Inside the locker room: Justin Fields says the Lions had a playoff atmosphere in Week 17

DETROIT — Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears credited the Detroit Lions for bringing the juice, then pointed to Ford Field for creating a postseason atmosphere in Week 17.

Fields made some more magic on the ground. But the young quarterback had nothing going through the air or past the first quarter during Detroit’s 41-10 thrashing of the Bears. Fields completed seven passes on 21 attempts for only 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He added 132 rushing yards, but most came on a 60-yard dash.

And that postseason atmosphere shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Lions welcomed more than 66,000 fans into Ford Field, with their postseason dreams and a season sweep of the Bears hanging in the balance. For a team that was last in the league in attendance, it’s a good sign.

“We knew it was going to be a playoff environment,” Fields said. “The fans were loud out there, and they came with some juice today, so I mean you do have to give credit to those guys because they know they have a shot at making the playoffs, so I don’t think you necessarily have to play perfect. I just have to play better than I did today, not putting my team in second-and-15s, taking sacks on plays that I shouldn’t be getting sacked on, just trying to make a play out of nothing, so just learning from that and throwing the ball away, and yeah, keep going.”

And whether the Lions make the playoffs or not. This will be it until next season from Ford Field. They close the home slate with three straight wins inside the dome, going 5-4 from Detroit this season. They averaged 63,423 fans at home this season, which is quite an improvement from the league-low 51,522 average in 2021.

Dan Campbell, the team’s second-year head coach, has not shied away from praising the fans at home in Detroit. And he said after the team’s blowout win against the Bears that hosting home games in January remains the goal in the future.

“And you do that, and then you — man, you’re able to get a home game, get you a couple of home games and now everything runs through Ford Field, it runs through Detroit, man, you like your odds a little better,” Campbell said. “Now, there again, we’re — this is all — we’re still in this moment right now. We’ve got to go to Green Bay, so I don’t want to get too far ahead, but that was always the vision, man.

“And if we don’t think like that, then we’ll never get there, I know that.”

See below for more from inside the locker room:

Lions QB Jared Goff on Ford Field and the idea of ​​what a home playoff game would be like: “Fun. Yeah, it’d be amazing. It’d be amazing. Today was so fun, and seeing those fans, knowing it’s our last home game, and how fired up they got. That video was pretty cool. I sat there and watched it towards the end. It’s cool, man. It’s really cool to see the culture building and to see the culture kind of seething into the fans a little bit, and then they feel it, and they’re having fun with it, so yeah, we love playing in front of these guys. It’s a lot of fun.”

Lions HC Dan Campbell’s opening statement: “I would start with this, man, I want to thank our fans. They were outstanding. They’ve been outstanding all year. This place is loud and it’s just — it’s a great, great environment to play in. When you’re a coach and a player and you really feel like you have home-field advantage, man, that’s a special feeling because there are home teams in this league that don’t have that. They just don’t even when they’re winning, so this is special and I want to thank them for showing up again and being loud. It was awesome. I was proud of our – I was proud of our coaches, I was proud of our team. We bounced back and I knew we would because of the guys we have on this team, man, they went to work, they trusted us, we went full pads on Wednesday and said we’re going to get our identity back. And we’re going to recalibrate and those guys did that. They trusted us and they came out and it looked like that. It looked like we were ready to go. It looked like we were more physical. So, I was proud of them.”

Bears HC Matt Eberflus on Detroit’s explosive plays: “Yeah, it doesn’t sit well. When the ball comes through there – first of all, you’ve got to be real strong in the middle. So, what we saw on the pictures and all that, we’re getting knocked out of our gaps inside and then the ball comes to there and like I’ve said in the past, when it does come through, the safety’s got to get him on the ground. There were a couple situations where the safety was right there, and he ended up missing the tackle. So, we’ve got to do a better job than that to minimize those gains.

“Yeah, those were some missed tackles. Third-and-18 to start the second half, I think one of our defensive linemen missed a tackle and he spun out of it and our corner lost leverage and our safety lost leverage. So again, we’ve got to get him on the ground there.”

Lions DE James Houston on his hot start coinciding with the other rookie defenders: “I think that’s special. Just having all of us on that line, and we are just growing. We’re just learning and finding out what we can do and can’t do with each other. And so, as the years go on, I feel like it’s just going to keep getting better and better.”

Goff on some of the first-half technological issues keeping him from communicating with OC Ben Johnson: “Yeah, thank God we had a little contingency plan in place with the wristband. About halfway through that drive, we remembered we had that, and that made it a little bit easier, but up until then, yeah, I was running to the sideline, getting the ball. Things like that happen sometimes, unfortunate, but yeah, it happens.

“Yeah, we can’t play the whole game like that. I’ve done it before, and I’ve had times where the headset goes out. It’s unfortunate. You’d like to think it doesn’t, but it does. It’s just part of the game.”

Campbell on next week’s do-or-die game in Green Bay: “I think it means everything. I think it’s just so special. It’s as good as it can get. I mean, seriously, you get to go to Lambeau. Historic Lambeau, where the top of this division has been Green Bay every year for years, and to go earn your right to potentially get in. Even if you do get that win doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get in. I know this, we’re guaranteed to get one more week, and so I just think this is as special as it gets. I mean, I just don’t think you’d want it any other way. Now, that being said to me is, man, the only downside about today is the fact that this is our last home game. And you want this to be — no man, we’re going to have a few more home games here down the road in January. But as far as where we’re at right now, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

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