Live blog: Late Prater FG, Bush INT lift Lions to 31-28 win
The Lions relied on their defense and a pair of key late stops to claw back to .500 with a 31-28 win over the Rams.
The Lions took the lead on a Matt Prater 34-yard field goal with 1:33 remaining and held on to win thanks to a game-sealing interception by Rafael Bush on the Rams’ final possession.
Matthew Stafford came up clutch on the Lions’ final drive, throwing an 11-yard pass to Boldin on third-and-1 to put them across midfield at the Rams’ 41.
Zach Zenner had back-to-back carries for 15 total yards to give the Lions first-and-10 at Rams’ 26 and put them within field-goal range for Matt Prater.
Stafford was sacked for a 5-yard loss by Rams’ Aaron Donald and then completed a short pass to Tate to force Rams to burn first two timeouts. Tate picked up 12 yards and stopped just short of first down, to set the stage for Prater at the Rams 16.
The Lions’ defense forced a crucial three-and-out to get the ball back with 5:12 left. After a Keenum incompletion and Todd Gurley 5-yard carry, cornerback Darius Slay batted a pass away from Kenny Britt to make the Rams punt.
Stafford hits Tate for TD to knot it at 28
Just when it looked like the Lions’ offense was going to hit a second-half lull, it rattles off a 13-play, 84-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 28 with 6:02 left.
After the drive started with back-to-back incompletions by Matthew Stafford and a Rams offside penalty set up third-and-5 at their 21. Stafford threw 11-yard pass to Andre Roberts to pick up the first down.
Stafford extended the drive again with his arm, hitting Tate for a 13-yard catch on third-and-1.
A pass interference on Rams’ safety Maurice Alexander helped keep the drive alive and gave Lions a first down at Rams’ 31 after they were facing a third-and-13.
Stafford scrambled for five yards on a third-and-4 to get the Lions into the red zone and two plays later hit Golden Tate for a 23-yard touchdown.
Lions' D can't stop Keenum, Rams up 28-21
Case Keenum continued his assault against the Lions’ defense, racking up completion after completion and picking up first down after first down.
And eventually, it led to his third passing touchdown of the game.
He got the Rams’ second drive of the second half going with a 13-yard pass to Brian Quick and then converted a third-and-5 with a 6-yard pass to Kenny Britt.
Back-to-back completions for 19 and 12 yards to Brian Quick and Tavon Austin, respectively, gave the Rams a first down at the Lions’ 17.
Then on a third-and-2 at the 9, Keenum hit Kenny Britt to give the Rams a 28-21 lead with 14:09 remaining.
On the Lions previous drive, they were held to a quick three-and-out. Zach Zenner was stuffed for a 3-yard loss and had a 4-yard catch before Matthew Stafford’s cross-field throw to Marvin Jones on third-and-9 was nearly intercepted, forcing a Lions punt.
Lions' woes defending tight ends continues
The Lions have struggled to cover opposing team’s tight ends all season and that trend continued against the Rams.
Case Keenum connected with tight end Lance Kendricks for a 15-yard touchdown as the Rams tied the game at 21 with 6:33 left in the third.
Receiver Kenny Britt made an acrobatic 47-yard catch and pinned the ball between his legs after losing it going to the ground as the Rams quickly moved into Lions’ territory on the first play of their drive. Coach Jim Caldwell challenged the ruling but it stood after review.
Keenum then threw a 4-yard pass to Kendricks, picked up four yards on a keeper and completed a 5-yard pass to Todd Gurley on a third-and-2 to extend drive and set up Kendricks’ score.
Boldin TD gives Lions a 21-14 lead
The Lions appeared to take the lead when Matthew Stafford hit Golden Tate with a deep pass on a free play.
Tate made a pair of Rams’ defenders miss en route to a 62-yard touchdown, but the play was reviewed and overturned after it was ruled Tate was touched by a defender on his foot.
It didn’t matter, though, as Stafford threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin two plays later to give the Lions a 21-14 lead 9:50 left in the third quarter.
Lions' D forces quick three-and-out
The Lions’ defense is riding the momentum into the second half.
Kerry Hyder Jr. dropped running back Todd Gurley for 1-yard loss on the first play of the second half. Then after Lance Kendricks’ 6-yard catch, back-to-back false start penalties on the Rams put them in a third-and-15 at their 5.
They weren’t able to convert as the Lions held the Rams to their first three-and-out of the game. The Lions start their first drive of the second half at their 40 with 12:07 left in the third quarter.
Lions' D comes up with huge stop, game tied at half
After two costly Lions penalties, it looked the Rams were going to walk into halftime with the lead facing a fourth-and-goal at the Lions’ 1 with four seconds left.
But Rams coach Jeff Fisher passed on the field goal and elected to go for it.
That move backfired as the Lions’ defense came up with a huge stop as Tyrunn Walker and Stefan Charles converged to drop running back Todd Gurley for a 1-yard loss, keeping the game tied at 14 at the half.
Earlier in the drive, Case Keenum hit Kenny Britt for 43 yards to get them into field-goal range. Then a pass interference call on Nevin Lawson gave Rams first-and-goal at the Lions 9.
Defensive end Devin Taylor got to a scrambling Keenum to force a fumble but the Rams recovered it at the Lions 19.
Safety Glover Quin was flagged for hit to receiver’s head and neck area, giving the Rams a first-and-goal at the 9. Two plays later, Keenum hit Britt over the middle and he was stopped just short of the goal line. The play was reviewed and upheld, setting up a fourth-and-goal at the 1.
Caldwell's gamble pays off, Lions tie Rams at 14
Coach Jim Caldwell has shown he's not afraid to roll the dice.
After back-to-back incompletions set up a fourth-and-goal situation at the 2, Caldwell opted to go for it. Stafford threw off his back foot while pressured and receiver Andre Roberts came down with a 2-yard touchdown grab despite being interfered with to even the score at 14 with 3:03 left in the second.
Zach Zenner provided plenty of keys plays on the drive, converting a third-and-9 with a 15-yard catch and run over the middle.
Zenner continued to keep the chains moving, rushing for six yards on a second-and-2 and seven yards on a second-and-4 as the Lions drove into the red zone.
Stafford hit Anquan Boldin for a 15-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal at the 4 that eventually led to Roberts’ score.
Keenum carving up Lions' D, Rams take 14-7 lead
Rams quarterback Case Keenum entered today’s matchup with the league’s lowest Total QBR rating but you wouldn’t know it based on how he has been carving up the Lions’ defense.
He led the Rams right back down the first again and scored on a 1-yard run to take a 14-7 lead over the Lions with 11:01 left in the second.
Keenum kicked off the Rams’ second possession with a 13-yard dump off to running back Todd Gurley and followed that with a 16-yard strike over the middle to receiver Brian Quick on the final play of the first quarter, giving the Rams a first-and-10 near midfield.
Keenum hit running back Benny Cunningham for a 9-yard gain and converted a third-and-1 with his feet, rolling out and picked up two yards to keep the drive alive in Lions’ territory.
Keenum then found an open Bradley Marquez over the middle for a 13-yard gain and Tavon Austin picked up eight yards on an end-around to give the Rams a second-and-2 inside the red zone.
A 13-yard reception by Gurley set up a first-and-goal at the 1 and Keenum finished it off by walking into the end zone on the next play.
Through two drives, Keenum has completed 10 of 12 passes for 110 yards and two scores.
Penalties riddle second Lions' drive
The Lions’ second drive got off to a bad start. Corey Robinson was called for a false start and Matthew Stafford picked that yardage back up with a 7-yard completion to Anquan Boldin.
But new Lion Justin Forsett was dropped for a yard loss on his first carry and rookie Taylor Decker was called for a false start to set up a third-and-14. A defensive holding penalty bailed the Lions out and extended the drive.
Forsett picked up nine yards on first down, but Stafford followed with an incompletion and Zach Zenner was dropped for a 2-yard loss on third-and-1, forcing the Lions to punt from their 38. Game is still tied at 7 with 1:52 left in the first.
Rams counter with opening TD drive, tied at 7
So much for the Rams having the last-ranked offense in the league.
After the Lions marched 75 yards down the field, the Rams came back with an immediate answer and a 75-yard touchdown drive of their own.
Rams running back Todd Gurley gashed the Lions in last year’s meeting and it’s no secret the offense is going to run through him today
Gurley started the Rams’ opening drive with a 15-yard run and picked up another first down with consecutive runs of five and seven yards.
He extended the drive with a 2-yard run on a third-and-1 at the Lions’ 27 and two plays later, quarterback Case Keenum hit receiver Kenny Britt over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown to tie it at 7 with 5:15 left in the first.
Stafford hits Jones for TD, Lions take quick 7-0 lead
Just like last week, the Lions’ offense is off to an impressive start.
Matthew Stafford and Co. marched 75 yards in eight plays and scored on a 7-yard touchdown reception by Marvin Jones to take a 7-0 lead over the Rams with 10:44 left in the first quarter.
Zach Zenner got the start at running back with Theo Riddick and rookie Dwayne Washington inactive and ripped off a 15-yard run on the first play.
Stafford scrambled for seven yards to set up a fourth-and-1 near midfield and Lions coach Jim Caldwell rolled the dice. Zenner made the move pay off, rushing for two yards to pick up the first.
Two plays later, Stafford hit Golden Tate for a 34-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal situation at the Rams’ 7-yard line. Stafford connected with Jones on the next play for the quick lead.
With guard Larry Warford out for the game, Graham Glasgow got the start at left guard with Laken Tomlinson sliding over to right guard. That’ll be something to keep an eye on as the game progresses.
After snapping a three-game skid with a win over the Eagles, will the Lions make it two in a row and claw back to .500? Follow along with live updates from Ford Field with James Hawkins of The Detroit News.
The Lions will be without guard Larry Warford and will also be shorthanded yet again at running back with Theo Riddick and rookie Dwayne Washington both inactive, leaving new Lion Justin Forsett and Zach Zenner to split the duties.
For predictions of today's game from James Hawkins, Justin Rogers, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski, click here.
Will Rams running back Todd Gurley finally snap out of his funk and top 100 yards rushing for the first time this season? For our complete Lions vs. Rams preview, click here.