Lions score in final seconds to beat Rams in Jeff Fisher’s debut

Getty Images

The St. Louis Rams look like a tough, competitive football team under new head coach Jeff Fisher, but they fell just short in their regular-season debut, losing to the Lions in the closing seconds of a game they led most of the way.

The Rams took a 23-20 lead with 1:55 to play, but Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford shook off an ugly start — three interceptions in the first half — to engineer a late fourth-quarter drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to running back Kevin Smith with just 10 seconds remaining, giving the Lions a 27-23 win. The Rams’ defense appeared to be expecting Stafford to throw a jump ball to Calvin Johnson in the back of the end zone on the game-winning pass, leaving plenty of room for the short pass underneath to Smith.

But while the Rams’ first game with Fisher ended in disappointment, it showed promise. The Rams’ secondary played very well against Stafford, with veteran Cortland Finnegan and rookie Janoris Jenkins both getting interceptions and both looking like just the kinds of defensive backs Fisher needs.

It says something about Johnson that it felt for most of the game like the Rams were doing a solid job of making him the focus of their defense and keeping him in check — and yet he still finished the game with six catches for 111 yards. Stafford threw 48 passes but only targeted Johnson seven times, as the Rams were blanketing Johnson for much of the game.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford played reasonably well considering how much pressure he was under. The Lions’ defensive line was getting the best of the Rams’ offensive line even before the Rams lost two starting offensive linemen, center Scott Wells and left tackle Rodger Saffold, to injuries. Rams running back Steven Jackson rarely had any holes to run through, finishing the game with 53 yards on 21 carries.

For the Lions, it was a good win to open the season as they attempt to make the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 1994-95. For the Rams, it was a game in which they looked like a well-coached team. But they’re not yet a winning team.

24 responses to “Lions score in final seconds to beat Rams in Jeff Fisher’s debut

  1. I remember Detroit’s 2010 season. Yeah, they started out 2-10, but they made just about every opponent sweat. A precursor to their 2011 breakout.

    Could be the Rams 2012 season will be like that.

  2. It’s under the radar but Stafford is developing into a clutch player.

    Yes..he had three picks and two of them happened in the redzone. But I thought they were good plays by St. Louis

    Other than that, Stafford played well and St. Louis held in there.

  3. Good job by the Rams…good test for the Lions, could’ve been looking past them towards the 49ers game next week, but St. Louis was quite formidable.

    Stafford shook off a brutal 1st half, our run game was solid, our d-line was awesome, and we slowed down the run and didn’t allow any big plays down the field.

    B is the grade I’ll give, but overall solid performance on O, D & ST

    Oh, and kudos to the Lions for how they played smart without a myriad if penalties, sans Titus Young’s personal foul

  4. Heck of a game. As a Lions fan I was pretty sure we were done for, but man Stafford was cool at the end. An opener to remember. If the Rams actually had anything resembling a WR1 they could be great. I think 1 more year and they’ll be right back in it.

  5. Good job Lions. Bad win, but a win is a win.

    Being probably the biggest Lions fan on the planet, I wont talk trash like some probably will on here, but will admit that the Rams surprised everyone. They look like a team that doesnt care what everyone thinks. They will find a way to score and win games. Jeff Fisher is a great coach. Cortland Finnegan is a tool though. Sorry.

    Unfortunately, the Rams just arent as good as the Lions, and thats not an insult. The Lions came away on top.

    Good job Lions.

    And also, watching the GB and SF game, Jim Harbaugh is STILL a douche bag. 0 for 1 on challenges this year, nice try jimmy.

  6. well if looking for positives from the Lions standpoint the defense was solid, the run game looked good ,the passing in the red zone was the problem and should be fixed quickly

  7. Chalk up another 4th quarter comeback for Stafford. 80 yards in under 2 minutes for the game winning score. Clutch.

  8. Almost losing the first game of the season at home to one of the worst teams in football is a positive? The Lions haven’t beat a winning team in a long time. I personally would be more concerned than some of you seem to be.

  9. Good teams find a way to win, bad teams find a way to lose.These are the type of games where the Lions of the past would come up short. It wasn’t pretty, but at the end the Lions found a way to get it done.

  10. Both of these teams are going to get better as the season goes forward.

    The Lions got scores from 2 RBs (Joique Bell and Kevin Smith), but we still need more ground and pound in our offense.

    3 sacks – Suh, Fairley, and Williams.

    3 penalties is 3 too many, but shows improvement.

    Anyone calling the Rams the worst team in football is intellectually challenged. Next week they’ll test the abilities of RG3. Chicago will probably burn them, but Seattle, Arizona, and Miami are all winnable for sure.

    We have a better defense than Green Bay (sorry Pack fans) – and I’m looking forward to seeing crybaby Harbaugh lose his temper over and over next week.

  11. All those 8-8 teams the Lions beat last year would have been winning teams if they could only have beaten the Leos. And the lions are one of the last five GB losses… A win is a win. take it, move on. next game is already the focus for stafford and Co.

  12. Kudos to the Rams for putting together a few great route jumps, but, otherwise, the Lions moved the ball at will today and should be quite formidable all year, if healthy. Other than the sure handed but pea brained Titus Young, they also cut out a lot of the dumb penalties of season past and didn’t hurt themselves on defense. Overall, a pretty positive finish to a shaky start.

  13. kingsam8 says:
    Sep 9, 2012 4:29 PM
    Rams deserved this one.. showed a lot of fight

    rams showed alot of fight for sure, deserved the win? cant agree with that. Lions looked like a better team imo. rams might suprise alot of people this year, and possibly the first respectable team to win that division in several years, when it comes to the playoffs.

    imagine if the lions picked up cortland finigan and janoris jenkins in the off-season? amazing how quickly a weak spot can become a strength.

  14. 1) Kudos to the coaches who understood what the Rams were doing, and changed Staffords moves/throws at hafl time.

    2) Everyone knew Janoris Jenkins was a great cornerback. Lions didn’t take him because he had gotten into so much trouble while in college that they made the calculated decision to sign off on him. We’ll see over the course of a season whether or not he can stay out of personal trouble. He sure did look good though.

    3) See what Kevin Smith can do when he’s healthy. Running, passing receptions, scoring. It will only get better with LeShore back after the SF game.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!