The Detroit Lions couldn't stop the Minnesota Vikings on defense or find a consistent offense in time to forge a comeback Sunday afternoon in the midst of an ugly 34-24 loss. As a result, the team is now on the outside looking in of the NFC playoff race. Despite all the problems and the now long odds of the postseason, Jim Schwartz and the Lions apparently aren't feeling all that desperate; they're feeling urgent. Spin it any way you'd like, but the Lions are now heading up a creek with an ever thinning paddle.
Today, Schwartz spoke at length about what went wrong with the offense in Minnesota, the terrible contributions of the secondary and analyzed some math with regard to playoff hopes. Oh yeah, Schwartz also said Ndamukong Suh might have enjoyed his best game in a Lions' uniform on Sunday. Coach say what?
What Happened Yesterday On Offense First Half To Second Half? Was It A Question Of Bad Scheme? "I don't think it's so much scheme. We called the same plays in the second half as we did in the first. You look at the first drive, we got a couple first downs, moved the ball well, then got a 15 yard penalty. We had three drives where penalties stalled things. 1st and 20 was not something we overcame in this game. I thought we were executing well, but we had too many third and longs in this game. We were good in the red zone in this game, but poor on third down because we were in far too many third and long situations."
What Plays Into The Mentality Of The First Half Struggles And Second Half Performances? Is This Becoming A Monumental Problem? "No, I don't think so at all. We're always going to try our very best in the first half. The week before against Jacksonville, we scored 21 and were very efficient in the first half. What is significant here is that we have battled back. We haven't seen deficits grow and we have battled back. Rather than getting credit for that, it is emphasized what we haven't done in the first half."
Is The Lack Of Explosive Runs Helping To Stall The Offense? "However you're getting the chunks you're getting them. The efficiency of the run game is important. When we've been successful on the ground, we've been successful offensively. We moved the ball at times. As long as you can threaten both, you're doing good. Give credit to a stout Minnesota defense, but, in the first have we weren't there with run game. Explosive plays are important, but they all count the same, no matter how you get them."
How Efficient Was The Running Game Yesterday, And What Was The Difference Between What Mikel Leshoure And Joique Bell Did This Week Versus Last Week? "We were a little bit less than 50 percent. I wouldn't call it anything other than a good Minnesota defense. Leshoure didn't have a whole lot of holes. There were a few cuts he could second guess, but he did ok."
Analyze The Play Of Your Defensive Front Four. Did You Get Enough Out Of Them Yesterday? "Nick (Fairley) had one of the best games he's played since he's been here. A lot like our team, a lot of his mistakes overshadowed the good things he did. We only had a three man rotation in the middle and then at end when Cliff (Avril) went down. I thought Ndamukong Suh played one of the best games he's played since he's been here. We had a few mistakes that overshadowed some good things."
Is Nick Harris's Punting The Only Thing Killing Field Position? "It's on every bit of us. We certainly were on the wrong end of the field position yesterday. We had three 80 yard drives on offense, which is hard to do, even though we're one of the teams that can do it. Our defense was effected more than our offense. We had very thin margins to play with on defense, and they made us pay for a couple of those. It's a combination between punt location, distance, hang time and coverage."
Analyze The Play Of The Secondary. Have They Done Well Despite The Injuries? "Yeah, but unfortunately we don't get graded on a curve. Injuries are what they are. One of the things we needed to do in that game was prevent the big play down the middle. They were able to get that right away. They were able to get the tight end going, and we had trouble stopping that as well. We had a mistake in the end zone, which got them a touchdown. This wasn't our best performance. We gave up too many big plays and big runs."
With Green Bay And Houston Coming Up, Two Better Passing Attacks, What Can The Secondary Do To Improve? "We can play better. We had a couple miscommunications We can also do a better job with technique. But, not every week are you faced with the challenge of Adrian Peterson, either. We devoted a lot to stopping him with mixed results. Over the course of time, he broke out. We did devote a lot of resources trying to stop Peterson yesterday."
With All The Defensive Attention That Calvin Johnson Gets, Other Receivers Have To Step Up. What Did You Think Of Their Performance With Regards To That Yesterday? "That's the name of the game. We didn't have a lot of free access over the middle of the field deep in this game. There were times we did and times we didn't. With the lost yardage and penalties, it's tough to get down the field that way, especially when they know deep passes are coming and have a decent pass rush. It's tough. We had some good plays with Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew, but left some other ones on the field. We were minus two in turnovers, and that's not a good formula for winning anywhere, much less on the road."
Were The Vikings Headhunting And Did You Notify The League About Any Hits? "The league reviews tape and looks for things like that. If there's something that may go unnoticed, we bring it to someone's attention. I don't think in this case anything was not noticed, it was flagged. That's the nature of the passing game now. The last thing you want to see is guys get hit in head."
How Is Calvin Feeling? "He's gotten better over the last couple weeks. He was better this week than last week. He's fighting through just like a lot of guys are, and still able to be successful."
Especially With Regard To The Hits On Calvin, Were The Vikings Trying To Deliberately Hurt Your Players On Defense? "I don't think anyone in this league is trying to hurt anyone. He's a six foot five receiver. When Matt (Stafford) throws it up, he has to get it. Hits are going to happen. Thank goodness he was alright. It's a difficult situation. The ones is on defensive players to avoid that contact and the league to find it."
Any Injury Updates? "There's no real updates. Chris (Houston) hurt same ankle that kept him out earlier. Cliff (Avril) wasn't able to return with a concussion. He's been fighting some other things, but he was much improved after the game. He presented different after the game than others with concussions have. Everyone is still battling through, even (Louis) Delmas. He wasn't on crutches this week."
Update On Amari Spievey? Is He Close? "I don't know, he's on a concussion return. I don't have any answers there. When it does, it does."
Is Drayton Florence Ready To Come Back For This Weekend's Game? "He's eligible to come back and he's cleared. With the injuries that we've had in the secondary, we could use a veteran presence like he presents."
With The Playoff Push Underway And The Lions Struggling, Has An Attitude Of Desperation Set In Yet? "Yeah, I wouldn't call it desperate or dire, our word is urgent. After two on the road, we now have three in a row at home, we have to do something with that. We don't have wiggle room for mistakes down the stretch. But, that's life in the NFL. Our feeling today is like when we got home from Chicago. A road loss, divisional opponent, mistakes we made. We were able to come back on a short week and win against Seattle. Then, we were able to beat Jacksonville. It starts with Green Bay on Sunday."
That Being Said, The Odds Of This Team Making The Playoffs Now Aren't Good. Mathematically, They're Terrible. Your Thoughts? "Our goal is a one game wining streak this week. I think that's the only thing we can work for right now. We're going to prepare for this game. We'll leave the math for the mathematicians and the stats for statisticians. You need to win the next game you play and put a win or loss behind you. The last two Super Bowl winners were 7-7 with two games to go. There's some math for you."Amari Spievey, Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Drayton Florence, Football, Jim Schwartz, Joique Bell, Mikel Leshoure, Ndamukong Suh, NFL, Nick Harris, Titus Young