The Detroit Lions won another thrilling road game, making Jim Schwartz quite the happy camper at his Monday press conference despite feeling a little groggy. Schwartz discussed the ins and outs of Detroit's latest road victory, including thoughts about his defense and running game, the play of Matthew Stafford, the failed short yardage conversions and the buildup for Saturday's potential playoff clincher against San Diego.
Here's more of what you need to know directly from the coach:
How Was The Plane Ride Back? "We were pleased to get the win and excited, but it is a long trip back from a late game. We didn't have any champagne."
On How Lions Will Respond Trying To Clinch A Playoff Birth On Saturday: "That's why you play 'em. These last two are important. If we're able to accomplish what we want to accomplish, we always say its a one week season. We've put ourselves in good position early and have got some wins in December, and that's what its all about."
Emphasis On Saturday's Game: "I think everyone understands it. We need to beat the San Diego Chargers. We're not playing the out of town scoreboard, were playing the Chargers. Everybody knows what's at stake."
Will The Team Be Too Fired Up On Saturday? "I don't think so. I don't think that is something on our radar that we're trying to prevent. We talked about that prior to the Monday Night game (a dominating win against Chicago)."
On The Sputtering Running Game vs. The High Octane Passing Game: "We try to score points, whether its running them in or passing them in. We try to move the football and score, those are the only things that matter. If running the ball for touchdowns counted for eight points, well, maybe then it would make a bit of a difference. We will do whatever we can to score points."
On The Expected Atmosphere At Ford Field Saturday: "Our fans have been great the last couple years and we have turned Ford Field into a significant home field advantage because of our fans. It's been a long time since we have given them the opportunity to (be excited) for a December home game so it will be fun."
Why Have There Been So Many Fourth Quarter Comebacks In The NFL This Year? "I don't know, is it more than it has ever been? There's great athletes in this league and great quarterbacking in this league and there is a high correlation between those things (and coming back)."
What Tendencies Do Quarterbacks Need To Lead A Comeback? "Well, you have to be resilient, and you cant let the game get you down. To come back, obviously you need to fall way behind first, so resiliency is key. I think having play makers is important too, you cant do it by yourself as a quarterback, and there is a calm and patience involved there as well. That comes from having confidence."
On His Nonchalant Attitude Today: "I'm just tired as hell! (Laughter). It was a long trip, we're coming up on a short week and all those things. We need to get to the point where we are not celebrating early wins (like week three in 2009 against Washington) we need to get to a point where winning becomes assumed and is expected. Last year we were 4-0 in December, this year we are 2-0 so far. It is becoming expected, but we still have a long way to go."
Are Your Players Pressure Tested From All These Close Games? "I think there is something to that, coming from behind. I also think there is something to be learned from running away from teams and closing them out late. Obviously, we haven't done that much this season, but everything you do, you gain experience from."
On Matthew Stafford's Late Heroics And Him Looking Like A Veteran: "I think that his worst throw was our biggest one (the deep bomb to Calvin Johnson late). I think the one he did to Calvin on the sideline, that's not a high percentage throw but you need to make those if you want to move the ball 98 yards without a timeout. We converted third downs, he converted a fourth down with his legs. you have to be able to do all those things. Matt has seen a lot of things in three years and he's got some dog years to his experience because he's played a lot of football in his life. He's been on track for a long time, that's the reason we drafted him and that's why he will get us a lot of wins."
The Scheme of His Defensive Backs Playing Far Off Oakland's Wide Receivers: "We were not conceding everything. Chris Houston was not 100% and obviously had some trouble. There was a slick field, so there were some other issues at play there. Lots of it, though, the quarterback was taking what was given to him. Still, we need to do a better job tackling and we need to cover reverses better."
On Eric Wright and Justin Durant Playing Through Injuries And Having Success: "Yeah, they played well. They are professional football players, so let's not give out any purple hearts. They were able to play through pain."
New Injury Developments? "It's coming up on week 16. We'll probably have everyone on the 53 in the mix this week, whether they play or not it is too early to tell, but everyone will probably be in the mix."
More On Kevin Smith And The Misadventures Of The Running Game: "We didn't run the ball very well, but that defensive front is good so I want to give them credit. They are big and you don't realize it until you get out there, so we probably had better opportunities to pass."
The Short Yardage Plays On Third And Fourth Down Were Unsuccessful. Might There Be A Change In Scheme The Next Time? "Well, every week is different and we need to do a better job in those situations. We will need to do a better job the next time, but we don't necessarily need to change course just because it didn't work. There's something to believing what you do and not changing course every time the wind blows."
Thoughts On The Green Bay Packers Losing Their Undefeated Season: "Nothing surprises me in the NFL, there is a reason everyone is here. We can't worry about anyone but ourselves and the San Diego Chargers, though, so that's not our focus."
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