Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell (11.21.21)

Opening statement:

“I thought our defense played their hearts out today. They played lights out and kept us in it. They controlled (Browns RB Nick) Chubb just like we said we needed to. They gave us a chance there. We ran it okay in spurts. Certainly (Lions RB D’Andre) Swift’s long touchdown helped. Special teams I thought played very well once again. Third down hurt us. Third down and then ultimately we had a couple of penalties that crushed us. They really hurt us. Guys played their hearts out, man.”


On the decision to kick the field goal:

“We talked about it, but I told myself the night before to be smart. Hang in there. If we play this game the right way like last week, we’re going to have an opportunity to get it back. Play smart. Don’t put ourselves in a bind. I was close, but then I chose to kick a field goal. I felt good about our defense.”


On the unsportsmanlike penalty on Lions G Jonah Jackson:

“He said something verbally.” Reporter question: To an official? “No, to a player.” Reporter question: What did he say? Did you get an explanation? “I got an explanation. I don’t know what to tell you. It was something about somebody’s mother. There was a lot of talking going on out there, but it was a penalty.”


On how costly the unsportsmanlike penalty was:

“It hurt. He knows. He knew it when it came off. But there was a lot of talking going on. As a matter of fact, while I’m getting told that, I’m hearing talking, but that’s part of it.”


On how frustrating penalties are when you’re trying to capitalize on opportunities:

“They’re frustrating. They are really frustrating. There again, we’re just not that type of team that can overcome those. Some can. We’re not. There again, take any one of those away and it may change the dynamic of that game. Yeah, it hurts. It hurts.”


On Lions QB Tim Boyle’s performance:

“He was solid. He ran the offense well. We had no communication errors. He was efficient. Look, he was a little rusty. A couple of those throws. He and Swift were on the same page on the first interception. That’s not all him, that’s on both of them. The long pick that he had was a hell of a throw. Now you’d like to just pull that inside just a little bit. He pulled the trigger on it and he gave us a chance. It’s either got to be our ball or nobody’s, but you have to throw some of those. Look, I wanted to be smart too. I didn’t want to throw this kid to the wolves. That’s not fair to him, either. I thought for what we asked him to do, he was solid. A couple of those interceptions, or there again one of them, that’s the price to do business. You hope it’s not the price because like I said, it’s yours or nobody’s. The first one was just, ‘are you going in, are you going out? What are you doing? Don’t throw it.’ But no, I’m not disappointed in the kid. I’m not disappointed in him. He hasn’t played since August. He was better in the fourth quarter than he was in the first, so when he got into a little bit of a rhythm, he was better.”


On finding the right amount of aggressiveness on fourth down and if they were all equally difficult decisions:

“The 4th and 1 was tough. The 4th and 9 wasn’t, just because I wanted to be smart with what we were doing. When you’re defense is playing like that, you want to be mindful of making sure that you’re being smart with your quarterback, but yet still having a chance to win, I felt like it was the right thing to do. I thought we’d get that ball back.”


On whether that’s why they ran the ball on third and long with Swift:

“Yes. That was to try and not put him under duress. That’s a pretty good rush team. (Browns DE Myles Garrett) 95 and (Browns DE Jadeveon Clowney) 90 on the edge and those guys in the middle. Now, I thought our protection was pretty dang good when we did throw it. I thought (T Taylor) Decker and (T Penei) Sewell and those guys up front did a pretty good job.”


On whether it is sustainable for Swift to keep putting up big rushing performances:

“We’ll find out. We’ll find out. This kid is pretty dynamic. I think more than anything it’s about the load that he takes. How many plays can he play a game? What kind of plays are those? Look, we have to be mindful, but at the same time, we’re trying to win a game. If he gives us the best opportunity to win, we have to find ways to get him the football.”


On Swift having only having 10 carries in the first three quarters:

“It’s tough when you can’t get first downs. It’s tough to get anybody in a rhythm. It’s easy to say we’ll give Swift the first 20 plays or whatever, but that’s not the reality of it. It really had nothing to do with him. It was more about where we were at. Shoot, I’d like to get (TE T.J.) Hockenson the ball. I’d like to, but when you don’t convert on third down, it just makes it tough. I think a lot of that is where we’re at in third downs. Those third and longs weren’t going to be conducive to us having success today. It was just the nature of the weather and where we’re at. I didn’t want to put Tim (Boyle) in tough situations like that until we had to. Our defense was playing outstanding and I wanted to hang my hat on that.”


On the final drive with Lions RB Jamaal Williams and Lions RB Godwin Igwebuike, and whether it was an injury in the series before that kept Swift off the field for a couple plays:

“He just got rolled out there. The second one we called for Godwin. The first one was a personnel group that had Jamaal in there, so that’s just kind of how it played out.”


On averaging around 70 passing yards in four quarters and where the play-calling falls into the strategy moving forward:

“Sure. Look, I get it. I’m sure there are a lot of people that question it and think that I was too conservative. Maybe I ought to throw it a lot more, but I’m just not ready to do that with where we were at here. Last week was a certain situation. This week was. I think you have to go where the game takes you. We have plenty of ammo in there but you also have to be careful. You have to be smart. How do you get yourself to have the best chance to win at the end, when you’re in it? I didn’t feel like it was right. I didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do. We’re trying to win games – 14-13, 16-13, no, but we’ll do whatever it takes to win a game. I just felt like the right thing to do was try to run it a little bit and try to take a little stress off of Tim, and get him going. I mean look, it’s no secret that we need to be better in the pass game.”


On the one deep throw and how Lions WR Josh Reynolds handled it:

“Look, there again, you’d like it inside just a little bit more, just a tick more. There again, if you don’t come down with it, you knock it down. That’s all. Look, the defender made a good play on the ball too. I was just glad we got one up and down. We have to be able to do that stuff because everyone is just going to sit on their routes.”


On how to balance being smart with being aggressive:

“We’re playing Myles Garrett here. We can do that. I love Decker. Decker is a hell of a player, but at some point, the more you pass it, and you allow this guy off the edge, he’s probably going to make a play. That play could be the one that makes the difference. That’s a sack fumble. That’s a strip. I’ve watched the first eight games of it, and you watch last year. I don’t think that’s fair to us. I don’t think it’s fair to Tim for this game. Now, if you said Tim plays against Chicago, I bet he’s going to be a little bit better and I bet you can throw it more than you did. I just felt like that’s the way I needed to play that game. You don’t want to go there until you have to. When the defense is playing as good as they were playing, I didn’t want to do it.”


On who will play next week and how close Lions QB Jared Goff was to returning for today:

“We’ll see where (QB Jared) Goff is at and then assess Tim. Here’s what I do know, if Tim does (play next week), he’s going to be better than he was today. And if he plays a third week, he’ll be better than he was the second week.”


On whether Goff is the starter:

“He was our starter before he got hurt. If he can go, he’s going.”


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