What a difference a year makes.
He not only did that (4.8 average yards per rush on 13 carries), but also scored two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 10 seconds remaining in a 27-23 Lions come-from-behind victory.
“Kevin is a smart football player. He knows every one of our protections in-and-out; the guys' a heady football player and I’m happy for him,” said quarterback
“(Smith) had some big runs for us; creased him a couple times. We were able to use him pretty well today.”
Smith finished Sunday with 92 total yards and two touchdowns. Sunday marked his fourth-career game with two or more touchdowns in a game and his third game with at least one rushing and one receiving touchdown.
“I was even more happy to see him go on with the ball when I turned around and saw that 30,” Lions receiver
The two biggest questions coming into Sunday for the Lions defense were:
1. Could they stop Steven Jackson and the Rams rushing attack?
2. Could the makeshift secondary hold up against Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and Co.?
The defense answered the bell on both fronts.
Jackson, who has the most yards from scrimmage (9,868) of any player in the NFL since 2006, was held in check all afternoon by a Lions defense that was especially dominant up the middle. Jackson rushed for 52 yards (2.5 average) and had four receptions for 31 yards.
“We knew we had to limit him because, again, they wanted to try to bleed it out on offense and they wanted to try to control the clock when they were on offense so we knew that was going to be important,” Schwartz said. “He got loose a couple times, but never really a big gainer or consistently able to keep churning first downs. We threw a lot of different stuff at him, a lot of different run stuff and I thought we played very well up front."
The Lions got a particularly good effort up the middle from defensive tackles
“We got some good pressure, particularly inside,” Schwartz said. “Our defensive tackles – Corey Williams, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley – thought those guys all played very well. They needed to for us and I think they all played very well.”
In the secondary, the longest completion on the day for the Rams was 23 yards. The unit kept everything in front of them and allowed a total of 198 yards passing to Bradford.
JOHNSON OFF TO A GOOD START
Receiver Calvin Johnson led the Lions with 111 receiving yards on six receptions (18.5 avg). It was his 22nd career 100-yard receiving game and fourth-straight dating back to the end of 2011.
While he didn’t get into the end zone himself, Johnson set up a
Johnson’s 111 receiving yards were the most he's recorded on opening day in his career.
It was a little over 20 years ago that Lions fans watched Lions offensive lineman Mike Utley get carted off the field with a neck injury. Fans witnessed another scary moment Sunday when Rams offensive tackle Roger Saffold laid motionless on the Ford Field turf for several minutes with a next injury. He was eventually strapped to a board and carted off the field.
"What I can report to you is that he was conscious," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said of Saffold after the game. "He was alert and had strength and movement in his arms and legs. So I think this is more of a precautionary deal."
The injury doesn’t seem too serious though, as Bentley never left the field. Schwartz said after the game that when it comes to head injuries the Lions will err on the side of caution.
“He had come back the first time where he had been tested and he was getting ready to get cleared and then we tested him again,” Schwartz said. “I don’t know if he was ever officially diagnosed, but we err on the side of caution when it comes to it.
“He wasn’t unconscious or anything like that where it would have been for sure, but, again, if a guy’s having any symptoms than we’re not going to let him back in the game and that’s what happened with Bill.”
- Stafford surpassed 8,000 career yards passing for his career on Sunday and joined Kurt Warner (8,739), Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (8,467), Tony Romo (8,044) and Aaron Rodgers (8,000) as the only quarterbacks to have at least 8,000 passing yards through 30 career starts in the Super Bowl era.
- Kicker Jason Hanson has now played in 21 NFL seasons, all with the Lions, and now holds the NFL record for the most seasons played with one team and for the most seasons played by any player with the team that originally drafted them.
As expected, safety
Also inactive were quarterback