It seemed as if remnants of the early season Detroit Lions took the field today against the St. Louis Rams.
After suffering a heartbreaking loss last week against the Green Bay Packers on a hail mary from Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense looked as if they were still hungover from their playoff-ousting loss.
With neither a running back or wide receiver recording over 60 individual yards in their respective categories, St. Louis’ defensive front proved lethal with heavy contribution from their young star Aaron Donald. Stafford mentioned the impact the Rams rush and pass defense had on the Lions offense, specifically crediting Donald for the constant pressure he felt in the pocket, “They’re a great front four,” Stafford said. “Especially 99,” he added, referring to Donald.
The Pittsburgh alum and second-year pro recorded a career high three sacks on the game, bringing his total for the year up to 11, another career high for Donald, “He [Stafford] was just holding the ball a little longer, guys were covering down field and it was just there,” Donald said, crediting the secondary for his production.
Detroit’s young cornerback Darius Slay, whose shutdown status has made him one of the best cornerbacks in the league thus far, was beat multiple times throughout the game, most notably on a 25-yard reception by Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt.
Another weapon on the Lions squad who remained a non-factor was Calvin Johnson. After expecting a big game due to the lack of experience and health in the St. Louis secondary, Megatron was held to just one catch for 16 yards, which came with less than four minutes left in the game. In fact, Trumaine Johnson, who shadowed Calvin for a majority of the game, caught just as many passes from Stafford, as he intercepted the Lions quarterback late in the second quarter to give the Rams the lead and their first points of the game.
However, the lone bright spot for Detroit remains Golden Tate, who scored twice on slant routes setup by picks. Tate now has four touchdowns on the year and despite failing to record over 100 yards in a game this season, continues to be reliable in the passing game and in the slot.
The Detroit Lions take on the New Orleans Saints next Monday in the Superdome in search of their fifth win of the season. Both teams are ineligible for the playoffs, however, have a lot to prove for their respective organizations.