Rams 23, Lions 27: St. Louis Competitive, But Not Enough In Late Loss

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 09: Cortland Finnegan #31 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates with his teammates after intercepting a pass from Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions and running 31 yards for a touchdown during the season opener at Ford Field on September 9, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

That was a heartbreaker. Anyway you look at it. Losing a game with 15 seconds left to go rips your heart out, stomps on it and then makes you clean up the mess. On the other hand, when was the last time you saw the St. Louis Rams take a game down to the final minute of play, against an opponent favored by a full touchdown?

As much as that loss hurt, it is clear that this is an entirely different team, worlds beyond the one that averaged three wins a season over the last five years.

Some quick thoughts after the jump.

Up And Down

The Rams would have never been in the game without an incredible first half from the defense. They picked off Matthew Stafford three times, including a pick six from Cortland Finnegan. They struggled in the second half, most notably on Detroit's winning drive. Detroit put together two drives of 160 yards and two touchdowns, totaling 4 minutes and 11 seconds, to end the game.

Sam Bradford and the offense struggled in the first half, but played much better in the second half. When was the last time you could say that about a Rams team? The problem with that is, that it left things so close. Getting just six points on the first two Stafford interceptions was inexcusable.

Injuries

The Rams got hurt exactly where could least afford to, on the offensive line. Scott Wells left with a foot injury that didn't look especially serious. Rodger Saffold left with a head/neck injury that looked very, very serious. Replacement LT Wayne Hunter played a solid game in relief.

Sam Bradford

It was a tale of two halves for Bradford as well. He was out of sync with his offense through the first two quarters. Worse, he panicked with Ndamukong Suh honing in on him and got sacked. Two of his sacks were on him. In the second half, he was making three step drops quickly and decisively. He was pressured way too often early on, and the Saffold injury is a huge concern.

Pressure

We really didn't see much from the Rams front four. Robert Quinn had the only sack. Chris Long got back there on the first interception, but it was not a strong showing from the front four who could really have used Michael Brockers in the middle. The inability to bring pressure from the outside, with Quinn and Long, played a key role in those last two scoring drives by the Lions.

Penalties

Hard to overlook the seven penalties from the Rams in this game. In a game decided by four point, ever little bit matters. I suspect Jeff Fisher will not let that one slide.

Disappointment aside, fans should walk away from this one secure in the knowledge that this is finally a competitive team. With 17 rookies on the roster, the ups and downs are going to be regular part of the season and the Rams still lack the roster for a realistic shot at double-digit wins.

But this is progress, disappointing, heartbreaking, gutwrenching progress.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Turf Show Times

You must be a member of Turf Show Times to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Turf Show Times. You should read them.

Join Turf Show Times

You must be a member of Turf Show Times to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Turf Show Times. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker