But all the good feelings evaporated quickly in Detroit Sunday, as the Rams were walloped 44-6. They now look ahead to San Diego, hoping that another home game will help erase the stench from their trip into the Lions' den.
Asked what was most disappointing Sunday, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "Well, both sides of the ball didn't do real well in the red zone. We know that we didn't play well in some areas on defense that we had. We didn't finish things in the red zone on offense. It's a lot. (On) special teams, you can't give up a kickoff return for a touchdown. I mean, all three phases had a hand in the disappointment of getting beat. Usually when that happens, in all three phases, the score is lopsided and it was."
The Rams outgained the Lions in the first half, 199-192, but trailed 24-6. Three red-zone trips that resulted in just those six points were the main culprit. As was a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Detroit's Stefan Logan, and two second-quarter touchdown drives by the Lions that used a total of 25 plays and covered 81 and 80 yards.
The epitome of the first half came when the Rams, trailing 17-3, drove from their own 22-yard line to a first down at the Detroit 12, the third red-zone penetration of the half. A touchdown would have made it a one-score game, with the Rams receiving the ball to start the second half. But the drive stalled and after a Josh Brown 28-yard field goal, the Lions needed only 87 seconds to effortlessly move 80 yards in 12 plays for another touchdown.
Quarterback Sam Bradford completed just 12 of 26 passes for 79 yards in the second half with two interceptions, one of which was return for a touchdown.
Said Bradford, "There's going to be a lot of things that we're going to have to look for on tape to make sure that this doesn't happen again. I don't know if I've ever been a part of a loss like this before. I don't think this is what this team's about. I think we're better than what we showed today, so we're going to have to bounce back, learn from our mistakes and get ready for San Diego next week."
Added running back Steven Jackson, "Sometimes you need a butt whipping to let you know where you are. I don't think guys came in overlooking Detroit at 0-4. Heck, we've been in that situation a lot, so that I'm not worried about. It's eye-opening; it's a wakeup call. Once we get back on another winning streak, and I believe that will happen again, we won't take anything for granted."
The Rams' offense suffered a crushing blow on their fifth play from scrimmage when wide receiver Mark Clayton suffered a serious knee injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Said Bradford, "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't big. You know, I think everyone has seen what he's done for this offense in the first four games of the season. So to lose him, it's definitely going to hurt, but him going down just gives someone an opportunity to step up."
BY THE NUMBERS
In nine red-zone offensive plays against Detroit, the Rams totaled nine yards and lost a fumble. Defensively, after forcing 10 takeaways in the first four games, the Rams had none against the Lions.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
- WR Mark Clayton, the team's leading receiver entering Sunday's game, had a six-yard catch on the first play of the game and then suffered a serious knee injury on the fifth play and is likely lost for the season. It is believed the injury is to Clayton's patellar tendon.
- RB Kenneth Darby suffered an injury to his shoulder Sunday against Detroit, the severity of which was not immediately known.
- RT Jason Smith was bothered by a foot injury during Sunday's game against Detroit, but no further details were immediately available.
- CB Ron Bartell suffered a mild injury to his calf in the second half Sunday against Detroit and did not return. Bartell said he could have played had the game not been out of hand.
- LG Jacob Bell suffered a concussion in the game against Detroit, the severity of which was not immediately known.
- TE Darcy Johnson suffered a concussion in the game against the Lions, the severity of which was not immediately known.
- DT Clifton Ryan, who was hospitalized with serious migraines on Sept. 16, returned to practice for the first time this past Friday. Ryan traveled with the team to the game in Detroit, but was inactive.