definitely just want to build upon that, keep taking care of that body, especially this point in the season."

On if he thinks the ankle injury is completely gone: "Injuries, they don't go away in this league. Everybody has injuries, especially this point in the year. You just have to try to maintain those things as best as you can."

On this being the team's first December win in a couple years: "It felt good, especially to start off this quarter 1-0."

On QB Matthew Stafford completing over 75-percent of his passes for the second week in a row: "He's humming, we're having good practices. All of those things lead up to good performances in the game, so we just have to keep those things up."

On finding a rhythm on offense: "Well, on this stretch I just feel we've got to win here at Ford Field. Winnable games, we should win them like that. We're not stressing in the fourth quarter, you know what I mean? Good teams put teams away and that's what we did. That's what we wanted to do. I feel like we had success doing it."

On winning in December: "Yeah, you know, it's funny you say that because we were unaware of the stats right now. Coach does a good job of really, and it sounds so repetitive, but focusing on this week and this week only and not worrying about anything else. That's a good thing around here, it really is. It's a new day. He said it from the beginning, Coach Caldwell, put it on Caldwell. It's a new day. We keep doing it every week and it's getting fun around here. The more we just worry about what's going on right now, handle the day, the better off we're going to be."

On having a healthy offensive line today: "That was our goal, keep him (Stafford) clean. They had some good rushers up front, one of the best defensive tackles in the League. We didn't have success against him last year and as an offensive line we wanted to right that wrong."

On his tipped pass touchdown catch: "We were on the sidelines, we drew that up and we knew exactly what the d-line was doing. Matt (Stafford) knew if he threw the ball up that one of the d-linemen would tip it up and it was a designed play. We went out there and we executed the play."

On if this is the type of game where the team starts to feel like it is clicking on all cylinders: "You want to feel that way every game. It's not any particular game where you want to say, ‘Okay, we want to click this way.' We want to click every game."

On if the team is starting to vibe in the right direction as the team heads down the stretch run: "I think we're getting more comfortable as each game comes along. We're controlling our offense and just as a team, as a whole."

On the statement he made with his shirt before the game: "Just because I feel like, with the whole situation that happened, I just felt like it's a terrible situation. It's just unfortunate that this is still happening and that it's still going on. It affects everybody, it doesn't just affect me, it affects everybody. We're all in this together, so I really felt like I kind of wanted to wear that on my shirt."

On if he tried to get other people to wear that as well: "No, I didn't try to get anybody else to wear it, just me. That was it."

On when he decided he would do it: "Last week, but I was actually going to have a shirt made but I forgot. I was busy doing therapy and rehabbing."

On if he just wrote on it before the game: "Yes, I just wrote on it before the game."

On if it ever crosses his mind that doing things like that could lose endorsements for him: "Not at all. I just don't think about it. Not at all, I didn't think about that at all."

On if he saw that Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose wore that last night: "I did, yeah. I saw a picture of that. I thought that was really cool. It speaks volumes. From an athlete's standpoint, we all have a voice and I feel like we can all be role models and lead by example."

On if Coach Caldwell has talked about this situation: "No, not really. This is a unique situation. It is what it is, it's one of the first of its kind. It's not something that we've really touched on."

On if this game feels like the Minnesota game because of how dominant they were up front: "Honestly, every game is different in my opinion. Very similar, I guess you could say. I haven't looked at all the statistics and things of that nature, but we did impose our will in the running game and obviously got some sacks out there. I'm definitely excited, I'm happy about it, but there's more we could have done in my opinion."

On if he can tell when the pressure is bothering the quarterback: "Yes, when he's throwing off of his back foot and things of that nature. McCown (Josh) is a great quarterback, I've been able to see him a handful of times. I definitely respect him and like him a lot. Hopefully we get a chance to play them sometime soon. I admire him. He's a great quarterback."

On if he apologized to McCown for the late hit: "We spoke, but I like to keep things personal."

On if he believes he'll hear from the League regarding that hit: "No clue, I haven't had a chance to look at it."

On why he believes teams don't have an answer for their pass rush: "I think teams have answers, I think we as a front four, as a secondary and linebackers find ways to win. That's what it really comes down to. We have to take our opportunities and when we have those opportunities, make the most of them. Levy (DeAndre) obviously did a great job of that from a few plays that I saw him back there getting a couple sacks, as well as Ziggy (Ansah). Just the front seven as a whole, our secondary does an excellent job. Slay (Darius), Shean (Rashean Mathis), they have tough match ups all the time. There are great receivers out there all the time that they see and they make him hold the ball."

On his interception: "We have a good coverage where I could play it. Rashean (Mathis) did a great job getting his hands on him, jamming him up and throwing the timing off. I thought it was a corner route and he ran a quarter route. When he threw it I thought it was overthrown at first, I was like ‘Ok,' but the angle that I was going was at an overthrow angle towards the sideline. He stuck his left arm out, I hit it so it bounced. So the first thought that went through my head was, ‘Man I missed a tipped ball,' but when I stuck my arm out it hit my hand. Some kind of way I bounced it up and caught it. When I was sliding I thought I was out of bounds. I looked and saw I was still in bounds and buddy was trying to come clean me out. I had to roll over a little bit to protect myself. It was a crazy play, man. I can't say I scripted it like that. Like I said, I thought they were running a seven route, a corner route, he ran a quarter route, but everything after I don't know."

On being around a lot of tipped balls this year: "I've only caught two, but two ‘not gimmie' tipped balls. I wish I could get a ‘gimmie' tipped ball that's an easy catch. I try to pride myself on taking advantage of every opportunity and that was an opportunity and I was able to come up with it. I don't know, it's just God giving me supernatural ability."

On how the defense played today: "I thought we played pretty good. We gave up some plays that were uncharacteristic from the secondary. We had some penalties that we can't have happen, but I thought we played a pretty solid game. They got some good receivers, some big guys, and the quarterback a couple times just threw it up and those guys made a couple plays. I thought for the most part we played pretty good. We had them down on their run game making them one dimensional. Anytime an offense is scoring like that it's going to put pressure on the other team to throw it and try to score. We were able to come up with some big plays. We had a big play down there in the end zone, we had another interception."        

On the aggressive game plan defensively today: "We knew he (Josh McCown) kind of held the ball a little bit. They kind of let some things open up on the line and we called it and we got there."

On how he was able to get through to the quarterback: "I think a little bit of both (being unblocked or taking the right path). There's been times, you know, where I've had opportunities earlier this year and I kind of didn't hold my water, so I kind of got snooping a little bit, tipped it off and I think I just tried to be a little more patient and the paths opened up clean when I did it."

On how this team compares to other teams he has played on: "I feel like right now, I mean, we've got a lot of work to do. We got kind of loose there early on, and this is definitely one of the best defenses I've been on. Just from back to front, everybody has a high level of professionalism, preparation's great. There's not really any guy that you can feel like is kind of lagging and not taking it serious. Everybody has kind of the same focus and that's kind of been the difference for me I think."

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