DETROIT LIONS POSTGAME NOTES
- The Lions offense ran for a season-high 152 yards on 32 attempts (4.8 avg.) and three touchdowns. The 152 yards on the ground are the most since the team has 157 rushing yards vs. Arizona 11/13/05, and that total is the most allowed by Dallas, who entered the game ranked fourth against the rush in the NFL allowing just 85.6 yards per game, this season.
- The three rushing touchdowns today are the most by the Lions since they recorded four vs. Baltimore November 9, 2005.
- RB T.J. Duckett had a 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, tied for the longest touchdown run by the team this year. It is his longest touchdown rush as a Lion and his longest since 2004. On the Lions' opening drive, the Lions had four rushes for 63 yards.
- RB Kevin Jones, who finished the day with 92 rushing yards on 23 attempts (4.0 avg) had a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, his seventh of the year. His seven rushing touchdowns are a single-season career high and the most by a Lions back since James Stewart had 10 in 2000.
- With his second rushing touchdown of the game, a 3-yard run in the third quarter, Jones has recorded his fourth career multi- touchdown rushing game. His last multi-touchdown rushing game came in 2006 against Atlanta (11/5).
- DE Dewayne White recorded a 9-yard sack of Cowboys QB Tony Romo in the third quarter. He now has a team- and career-high 6.5 sacks on the season.
- K Jason Hanson scored nine points in today's game, giving him 102 for the season. He now has reached the 100-point mark in 10 different seasons and became the eighth player in NFL history to score 100 points in 10 seasons.
LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
Opening statement: "WR Troy Walters had a concussion, that's one of the injuries. FB Casey FitzSimmons has a contusion on the bottom part of his leg, we'll check that out and S Kenoy Kennedy (has a) hamstring. Questions?"
On what happened on the last play that Dallas scored on: "You know, I need to see the whole thing (on tape), but I think we were in man (coverage) and we just need to make the play on it."
On playing hard: "Yeah, we played hard, but that's why you sign up, to play hard - you're supposed to do that."
On not recovering the sack fumble on Dallas' last possession: "It's about the details and winning the game and we had two or three opportunities and we just need to make those plays and we didn't do that. We've got no excuse; you just need to make them."
On Hanson's missed field goal: "He just missed it by that much, he pushed it out right."
On whether the missed field goal was the emotional turning point of the game: "You know, you're probably right, but I'd be disappointed if it was. It shouldn't matter; you just keep playing the next snap. You know, we just can't (let go) - we had a lot of football left and we had to go out and had a chance to move the ball and get first downs and had a chance to go out with no timeouts (for Dallas) at the end of the game. With a 1:48 or whatever you need to win that game. You need to get a rush, we got one; you need to get those balls out and then get the ball - there's just no excuse for that."
On today's effort by the Lions team: "You know, they played very hard, but it's required to win. Winning is required, and I expect - I demand it - that they play hard. They haven't and I get on them about it. It's about winning and I'm just not going to throw bouquets out for a good hard effort; that's what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to go out and compete everyday, and when we're not I'm upset. Today we went and competed, but it was a winnable game and we need to make the plays."
On why DT Shaun Rogers wasn't in the game on Dallas' fourth and one on the goal line: "Well, we're just rotating them in and out of the game. We're just rotating fresh guys in there."
On being able to run the ball and the performance of the offensive line: "I think we just felt - I think (Damien) Woody has added a lot to the front as a right offensive tackle and we've really solidified the pass protection over there. I just think they're coming alive and we knew one thing we had to do - we felt we had to keep their offense off the field. We knew that to have a chance we had to keep their offense off the field. We felt if we could control the game like that, be smart and keep our defense somewhat fresh, then we'd have to play fresh."
On what ultimately led to today's defeat: "Yeah, there's so many things right now to just go back and mentally see them all right now - I mean there's an illegal procedure here or a penalty here, those types of things. Once I have a chance to watch the tape - I just keep looking at the little things; maybe getting a better rush here, a better tackle, the kickoff team hurt us, and we lost a lot of field position on that."
On the difference in mindset between the two teams: "We've been in these (games) early this year and we've had a chance to win them. We have to win those types of games to be a really good team - which I want us to be and expect us to be. That's why it's important just to learn from it and don't feel good about it. There's nothing good to feel good about; you're expected to play hard."
On whether he has faith in their ability to cover kickoffs: "The third one when he hit it - the one he came out on down the sideline and barely stepped out of bounds - I was concerned about that one. I thought the very first one, we made a play but the guy kind of tripped; I thought there was a seam there at that time too. We just need to keep looking for answers or I'm going to have to put more starters on; one or the other. This can't keep up; it's been hurting us now for a month."
On whether he has the same guys on special teams that he had in the beginning of the year: "No. Ramzee Robinson is on it, (Greg) Blue is on it right now - I mean we've got three or four new guys on it. You know, we have to teach them and they have to make the plays; they're NFL players and they have to go down there and make those plays."
On whether something happened to RB Aveion Cason for him to not make the last kickoff return: "No, (Brandon Middleton) just has great, electrifying speed. He's got a chance to maybe make something big happen."
On whether he can look back at the positives from this game: "The thing I look at is that it's something to build off of."
On DB Greg Blue's effort to recover the fumble on the goal line: "Yeah, I need to see the film more to see how he (got in), but you know he's a big physical guy and he's always been known as a hitter. He's a young player, so he's somebody to look at."
On whether he thought they got the play off on their own 1-yard line when Dallas called timeout: "You know, I did, but he said they didn't, so we have to go with what they say. I mean I can argue, but it's like arguing to a wall."
On whether DE Kalimba Edwards was a healthy scratch: "Yes a healthy scratch, because I thought the other guys were rushing better."
On whether they are a playoff team: "Like I told them, the effort was good, all those things were just not good enough. We need to go back, put another good week together. There's no pity parties - I'm not interested in stuff like that. We're an NFL team that needs to go back and get back to work again. We (need to) get excited, go on the road and play another good football team and just keep playing. We've gotten better today, but it's not good enough; it's just not good enough."
On having a good day covering WR Terrell Owens: "Cover 2's always. You know, but it opens up other things to the tight end and stuff like that. You just don't give up the deep stuff in cover 2, but you need to tackle and you need to rush to really make it go."
LIONS QB JON KITNA
On if this loss is tougher than the last few weeks: "You just have to give credit to them, they played better than us today."
On the way the offense had a nice balance today: "Again, our offense and in particular Coach Martz seems to be a lightning rod for the media, but the reality is when we're in the normal flow of a football game we are a balanced offense. You can check every single game. When we are in a normal flow of a game, we are a balanced football team and that's what we were today."
On the play of WR Shaun McDonald: "We know Shaun is a good player. We know Shaun is a pretty underrated player in this league. He is a tough match-up for people and he played his butt off today."
On how frustrating it was to be on the sidelines during Dallas' last drive: "I was just preparing myself for if we had to go back out there and score."
On if this is the most stinging loss of the season: "Every loss in this league is tough."
On getting ready for San Diego next week: "I'm not going to talk about San Diego today, we just finished a football game 10 minutes ago."
On who steps up at this point to rally the team: "We have strong leadership on this football team. A lot of guys were down last week. We bounced back and played a heck of a game today. A lot of guys were down after the Giants game, and we bounced back and played a tough game against the Packers in a short week. We are not going to have problems to get back up to play a football game. That's not the problem, but of course we're going to be down. You lay your life on the line out there. You play your heart out, and when you lose, especially in that manner it's like you got your heart ripped out of your chest. Of course guys are down, and they'll probably be down for a few days. You just have to get back on it Wednesday."
On the missed field goal by K Jason Hanson: "They missed one and we missed one."
LIONS RB T.J. DUCKETT
On how tough of a game it was: "We came out and played hard. We gave it everything we had, but it wasn't good enough. That is the frustrating part. We had them. We had them where we wanted them. A play here or a play there and the locker room would have been a lot different. We tried hard, but like I said it wasn't good enough."
On how comfortable he feels in this offense: "I think me and Kevin (Jones), when we are rolling, it is tough for the defense to know what we're doing. It also opens up the receivers. They had a great day today catching the ball. The offensive line, once they get in a groove coming off the ball, that's what they want to do is come off and hit people in the mouth. The offensive line played amazing, giving Kevin and myself running room. It's just a tough one."
On not giving up sacks: "The offensive line played unbelievable, unbelievable. We kept attacking them; we kept attacking them in the run game which kept them off their toes. I can't give enough credit to those guys up front. They played their hearts out."
LIONS T DAMIEN WOODY
On what happened: "We didn't finish. Like Coach Marinelli said, your best is not good enough. You have to win the game. It's that simple. This game is about results, wins and losses, and we let them off the hook today. We just didn't finish the job. They played 60 minutes, we didn't. They came away with the victory."
On how they bounce back from a loss like this one: "Well, you're a professional. You have no choice. It's your job. It's every man's job in here to put this one behind us, as hard as it is, put it behind us and be ready for another game at San Diego. They're not going to feel sorry for us. We've got to get ready to go."
On the offensive line's performance: "Well, I mean, up front, we just want an opportunity to just show that we can be a physical team. When you have balance - I'm going to say it again - when you have balance on offense, it just makes the whole flow of the game, it makes everything so much better. Especially with a talented offense like the Cowboys have, we really did a pretty good job of time of possession, eating up clock, converting on third downs, all those type of things. A couple times, we needed to punch it in for a touchdown instead of a field goal, but other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job, as far as eating clock, just converting on third downs and putting points up on the board against a very good defense."
On balance being the key: "Balance was the key, and when you're able to run the ball, it makes pass protection so much easier, because they don't know what's coming next. We've just got to keep doing that moving forward and get ready for San Diego."
LIONS S GREG BLUE
On hearing the crowd chant his name: "It felt good, it took me back to college right there."
On what happened on the last series: "That last play, I really don't know. I think they threw a seam route to the tight end. It was a good catch by him. It was a good play by the quarterback and Witten. He just made a good play, a great play. He's a big play tight end, so he made the big play when it counted."
On bouncing back from the loss: "You've just got to get back up and be professionals. That's our job. You're not expecting to go undefeated, so you've just got to bounce back. You get paid to bounce back."
LIONS DT LANGSTON MOORE
On if the loss was harder because the team played well: "It's kind of surreal that we had a chance to get back in to the playoff hunt and get a leg back up, and beat a team that is definitely going to be in the playoffs and gauge ourselves to see where we're at. You know, it hurts. But we've got to get ready for the next game."
On the chance the team had to recover the fumble: "There's no reason to feel bad. We ride and die with each other, so there's a situation, 100 times, we have that play again, I tell him to do the same thing 100 times. Everybody did their part. (Jared Devries) got a great rush; Paris obviously saw something that he could pick the ball up. So, it was just great for him to be around the ball, but the ball bounced their way. You know, it bounced our way earlier when it was on the goal line. I mean, we could play devil's advocate all day."
On if there are no moral victories: "Yeah, just like I was saying, nobody feels sorry for us. We've still got three games left. We're all professionals. We're just ready to go back to work and keep going more, doing more, because obviously it wasn't good enough. So, keep going."
COWBOYS HEAD COACH WADE PHILLIPS
Opening statement: "Ninth time that we've come from behind this year, and it shows you the character and the heart of this team. Obviously we didn't play as well as we wanted to throughout the game overall, but you got to do what it takes to win. That's what we did. I was disappointed in some areas, but I'm really happy that we won. Certainly it is hard to win on the road. They play really well at home, I thought they played really well today against us. We almost won the game and fumbled on the one inch line, but we came back and I was glad Witten got the touchdown to put it away because he was the guy that fumbled on the 1-yard line.
"Outstanding game, and we showed our character again. I just think this team, we've been behind before, we didn't want to be behind, we wanted to start out quicker than we did. They ran the ball a lot better than we thought they would against us. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes the game goes like that. We picked up the tempo in the second half because we were behind. Offensively we ran the plays quicker and I think that gave us some time at the end to be able to win the ball game. Strategy wise, I thought we did a good job with that. Like I said, we came from behind which we've been able to do with this team throughout. It wasn't the prettiest game for us overall, but it was the best in that we came out the Eastern Division champs and that was our goal going into the game."
On if he knew the layoff would hurt them: "I didn't know. Ten days from playing, on the road, Detroit had played well at home, played real well against everybody at home. All those things were going. I didn't get them ready enough I guess because we didn't really hit on all cylinders starting out there."
On if the team was distracted by the Kitna talk last week: "I don't think so. We didn't stop their run well enough early in the game. They ran it well against Green Bay here. We saw that. We thought we'd play the run a little better than we did defensively and we didn't. We moved the ball on the first series and missed a long field goal. We missed some opportunities early offensively and defensively. We got behind and of course we went for it on fourth down. I thought that was the real key in the game. When we got it down to 1-yard; I probably would have kicked the field goal if we would have been fourth and 3. When we got it down to the 1-yard line, I thought we had the ablity to get it in. We did, and that kind of changed the momentum too."
On what the Lions did on offense: "They did a good job. They max protected quite a bit. They ran a lot of two and three cut routes where the wide out would start up the field and then come back. They would also start up the field twice and then come back. They hit us on those some. Outside routes hurt us overall some. I thought they did a good job and we just didn't cover them like I thought we would."
On how TE Jason Witten was after the fumble: "He was alright. He, like all our players, have made mistakes before and we've overcome them. Like I said, I was glad to see him. He ran a great route and Tony threw the ball right on the money, but he ran a great route to get that open on the touchdown. I was glad to see him get the touchdown."
COWBOYS QB TONY ROMO
On how it feels be division champions: "It feels good. Like Wade (Phillips) talked about at the beginning of the year, we have certain goals we set and as weeks go along we are achieving each one of those. It was a good hard fought victory tonight that obviously wasn't finished until the very end. It was good, and we are fortunate to come out of here with a win."
On the fumble on their game winning drive: "Yeah, Kyle recovered it. It happened so fast it was just kind of like, yeah he got it and we need to get on the ball. It was fourth down and you don't have time to worry about what just happened. You've got to go. It was unfortunate, but it was also a great job by them. The guys did a great job tonight of overcoming some adversity and just keep playing for 60 minutes and it showed."
On if the two-minute drive is another step for him: "I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody else but myself and probably my teammates, that we're good enough to win a Super Bowl around here and we're good enough to do what we set out to do. Not always are you going to get it done in those situations, but I can tell you that I enjoy being in those situations and it gets your juices flowing a little bit. It makes the game a lot of fun every once in a while. I probably wouldn't want it every game."
On if he refers back to the game against Buffalo: "I don't think we just think about that game. I just think collectively as a group we have a feeling that no matter how the game goes and the direction it is flowing, we are going to give ourselves a chance to win. This is the first team I've ever been around that doesn't ever get upset with each other; doesn't get on each other when stuff is not going good. You don't sit there and see people yelling and getting in each other's faces. It's positive encouragement and it's a situation where everyone believes we are going to find a way to right the ship and turn it around and we're going to win the game. It's never really been like that before since I've been around. The sense of urgency for this team is high but it also was never desperation. We always feel like we have a chance to win the game. We're going to find a way to have a chance to win the game. It happened tonight."
COWBOYS TE JASON WITTEN
On the emotion of the fumble and then the touchdown: "You try to make a play. You've got the ball on the 1-yard line. Tony had told me before to get my head around quick. It was the same defense we saw the entire game. I got on the one and I was just trying to make a play. I was trying to put the ball in the end zone. They just squeezed me pretty quickly and I shouldn't have been reaching and trying to put it in. I should have taken the 9-yard gain and moved on. As you play on this team and you feel like you are a playmaker and you can do all those things, you want the ball in your hands in that situation. I felt like the goat there. We told the defense, just get it back for us; just get it back for us. The biggest thing I thought after that play was that Tony on the game-winning drive came to me three or four times. He didn't lose confidence and I thought he was as close to flawless as he could be."
On the defense Detroit was playing: "They were just playing that cover two. We've had that a couple times. I think a lot of that goes to Terrell and they make us stop going down the field and just go 80 yards on them. That's when your quarterback has to be smart; your running back has got to play well. I thought they did a good job running the ball when we had a chance. That just opened up for me and Tony took it. It was nothing that I did special. That was just the coverage that they were playing. It just shows you on this team when you blitz us we are able to make some big plays. If you drop back in coverage we are able to do that. For Tony to not get greedy and just stay focused and march down the field the way he is doing it, that's good when your quarterback is playing that way."
On what the huddle was like on that last drive: "Obviously I was excited to have the ball back after thinking I lost the game for us. We thought: just play smart, don't do too much. We knew what they were going to play; they had been playing it the entire game. We knew we had to make completions and get out of bounds. We didn't have timeouts. That's really what we thought. Sam Hurd made a big play getting that ball and getting out of bounds."
COWBOYS WR TERRELL OWENS
On not playing a big factor - numbers wise - in today's game: "I think they played a lot of safety over the top, they double and triple teamed me, but you saw Marion (Barber) and Jason (Witten) get a lot of balls today because I drew a lot of coverage. The only thing that matters is this hat on my head - we won and nothing else matters. I don't care what happens in the first, second or third quarter, but this game really tested our character a little bit and we went down and scored. It was a team effort and we did what we had to do to win."
On their fumble at the goal line late in the game: "Well that's just part of the game. I think that was a tough break for us at that point in time, but we didn't give up. I think our defense really stepped up at an opportune time to get that three and out and we came back and put some points on the board."
On having RB Marion Barber as an asset to their team: "I think Marion is a bonus for us. You said an asset and I mean, whether he's running the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield, I think that's something that's great amongst our running backs, because they can run it and they can catch it out of the backfield as well. I think the second touchdown that he scored - I knew he was going to be wide open with the play that was designed, because I was going to draw a lot of attention. I told him, you're going to be wide open on this and Tony (Romo) just kind of floated it over there and it was a touchdown. I know a lot of things that I do enable a lot of guys to kind of make some plays. I'm going to run to get open and if I'm not open, then Tony is going to see that and he's going to get the other guys' the ball. Offensively, we just had to kind of back the defense up a little bit and we came out with the win."
On whether he is frustrated at not getting balls thrown to him: "No, not at all. Like I said, there were opportunities there and Tony (Romo) took advantage of those. I watched (Witten) during the course of practice and he's great at making guys miss. He's a great route runner and so (Witten) did what he had to do to get open and Tony (Romo) found him today."