The Detroit Lions knew they were going to have to score points Sunday to keep up with the high-scoring Los Angeles Rams. Unfortunately, a Lions' offense depleted by injuries simply wasn't up to the task.
Detroit's offense found the end zone just once in the contest and settled for three Matt Prater field goals totaling just 16 points as they fell to the Rams, 30-16.
A late Matthew Stafford fumble midway through the fourth quarter, with a chance to drive the Lions down the field and potentially take a lead, proved to be a critical play in the game. Stafford was sacked by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald at the Lions' 29-yard line and fumbled the football backwards.
Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam jumped on it at the Lions' 24-yard line. LA turned the turnover into seven points three plays later with a Todd Gurley 13-yard touchdown to increase their lead to 23-13. It was two late Stafford turnovers that cost Detroit on Thanksgiving in a loss to Chicago last week.
Missing wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. (IR), running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) and tight end Michael Roberts (shoulder), the Lions were simply out-manned in this one.
Detroit's defense didn't play as bad as the final score may indicate. Safety Quandre Diggs recorded an interception and defensive tackle Damon Harrison record a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery on a play in the third quarter. That led to a Lions field goal.
The second and third Rams touchdowns were set up by short fields following the Stafford fumble and a failed onside kick. Detroit's defense allowed just one sustained Rams touchdown drive in the contest.
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 13 game against the Los Angeles Rams.
QB Comparison: Stafford finished the game 20-of-33 passing for 245 yards and that one touchdown. He also threw an interception on an overthrow in the end zone to end the game. He finished with a passer rating of 81.0. He also lost a fumble.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff completed 17 of his 33 passes for 207 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He finished with a passer rating of 68.6, and also lost a fumble.
Trickery: Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter went deep into the playbook late in the third quarter with the Lions facing a 1st and 10 at the Rams' 11-yard line, trailing 16-6.
Left tackle Taylor Decker reported as eligible on the play, and the Lions cleared out and ran a left tackle screen to him. Decker did the rest, going untouched 11 yards for the score. It was the Lions only touchdown of the game.
Injury report: Outside linebacker Devon Kennard, Detroit's sack leader this season with 6.0, injured his hip in the first half and didn't return to the game.
Key stat: The Lions entered the game ranked 26th in the NFL in red-zone efficiency at 51.3 percent. It was a problem again Sunday, as they finished just 1-for-5 in the red zone.
Next up: at Arizona (3-9)