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TIM AND MIKE: Week 13 observations

MVP conversation: Matthew Stafford took the blame for his fourth-quarter fumble that led to a short field for the Rams and a touchdown that pushed the lead to 10 points. But let’s also credit Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who forced the fumble by splitting the blocks of Kenny Wiggins and Graham Glasgow. Donald played like an MVP Sunday, and harassed Stafford all night, sacking him twice and hitting him four times total. Stafford was hit 11 times in the game. Donald leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks, and should win Defensive MVP honors. – Tim Twentyman

Sacks for Snacks: Defensive tackle Damon Harrison makes his presence known in every game he plays for the Lions since being acquired in a trade with the Giants. He added another sack against the Rams. That gives him a personal high of 3.5 for the season, and all have come in his six games as a Lion. – Mike O’Hara

25 years: After Sunday’s loss to the Rams dropped the Lions to 4-8 on the season, it officially eliminated them from clinching the division title with four games remaining. Chicago is 8-4 and swept the Lions in their season series to hold the tie breaker. The last division title for the Lions was 25 years ago in 1993. – Tim Twentyman

Long run for Diggs: Safety Quandre Diggs covered a lot of ground on his second-quarter interception. At the snap, he was lined up outside the right hash mark at the Lions’ 48 and made the interception at the 21, about five yards inside the left sideline. That’s 31 yards in a straight line. Counting the yards from hash to the sideline, Diggs covered at least 50 yards to get to the ball. The offense used the turnover to gain two yards before punting. – Mike O’Hara

Defensive effort: The final score Sunday read 30 points for the Rams, but Detroit’s defense played much better than that. The 344 yards they allowed were the second fewest for the Rams all season. The Lions allowed only two sustained scoring drives of more than 50 yards. Rams quarterback Jared Goff’s 68.6 passer rating was his second lowest of the season. This Lions' defense has been playing pretty good football lately, and that’s a positive sign moving forward. – Tim Twentyman

Suh $$$: Ndamukong Suh obviously got satisfaction from the Rams’ win over the Lions, but it’s going to cost him. He was penalized twice – for a horse collar tackle on Zach Zenner and unnecessary roughness for pushing Matthew Stafford to the turf. And there was a third incident – poking tackle Rick Wagner in the eye. It was a Triple Crown of misconduct, and sure to draw fines. – Mike O’Hara

Trick-or-Treat: Credit Lions head coach Matt Patricia for emptying the playbook and firing everything he had at the Rams. An onside kick, a wide receiver double pass and a tackle eligible play that resulted in a touchdown. The Lions are less talented than the Rams, so credit Patricia and Co. for realizing it and trying to throw everything but the kitchen sink at them Sunday. – Tim Twentyman

Wild cards, breaking even: History shows that there’s hope in the NFC’s cluttered field of playoff contenders. In 1999, the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions both made the playoffs as wild cards with 8-8 won-loss records. Both lost in the first round. – Mike O’Hara

Steady Prater: Matt Prater made all three of his field goal attempts Sunday. In fact, Prater hasn’t missed a field goal since Week 5. He’s made 14 straight and is 23-for-26 kicking field goals on the year and 23-for-23 on extra points. Is he Detroit’s most valuable player this year? – Tim Twentyman

Missing Tate: Stafford had at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of plus-90.0 in six of the first seven games of the season playing with his go-to receiver Golden Tate. Since Tate was traded to Philadelphia at the trade deadline – a deal that makes sense for the long term – Stafford has reached two touchdowns just once in the five games without Tate and hasn’t reached a 90.0 passer rating in any contests since the trade. – Tim Twentyman

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