Dan Campbell’s trickery wasn’t enough to give the Lions a victory against a former Lions legend, Matthew Stafford. The Rams were able to outlast the Detroit Lions at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., coming away with a 28-19 win.
Campbell used an onside kick in the first quarter and a 17-yard Jack Fox pass to go up two possessions and keep the ball away from Matthew Stafford, and for good reason. On Stafford’s first drive he was nearly perfect, going 6/7 for 60 yards. Unfortunately, the Lions settled for a 33-yard Matt Gay field goal. In the second half, Campbell again elected to run a fake punt, this time a direct snap to C.J. Moore that resulted in a 28-yard first-down run.
The Lions were able to profit off the run game throughout the game, taking advantage of the two-headed monster of Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift in the backfield. The Lions had five drives in the first half and came away with points on four of them, yet only one was a touchdown. Detroit finished with 137 rushing yards on the day.
Jerry Jacobs played some sticky coverage throughout the game but had a defensive pass interference call go against him and plays later had a Stafford dart rip above his head for a Van Jefferson 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
A delay of game penalty halted an otherwise efficient two-minute drill led by Jared Goff at the end of the half, which included a spectacular 20-yard catch and throw to Kalif Raymond. The Lions ultimately settled for a field goal as they faced a 4th and goal.
Detroit’s offense went 6/15 on third down, while the defense struggled to keep Stafford and company off the field allowing 9/13 on third downs, ultimately succeeding 28 points.
The Lions’ electric start and 10-point lead evaporated as the game got settled and the Rams’ offense had a few drives under their belt scoring on five of six meaningful possessions in the game. Austin Seibert did a great job forcing the returners to take the ball out from around the one-yard line and the kickoff unit did a great job of getting downfield and tackling the returner before the 20-yard line.
The Lions held the Rams in check to open the second half. Julian Okwara came away with a third-down sack and a vital fourth-down pass breakup to keep the Rams off the scoreboard in the third quarter.
A.J. Parker left the game at the end of the third quarter and Stafford picked on his replacement Darryl Worley, including a 59-yard pass to Cooper Kupp which led to a Rams touchdown and a fourth quarter lead change. The defense looked night and day without A.J. Parker running around.
Apart from the screen pass for a touchdown, Goff had a slow start to the game, but as time progressed Goff looked the best he had all season. Goff was efficiently moving through his progressions even in the face of pressure. Finishing the day with 22/36 for 268 yards, one touchdown but eventually had a late interception in the red zone, with five minutes remaining in the game, and another interception off a tipped pass with under a minute remaining.
Swift had himself a great game. Starting it off with a 63-yard screen catch and run for a touchdown. Ending the game with 13 carries for 48 yards and eight receptions for 96 yards.
All week this was touted as a Stafford revenge game in which the Rams were meant to rout the Lions by multiple touchdowns. That was not the case as the Lions relied on trickery, their run game, and spurts of great defense to keep the game within one possession throughout.
After the initial watch, Goff seemed more comfortable throwing the ball, going through his progressions, and providing his catchers with opportunities to make plays after the catch. He did however commit a late-game turnover. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough to come away with a victory, but after last week’s pounding by the Bengals at Ford Field, this feels nice.
Check the Lions out next week as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field, 1 P.M. Eastern Time.
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