That was the central theme for the San Diego Chargers as they prepared to face the Atlanta Falcons Sunday.
‘A lot of people are criticizing Coach McCoy’
The players knew that what was being said behind the scenes about the Chargers’ dysfunction, highlighted by what has been perceived as poor coaching by Mike McCoy, couldn’t be allowed to become a distraction. As linebacker Denzel Perryman told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz, all of the negative talk became just the fuel that the Chargers needed on the way to 33-31 overtime victory against the Falcons.
“A lot of people were criticizing Coach McCoy and talking about how we were going to have a bad season, we were cursed and all that,” Perryman, who had an interception that helped set up a field goal, told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “And as a team, we just stuck together and pretty much just told each other, ‘Forget about what everybody’s saying. Just us, one week at a time, one day at a time,’ and it’s paying off right now.”
‘I just knew there was going to be a run’
On fourth-and-1 from the Atlanta 45 in overtime, Perryman correctly anticipated a run and dropped Donte Freeman for a two-yard loss. That set the stage for the winning 42-yard field goal by Josh Lambo to decide the game with 3:11 left in OT. That was Lambo’s fourth field goal of the game.
“I just knew there was going to be a run, to be honest with you,” Perryman said. “Everybody knows fourth-and-one, so sending all of us out there, you’re kind of thinking, ‘Like, OK, are they going to try to draw us offsides?’ As a defense, we know the situation, we know what’s going on. A lot of guys, we didn’t have to tell each other not to jump offsides; a lot of people already knew.
“But when he snapped that ball, I saw those instincts take over. I just went downhill, find a little crease and slip on through there.”
McLeod: Eagles believe their defense is ‘one of the best, too’
After two losses in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles felt a sense of desperation.
And in preparing to face the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles’ defense felt a great sense of pride to demonstrate that there would be more than one outstanding defense at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday.
‘It was huge getting back on track for us’
Which was exactly what happened in the Eagles’ 21-10 victory to give the Vikings’ their first loss of the season.
“It was huge getting back on track for us,” Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “Obviously, we didn’t play our standard the past few weeks and just wanted to come out and get back to basics, fundamentals and techniques. We talked about it all week and we prepared well and it was no better stage to do it (than) versus a team like the Vikings, who’ve been playing great, who were coming off a bye week, full of energy and all that, and back at home, too. It was just a great team effort.
‘We knew it was going to be a defensive battle’
“We knew it was going to be a defensive battle. We were hearing all week the Vikings’ defense is the top in the league, but we also believe that we’re one of the best, too. We just want to go out there and prove that, defend our home turf and just to play together.
And Coach (Doug) Pederson said all week, ‘Just keep chopping. A lot of things are going to happen in that game, there’s going to be a lot of highs and lows, but whatever happens, just keep chopping away and at the end, we should see the results that we want.'”
Lions’ Stafford: ‘I have belief in my teammates’
Matthew Stafford has been in these situations before.
Clock winding down. The Detroit Lions needing to march down the field for a field goal or a touchdown to win the game. He knows what it means to be clutch.
Winning the game at the end is ‘always what you can ask for’
And on Sunday, he was clutch once again in leading the Lions on a six-play, 75-yard drive to his 18-yard scoring throw to Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds left to give the Lions a 20-17 victory against the Washington Redskins.
“I enjoy (those situations), I look forward to them,” Stafford told Steve Torre and Bill Lekas on the Sunday Drive. “When you have the opportunity to go win the game, it’s always what you can ask for at the end of it. I think the biggest thing is I have belief in my teammates and the guys around me to make plays and they’re doing a great job of making them.”
‘Let’s go win it’
What does Stafford tell his teammates in the huddle before such a drive?
“Just, ‘Let’s go win it.’ I think that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “And we have to go over the situation. How many timeouts do we have? What do we need, a field goal or a touchdown? In this case, we needed a touchdown and we had all three timeouts, so we felt good about it and we could use the whole field and our guys did a great job of making plays and getting in the end zone.
‘We all believe in each other’
“I think we all believe in each other. We worked extremely hard throughout the week. We’ve got a lot of injuries at this point in the year and we’re just having guys come in and stepping up and playing major roles for us. And it’s pretty awesome when you have guys that are young guys that are making big plays and stepping up for you.”
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