O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: Lions showed up to play but couldn't get it done vs. Rams

There were no questions about emotions or whether anybody showed up ready to play.

The Detroit Lions gave what they had and simply were not as good as their opponent in Sunday's 28-19 loss on the road to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams' stars came out at the right time to give them a lead they did not relinquish, and they came to the forefront again to stamp out the Lions' last chance to finish off a game-winning possession.

The bottom line: The Rams made their won-loss record 6-1 while the Lions fell to 0-7.

"Our guys came back to work," head coach Dan Campbell said in his postgame media session. "They competed. They were ready to go. They went out and competed.

"We gave ourselves a chance."

This week's Monday Countdown looks at the trick plays that Campbell had ready to go – and were executed successfully -- to help narrow the talent gap between the Lions and Rams.

There's also a look at the battle of the quarterbacks – former Lions star Matthew Stafford and current Lions starter Jared Goff -- and a look at a key play by the Rams' defense that quashed the Lions' last chance to win.

There are also takeaways on offense, defense and special teams, what's trending and the bottom line on the outcome.

1. Evening it up:

The Lions got a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes on running back D'Andre Swift's 63-yard run with a screen pass. It would be the only time they reached the end zone.

Their other 12 points came on four field goals.

The Lions used trick plays – an onside kick after Swift's score, followed by two fake punts – to overcome the Rams' superior firepower.

The Lions' biggest leads were 10-0 and 13-3.

That could not overcome the Rams' offense, and a timely play on two fronts by the Rams' stars – defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

"There's no other way to put it," Campbell said of the Rams talent. "This is a different caliber team. This is a team that's been built over years. They've got some weapons. They have some premier players."

The Lions had the trick plays ready to go. They weren't used on the spur of the moment. They'd been prepared throughout the week of practice.

It was part of the overall design to keep the Rams' offense off the field as long as possible.

"We wanted to play a little more of our game. A track meet was going to be hard for us.

"We had an opportunity at the end. They made an interception."

2. Quarterback battle:

The game was seen as a battle between Stafford and Goff since the trade was made last winter that had them swapping teams – Stafford to the Rams, Goff to the Lions.

Stafford won the stats battle and the game. He completed 21 of 48 passes for 334 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. He hit wide receiver Cooper Kupp with a pass that put the Rams ahead to stay.

Goff completed 22 of 36 passes for 268 yards, one TD and two interceptions.

Goff had a key interception late in the fourth quarter. The Lions were driving, with second and 10 at the Rams' 12, when Goff's pass into the end zone meant for tight end T.J. Hockenson came up short.

Goff was hit by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald as he delivered the ball. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey had an easy interception in the end zone.

"Those two guys are the best at their position," Goff said. "It was the look we wanted. The play we wanted.

"Unfortunately, I got hit on it."

Campbell had no criticism of Goff's performance.

"I thought he was good enough to win with," he said. "He gave us a chance."

3. On the record:

The reality check of where the Lions stand is that regardless of how they feel about their performance level from week to week, they still haven't won a game.

No one realizes that more than Goff.

"We still need a win, regardless of who we're playing," he said. "Unfortunately, we're 0-7. We need to make something happen and get on the board.

"Playing like we did, and having so much positivity is good to see, but it's still not enough.

"We're a lot better than our record shows. Until we win some games, we really can't prove it.

"Teams that win games in this league win games for a reason, and vice versa. We need to get on that side."

4. Takeaways, offense:

  • A boost: Wide receiver Kalif Raymond gave the passing game one with six catches for 115 yards.
  • Rotation: When the running game gets rolling, alternating Jamaal Williams and Swift looks like a good idea. Sunday was one of those days.
  • The middle: Some of the Lions' best runs were up the middle, an area Donald usually controls. Somebody must have done a good job on him – until the hit on that interception in the end zone.

5. Takeaways, defense:

  • All hands: Despite giving up three TD passes to Stafford, the defense had four passes defended.
  • Sack average: Outside linebacker Julian Okwara's second sack of the season was the only one the Lions had. Nobody should feel bad, though. The Rams' offensive line has given Stafford good protection all season. He's been sacked seven times – once per game.
  • Run stoppers: The Rams were held to 47 yards on 19 carries, and 2.4 yards per carry and only two rushing first downs.

6. Takeaways, special teams:

  • First trick play: Lions recover an onside kick after driving to a TD on the first possession. They don't score, but it's a great call, and it leads to this:
  • Second trick play: Punter Jack Fox, a former high school quarterback, completed a pass to cornerback Bobby Price on a fake punt. The Lions keep possession and drive to Austin Seibert's first of of three first-half field goals to give the Lions a 10-0 lead.
  • Hat trick: Seibert ends an eight-play, 52-yard possession in the final 1:37 for his third field goal of the half to cut the Rams' lead to a point at 17-16 and stem some of their momentum heading into the second half.
  • Bonus points: Stellar work by the Lions' coverage units on kickoffs.

7. What's trending:

  • Up: The running game. 57 yards on 12 carries for Williams; 48 on 13 for Swift. And 96 on eight catches for Swift. A big-time game for the running backs.
  • Down: Stall outs on offense. The Lions scored their only TD on their first possession. Settling for field goals doesn't win games in the NFL.
  • Even: Red zone inefficiency continued to be a problem. The Lions were 0 of 5.

8. Bottom line: The Lions have given themselves chances to win in the last five games. They've been competitive. That should lead to a win.

Related Content

Advertising