Head Coach Matt Patricia‘s Detroit Lions Played Host To The 10-1 Los Angeles Rams On Sunday, In Hopes Of Potentially Playing Spoiler For Sean McVay And Company.
The Detroit Lions defense came to play early and forced a punt on the Rams opening drive. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison and linebacker Christian Jones combined for a nice tackle for loss on Todd Gurley which sparked a big win early in the game for the Lions.
After the Lions managed a couple of first downs, Los Angeles forced a punt and gave themselves another chance at first blood. Quarterback Jared Goff led the Rams down the field only to be stopped inside the Detroit 10-yard line. Greg Zuerlein made a 24-yard field goal to put the Rams up 3-0 with about two minutes to go in quarter number one.
Detroit finished the first quarter on a drive and just like the Rams they were able to work their way inside the ten. A failed shovel pass on third down resulted in a short Matt Prater field goal tying the game at 3-3.
On the ensuing drive, Goff attempted a deep pass into triple coverage which was intercepted by defensive back Quandre Diggs. The Lions would set up with a chance to take the lead from their own 25-yard line. Detroit went three and out for the first time in the game.
Sam Martin‘s kick put Los Angeles at their own 28. Goff connected with wide receiver Robert Woods to cap off a 72-yard touchdown drive that gave the Rams a 10-3 lead. After another three and out from Detroit, the Rams got into range for a 47-yard Zuerlein field goal that extended the lead to 13-3.
Neither team played particularly well on offense in the first half, but the futility of Detroit on offense was just unacceptable. Holding Los Angeles to 13 is decent, however, scoring only three points is atrocious.
Detroit continued their poor offensive performance on the opening drive of the second half. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was lucky to not be intercepted on the second play from scrimmage and the Lions would go three and out once again. Fortunately for Detroit, Harrison strip-sacked Goff on the Rams opening drive, giving the Lions another chance to claw back.
The Lions were able to work their way back down inside the Rams 10-yard line, but a penalty for a push-off on wide receiver TJ Jones touchdown catch left Detroit with another Prater field goal making it 13-6.
With nothing to lose, Detroit tried an onside kick after their field goal only to have it go 6 yards downfield. Detroit’s defense held the Rams to their third field goal which made it 16-6.
Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter was whipping out all the trick plays in the third quarter. Stafford connected with tight end Levine Toilolo down to the Rams 25 and the next play was an attempted wide receiver pass by wide receiver Bruce Ellington. Running back Theo Riddick hauled in a first down pass on the next play and a bizarre scoring play followed. Lions left tackle Taylor Decker was lined up as an eligible receiver and caught a wide open pass for the Lions first touchdown of the game and the first of his career. That trimmed LA’s lead to three headed into the fourth quarter.
The Rams opening drive of the fourth was stalled out via a sack by linebacker Eli Harold, which gave Detroit the ball at their own 20 and trailing by just three with plenty of time remaining.
Defensive lineman Aaron Donald was a game-wrecker all afternoon and he had a strip sack on Stafford that gave the Rams a short field and a chance to put the game away. A few plays later, running back Todd Gurley went into the end zone untouched which stretched the Los Angeles lead to 10 with seven minutes remaining.
Detroit was able to get another Prater field goal with 2:54 to go. The second onside kick attempt of the day by Martin was scooped up by the Rams and the Lions would need to force a punt in order to have a chance. Five straight runs by Gurley, including another touchdown, would put it away for the Rams and leave them with a 30-16 victory over the Lions at Ford Field.
The Lions defense came to play today. You have to consider the performance by the Lions defense to be a small victory. On another note, the offensive playcalling was once again very suspect at major points. That’s not really a surprise though.