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Lions players comment on win over Giants

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

Gregory Shamus

Below is a look at what various Detroit Lions players had to say after Monday's win over the New York Giants. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)

On his first two touchdown passes: "The first one they did a pretty decent job of covering us up, so I tried to buy a little bit of time, was able to make a guy miss and truthfully was looking for Joique (Bell) in the flat just to pick up the first down. The defender did a great job of reacting and covering him. I looked up and Calvin (Johnson) did a great job of uncovering from the sideline and took the middle of the field. I had enough time to peak out there and make sure nothing bad was going to happen, threw him a ball and he did the rest. The second one the offensive line did a great job. The defense had a blitz on, popped out and gave me a step-up lane and I was able to move. I was trying to get Calvin to move out there a little quicker. I could see that no one was back there, so I just tried to put a ball in a good spot and a spot for him to go make a play. It'll be fun to watch it on TV to get a better view of it. I heard it was a pretty sweet catch."

On how much more confidence he has on his footwork outside the pocket: "I don't work too much on my moves in practice, but no, it's definitely a big part of it. I'm trying to be as good as I can be with my feet and my eyes, stuff like that. We drill that quite a bit. Some of those plays are just natural instinct, it's just going to happen. A little bit off the beaten path, but guys are making plays and it was nice to see."

On how he believes he has progressed in terms of his decision making: "I'm just trying to be as smart as I possibly can. Our defense was playing outstanding tonight. They were getting us the ball back and stopping New York. I knew if we just played smart, still aggressive without question by making some big plays by throwing the ball down the field, but with how our defense was playing, that was going to be a recipe for success."

On if he felt as comfortable in the new offense as he looked: "Yes, I felt pretty good. No question, we have things to work on. There are times we had the ball in the red zone and we stalled out. Early on in the game we didn't run the ball as well as we wanted to. We ran it great in the fourth quarter when we really needed it, which is a great sign. There are things we can work on and things we can get better at. We did a great job of communicating. Guys up front and I were on the same page, our backs were on the same page in protection. They didn't blitz us too much, but when they did we were able to hurt them with some big plays."

On his rushing touchdown: "They did a great job of covering us up on that. They had a population issue over there to the left where we were trying to get the ball and Calvin (Johnson) was doubled as well. Our offensive line, again, did a great job of giving me some lanes to step up in, so I decided to take off and saw the one little opening to the right, knew I probably didn't have the jets to get there, but if I sold him enough that I could maybe cut back. I cut back, got in, saw (Jon) Beason coming and I wasn't just going to let him hit me in the chest, so I tried to give him a little something and turn around. I was just fired up. I thought our guys played great and played tough. It was fun to get back out there, for sure."

On his chemistry with QB Matthew Stafford: "I know when Matt breaks that pocket you've got to continue to work because he can put it anywhere on field for you. The first one I just saw an opening in the middle of the field. I believe the safety and corner collided and easy touchdown there. He'll throw that thing back shoulder for me if he sees a hole out there like he did on the second one."

On the impact of WR Golden Tate: "Man, Golden's going to pull some coverages. Man we got so many weapons on offense, you know. We got guys out there that can pull certain coverages each play. Reggie (Bush) gets double covered sometimes, I'll get it, Golden (Tate) might get it, Joe (Fauria) might get it. You never know, so it's always going to be somebody that'll have a chance to make a play.  

On the Giants' defensive coverage being lighter: "It was good, I mean, they had two good corners out there. They had a good secondary overall, so I'm sure they had confidence in their guys."

On being single-covered: "There were some opportunities there where we had some single coverage, you know, but it wasn't all the time. But there were some opportunities. It's the NFL, you get the best playing against the best, so you are going to get those opportunities."

On tonight's win over the Giants: "It was nice. It was a good team we faced and I thought we did a good job taking advantage of what they gave us. We took what they gave us and that was the passing game. They had a lot of eight-man fronts, but it was a good all-around win. Every phase of the game affected the score. It was a good way to start."

On if he was surprised with the effectiveness of the offense tonight: "Not at all. We knew what they were going to do. They singled them up a lot and 81 (WR Calvin Johnson) went to work. That's that. We've seen this story before. If they want to do that, he's going to have days like that."

On QB Matthew Stafford's performance: "He really took control of where we were going with protections and in the run game. He did a nice job of just taking control and just being that general on the field that we want him to be. He did a great job."

On the offense's quick start: "We came out on a mission to move the ball and to score touchdowns. I think they might have forgotten that C.J. (WR Calvin Johnson) is Megatron and left him open a few times. It's great to get a fast start. We scored on our first two drives and that was important."

On the atmosphere surrounding Ford Field tonight: "I've very impressed with our fan base. They showed up big and so did we. It was a great team effort and we couldn't have done it without them. They put some pressure on the Giants and we got a big win."

On taking significant time off the clock in the fourth quarter: "Yeah, I think the drive before our last was seven minutes, which is incredible four-minute offense right there. Just getting first downs, staying in bounds and that's key. That's something this team hasn't been the best at lately. We've been in every game lately, last year in the fourth quarter. I think it was key that we came in and ran the ball effectively. We kept the clock going and didn't give them any opportunities."

On his performance tonight: "It was a good start. I think we did a lot of things well tonight. There are a lot of things I think we need to improve on. We left some plays on the field, but I think it's a good start for us."

On how the team tried to attack the Giants defensively: "We expected them to come out and run and they tried to hit us with some quick throws. I think the coaches prepared us well. I think we had a good feel for what they were going to try do. It allowed us to play fast."

On getting pressure on Giants QB Eli Manning: "That's one of the things we wanted to do. Sometimes pressure isn't all about getting the sacks, it's about moving (the quarterback) off his spot and throwing his timing off. I think that was one of our goals, get him rattled a little bit early and make him get rid of the ball quick."

On what he thought about CB Nevin Lawson's play after CB Bill Bentley went out with an injury: "I think he came in and played a great game. That's what we expect of him. He's on the roster for a reason. It's not like he's just here to play special teams or have a redshirt year, and he's here to play. We have confidence in him and he came in and did a great job, that's what we expect going forward."

On how big of a game this was defensively: "This was a chance for us on national TV to show the world who we are. We're a new Detroit Lions team and we wanted to come out on defense and make a statement, come out on offense and make a statement, as well as a team. What better way to come out and do it than on Monday Night Football on the season opener? I thought we played a great team game both offensively, defensively and special teams. We got out of it with a win and that's what we expected. It's fun when your expectations come to fruition. You go out there and prepare through the week and when the game time comes you play well. It's a tribute to our preparation, our coaches, our effort throughout the week and just being ready to go."

On what it felt like having the Ford family present for a win on a night where Mr. Ford was remembered: "It was a nice moment for us, obviously, with the passing of Mr. Ford. To have Mrs. Ford and family come in, that's just a great moment for us and a great moment for them. We appreciate everything they do for us with all of their support. That was a great moment for us. We were happy that we were able to play the way we played where we honored and celebrated Mr. Ford. It was good for them to be here."

On the players who filled in because of injuries: "It's a credit to management and to coaches for recruiting well. It's the next guy up. We definitely don't like to see a soldier down, but once it happens, because it's going to happen in this league, the next person has to be ready to play good football. Isa (Abdul-Quddus) and Nev (Nevin Lawson) did that today. Kudos for the coaches getting them ready in practice so that they would be ready once their number was called."

On if there was a message at halftime about the number of penalties: "No, we just can't hurt ourselves. Whatever they had, we gave them. On the defensive side of the ball I don't think they had a first down except for the four penalties that they had. We just knew that we had to clean things up. You see how the refs are calling it and you adjust to it, so we were able to do that today. It was a good day of football for the Lions."

On the play in the trenches on both sides: "Coach Caldwell says all the time, the offensive front and the defensive front is the heartbeat of this team. If you try to build a team otherwise, you won't win in the trenches, then you can't win anywhere else. Kudos to the guys for coming to play hard and controlling the front and controlling the trenches."

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