On March 18 2021, the trade occurred that would set the stage for the Los Angeles Rams road to the Super Bowl Championship. The Rams traded quarterback Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for quarterback Matthew Stafford and a pack of picks including two first rounders. Along with all the opinion pieces and analysis to follow was a quick look ahead to the regular season schedule to confirm that the Lions were in fact on the slate of home games for the Rams which of course meant the return of Goff to SoFi Stadium and the day Stafford faced his old team would come almost immediately.
And so it was on October 24th, in Week 7 of the regular season, Sean McVay, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and the rest of the returning Rams would face off against their former quarterback to get the win for their new leader, who would pay respect to his former team of 12 years by giving them his best shot.
WEEK 7: LOS ANGELES RAMS VS DETROIT LIONS
Lions head coach Dan Campbell must have very well taken note of all the struggles that Goff has traditionally had against the blitz and came prepared. On the first series of the game on a third and nine situation stuck on their own side of the field, the Lions called for a half back screen pass anticipating the blitz and then it occurred. The Rams brought the house and Goff slipped the ball over the free rushers as he’d done with Todd Gurley during his Rams Days but this time it went to De’Andre Swift and Swift took it 63 yards for a touchdown.
The Lions having planned to pull all stops followed with a first quarter onside kick and recovered. Then a fake punt which worked for a first down that moved the ball in range for an eventual field goal and to the surprise of everyone in the building but the visiting team, the Lions were ahead 10-0.
On the following drive, Matthew Stafford hit Cooper Kupp for 29 yards to set up a Matt Gay field goal for the Rams first score of the game.
Then with the Lions in possession, Goff finds tight end TJ Hockenson for a 21 yard drive to add to a 10 play drive that would result in a Lions field goal and make the score 13-3.
Van Jefferson would make his mark on the next drive by first, incurring a pass interference penalty that would advance the ball 32 yards. Then from the 11 yard line, Jefferson would show that while he would struggle at times throughout the season, he does have the ability to high point the ball with possession battles as in this case he snags an end zone fade from Stafford for a score. Jefferson would finish this game with 4 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.
After a Lions punt, the Rams took over again and put on another episode of the Kupp and Robert Woods show. Kupp snuck into the deep outside area with a sail route against a cover two for 27 yards. Then Woods found a zone in the middle of the field, hooked up for a side arm pass from Stafford and then ran with it up the sideline for a 22 yard gain. The crew would finish the drive with Kupp and Jefferson lined up tight to the right and Kupp coming under Jefferson with a rub route for the score.
The Lions would punch in one more field goal before the break to make the halftime score 17-16 Rams.
A second successful fake punt by the Lions would grease the wheels for Detroit giving them a third quarter field goal which would be their last score of the game. However, the Rams would go scoreless in the third quarter which would add one more surprise to this game having the Rams head into the final quarter down 19-17 to the winless Lions.
Kupp would take over as he did all season long by catching a 59 yard pass from Stafford to set up an eventual five yard touchdown catch also by Kupp. In the end, the Super Bowl MVP would have 10 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns in this game. A two point conversion after the final touchdown would make it 25-19 Rams.
Down by six with a shot from the red zone and five minutes remaining, Goff is met abruptly by his old pal Aaron Donald in the pocket as he lofts a throw that is jumped and intercepted by Jalen Ramsey to seal the game for the Rams.
In Goff’s return to SoFit and Stafford’s first game against his old team, the Rams would come out on top 28-19. Stafford threw for 28 completions for 334 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions. Goff would have 22 completions for 268 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.