#264 Detroit Lionsvs.#263 Los Angeles Rams
Written by Benjamin Hayes
When and Where: Sunday, Oct. 16, Ford Field, Detroit, Mich., 1pmEST
Line: Detroit -3.5
The Los Angeles Rams had a three-game winning streak snapped at home by Buffalo, 30-19 last Sunday. Turnovers was an issue for the Rams in that game as they committed three, including a costly pick-six from Case Keenum late in the third quarter. The Lions upset the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles at home on Sunday, 24-23 on a 29-yard field goal from Matt Prater with 1:28 left in the game.
It was bound to happen. The Rams had scored just 26 combined points in two of the three wins over Seattle and Arizona (they beat Tampa Bay, 37-32). In their loss to Buffalo, the Rams scored just one touchdown, on a Todd Gurley 1-yard run to tie the game at 13-13 with 1:56 left in the first half. However, the Bills drove right down the field and were able to kick a short field goal from Dan Carpenter to go up 16-13 at the half. In the third quarter, the Rams tied it again, but with 3:54 left in the third, Keenum was picked off by Nickell Robey-Coleman, who snatched the ball in the air and returned it 41 yards for the touchdown. At this point, the Rams aren’t good enough offensively to make up for those mistakes.
Defensively, the Rams struggled against the run, allowing LeSean McCoy to run for 150 yards. But they held quarterback Tyrod Taylor to 12 of 23 for 124 yards (two TDs). Keenum did throw for 271 yards on 21 of 31, but did not throw a TD and had two picks. The Rams also lost one fumble and converted just one of four in the red zone. On the season, Keenum has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,096 yards with four TDs and five picks. Gurley is off to a very slow start with just 288 yards and three TDs with a paltry 2.7 yards per carry average.
It’s never easy for Detroit, but beating a quality Eagles team to halt a three-game losing streak was a must for a team that has had many struggles over the years. The Lions were up 21-7 late in the first half when the collapse began. Matthew Stafford was red-hot in the first half, throwing three touchdown passes, including two to Theo Riddick. However, Philadelphia knocked in a 50-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis with no time left in the half and proceeded to score 13 more points to go ahead with 6:40 left in the game, 23-21. Cornerback Darius Slay forced a fumble that led to the game-winner from Prater. He also intercepted a Carson Wentz pass with 1:17 left in the game to clinch the win.
But what happened in the second half? Detroit’ offense netted just 45 yards after dominating in the first half. Detroit ranks 18th in the NFL in yards per game at 349.6 ypg and 13th in passing yards per game (259.8ypg). They have virtually no running game with 89.8ypg and they don’t normally stop the run (114.8ypg) or pass (263.4ypg). Against the Eagles, they ran for just 80 yards on 27 carries and had just 244 total yards of offense.
LA Rams are:
The Rams can win games against most opponents if they don’t turn the ball. They have an outstanding defense led by All-Pro Aaron Donald and while their offense is just pedestrian, this is the type of game Detroit normally loses. They are coming off a big win over the Eagles, but they played lousy in the second half and were fortunate to win.
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Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!