The Detroit Lions improved to 4-5 on the season with a 30-27 win over Washington Sunday at Ford Field. The win certainly wasn't perfect, as Detroit blew a 21-point second half lead and needed a 59-yard Matt Prater field goal to win it as time expired, but a win is a win, and no Lions player or coach will ever apologize for securing one.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia spoke to the media Monday after going over the film from Sunday's win, and as he and his staff turn the page to start preparing for this week's game in Carolina against the 3-7 Panthers.
What's the update on quarterback Matthew Stafford's right hand injury?
Stafford injured his throwing hand early Sunday and said after the game that it didn't feel good gripping the ball immediately after suffering the injury. It certainly didn't affect his play the rest of the game, however. Stafford threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and a 127.8 passer rating against a Washington defense that entered the game No. 1 in the league against the pass.
"Nothing really new to report," Patricia said of the injury. "Still getting information there and we'll just go through the week and report it as we go."
Sticking with injuries, reports out of Carolina are that All-Pro Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey won't play this week due to a shoulder injury. Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater left Sunday's game with a knee injury and his status for Sunday is up in the air. What are the challenges preparing for a team with so much injury uncertainty to key players?
Bridgewater and McCaffrey are great players, and Carolina is certainly a much more explosive offense with those guys in the lineup, especially McCaffrey, who is one of the top five players in the league.
Patricia said they'll prepare like both guys are playing and will adjust accordingly. Either way, Patricia said Carolina head coach Matt Rhule will have a good plan set up for whoever is in those spots.
What did Patricia like about D’Andre Swift's performance Sunday?
The Lions' rookie running back rushed for 81 yards and caught 68 yards worth of passes, including a touchdown. He joined Billy Sims (1980) as the only rookies to produce a game with at least 80 rushing yards and 60 receiving yards in franchise history.
After watching the tape Monday, Patricia pointed to Swift's toughness as something that really stood out to him.
"We know he's a tough guy and he plays extremely hard and he plays with a lot of energy and some of the plays he made were really smart, too," Patricia said. "That's something that's maybe just evolving as him as a player understands our offense a little bit better and understands some of the situations of the game a little bit better and how to execute them."
How difficult are the short-term IR decisions in regards to week-to-week injuries?
This was really a question in reference to Lions Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who missed his second consecutive game Sunday with a hip injury. The Lions opted not to put Golladay on IR, which would have forced him to miss at least three games, but would have opened up a roster spot to replace him in the meantime. The hope is certainly Golladay can return to practice this week and have a chance of playing in Carolina on Sunday.
"I think (those decisions) are tough," Patricia said of short-term IR designations. "Obviously it's a great tool to have and we definitely are trying to use it when we can. Certainly when you're talking about everyone's individual body and how they heal and how fast they heal it's certainly a little bit of a guessing game. You have a window that you think guys hopefully can come back."
What does Patricia have to say to some of the criticism the Lions faced for the way they won Sunday?
"Never upset about a win," he said. "I'll tell you that much."
The win kept the Lions in the playoff hunt in the NFC. They are currently only two games back from seventh-seed Seattle (6-3).
"We know there's some parts of the game we have to do a better job of, but certainly the ones that we executed well, I think that's what helped us be able to have that opportunity to win," Patricia said about Sunday's win.
"I think all that's important for us right now is going out and playing well this week knowing that we're going to play another tough team, it's the NFL, Carolina is going to be ready to go and we have to learn from (Sunday's) game. It's a copycat league, there's things that come up in the game that are going to show up in the next game or a couple games down the road, so we have to get that stuff cleaned up and try to improve."