The Rams won a close game versus Detroit this past Sunday in the Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff revenge game. The game finished with a final score of 28-19 after Jared Goff’s 2 4th quarter interceptions. Detroit put up a fight and had a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after the Rams let a couple of special teams mishaps happen. I was in attendance on Sunday, and here’s what I thought was good, bad, and meh about the Rams’ close win.
In his first game against his former team, Stafford led his new team to a win. The Rams had to rely more on the passing game more and Stafford didn’t let them down. He completed had a 68% completion percentage, 334 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. There weren’t any risky throws by LA’s signal-caller as he surgically picked apart the Lions’ secondary.
Ramsey had a great game on his birthday and made plays all over the field. The best of which came in the fourth quarter with a game-sealing pick, his second of the year. He dominated the Lions’ WRs and had a nasty hit on Jared Goff to force an incompletion. It did look like he was still playing from the star position, likely because of the Lions not having a true WR1.
All the Rams pass catchers had a good game, headlined by the league leader in TDs Cooper Kupp. He’s had an absolutely phenomenal season so far and is currently on pace for nearly 20 TDs and 1,800 yards. He was great in short and long-yardage situations and came up with a big catch to set the Rams up for a TD. The rest of the Yarbinators had some great plays with a 22-yard catch by Woods and some good first-down grabs from Higbee. Van Jefferson had his most impressive TD as a Ram, with an 11-yard jump-ball touchdown.
Jackson was meant to be a reliable deep threat for when they signed him in the offseason, but so far has been either boom or bust. On Sunday, he went on the field for one play, didn’t make the catch, and walked right off. He might be on a veteran snap count to keep him healthy, but the 4 million dollar contract the front office gave him seems it could have gone to better use in other places.
The Lions rank towards the bottom in the NFL with 120 rushing yards per game, yet the Rams rushing attack was unable to get the job done. The game script did dictate that they pass more, but Henderson and Michel both averaged 3 y/pc or less. The longest run was a 10 yard gain by Henderson, which is disappointing after his great start this year.
In the last 2 seasons, the probability of recovering an onside kick was ~5%. The probability of converting an onside kick and 2 fake punts in 1 game is even less, but the Rams special teams unit managed to do it. It was a very risky move by the Lions coaches, but Joe DeCamillis and the unit weren’t ready for it. The Rams special teams unit hasn’t been great since Coach Bones left, with the only one left from that time being Hekker. DeCamillis might be on the chopping block in terms of coaches, as we saw with John Bonamego’s position switch this past offseason.
As for the returners, I was confused as to why Howell and Skowronek were both back returning kicks. Benny Skow didn’t do that great of a job on his returns with an average of 17.5 yards. This move makes the Atwell pick even more confusing, as they haven’t used him in either role consistently.
The defense in this game and the Giants game played similarly. In the first half they both let up some big plays, but in the second half tightened up and made big plays. The Rams have struggled to stop the run all year, and that continued with a great group of Lions’ RBs. D’Andre Swift rushed 13 times for 48 yards and caught 8 passes for 96 yards and a score. Jamaal Williams gained 57 yards on 12 carries. The Lions don’t have a prolific passing attack, but the defense almost allowed 2 100 yard receivers. Next week will be interesting to watch, as they visit Houston on the road, who nearly got shut out by Arizona today.
Week 8 Outlook
Overall, this was a closer win than the Rams would have liked. The Lions, however, are better than their record indicates and put up a great fight. Jared Goff’s 2 interceptions sealed the game and a possible Lions comeback. There were lots of things that the Rams need to clean up before they face tougher opponents like Tennessee and Green Bay. The Rams will now travel to Houston to face the Texans, who have now lost 6 in a row. Houston started off the year decently but hasn’t been the same since Tyrod Taylor was injured. They’ve played in some close games this year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer than people think. My prediction for that game is Rams 34-17