Tate, Lions put Chargers loss behind them

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Lions wide receiver Golden Tate takes the kick return and takes it up the field in the first quarter against the Chargers.

Allen Park — The Lions locker room wasn't doom and gloom following a devastating loss to the Chargers last Sunday, and wide receiver Golden Tate was surprisingly upbeat after the team let an 18-point lead slip away in San Diego.

Tate even said the players were "really encouraged" and that he couldn't wait to get back on the field, which he and the Lions will do Sunday against the NFC North rival Vikings in Minnesota.

"There's no time to be negative," he said. "There's no time to blame. You've got to be encouraged because we did some things well. There is a lot of things we could've done better, but we're going to focus on the things we did well, be critical on the things we didn't do well and just fix that and that's how you become a better team."

Sunday's loss was the first time the Lions lost a season opener since 2010. Obviously, the past four years produced mixed results, and no matter the manner in which the team lost, there are 15 more opportunities for the players and coaches to show improvement.

"Anytime you lose, it's not good," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "It doesn't feel good. Whether it's the first game of the season or the last, it doesn't matter. You kind of come back and see what you did wrong, try to fix it and go out there and play better the next week. There's no doubt in my mind we'll have a great week of practice this week, go out there and play well on Sunday."

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson explained that the Lions had a good week of practice prior to the game in San Diego. The team also had some encouraging signs early in the game as it jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the second quarter and led 21-10 at halftime after a red zone stand — with an interception by cornerback Darius Slay — to close out the half.

"You can't get down," Johnson said. "It's one game. We have a lot more to go. It's the very beginning of the season, so we're just looking forward to this week."

As over-used as the cliché is, the Lions are taking the one-game-at-a-time approach as they did last year under coach Jim Caldwell. Tate mentioned twice that they would have to be critical in the film room, and going against a hungry Vikings team that also suffered a disappointing loss in Week 1, 20-3, the Lions know they can't dwell on last week's issues.

"You let that stuff linger, you've got a problem," Caldwell said.