MIKE O'HARA

Matthew Stafford: "You are what your record says you are"

Posted Nov 25, 2013

Though it may not have been pretty the last couple weeks, Stafford cites that the Lions are still in first place and need to get back on track

Matthew StaffordQB Matthew Stafford says the team can take care of this losing streak amongst themselves. (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

The Lions might rank near the bottom on style points in their last two games, but the NFC North standings tell a different story.

Despite two straight losses to the Steelers and Buccaneers and a flood of turnovers that have cost them points and scoring opportunities, the Lions are still tied with the Bears for first place in the NFC North. Both are 6-5 with five games left.

Matthew Stafford resurrected a line made famous in the NFL by Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells when asked Monday if the Lions' feel like a first-place team.

"You are what your record says you are," Stafford said. "At this point, we lost some games and we won some games. We‘ve got to find the little things that maybe are eluding us right now and do them a little better and find a way to get on a run."

If the Lions don't start a run Thursday when the Packers come to town, their record will say they're a third-place team. The Packers are 5-5-1 and would move ahead of the Lions into second place with a victory.

The short turnaround from Sunday's loss to playing the Packers four days later could benefit the Lions by forcing them to focus immediately on the Packers and not hang their heads over a disastrous loss to the Bucs.

Stafford said he didn't see any loss of focus when the team reported for practice Monday.

"Just ready to go," he said of the team's mood. "Guys are ready to put that last one behind us and move on and play. The best thing for us is, we get to play on Thursday. We don't have to wait till Sunday."

Reggie Bush said after Sunday's loss that the Lions needed a players-only meeting. Nate Burleson seconded that, but Stafford disagrees.

No players meeting was held Monday, Stafford said.

"We did not," he said.

"This is a team I've been around for a while," Stafford said. "We've got strong leaders on this team. We can get it taken care of just in individual groups. We have leaders at every position. Guys know what it takes to win in this league and what a fine margin it is.

"There's no offense, defense or special teams overhaul needed. We've got to go out there and play a little better than we've been playing."

Because of the reduced preparation time and practice schedule, Stafford did not study Sunday's game in depth.

"Buzzed through it," he said.

The two interceptions that bothered him most were on a pass intended for tight end Brandon Pettigrew and another meant for Calvin Johnson in the end zone. Stafford did not see the safety on the throw to Johnson, and he thought he should have held the ball longer on the throw to Pettigrew to give him time to get free of the coverage.

The two other interceptions were on deflections. The fourth pick came in the last minute. Johnson had the ball at the five-yard line, but it was knocked from his grasp and caught in the air for a game-ending turnover.

"The last one to Calvin, I'm going to make that same throw 10 out of 10 times," Stafford said.