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July 24, 2024

Goff Gets Revenge as Lions Stun Defending Champs Rams in Playoff Upset

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Jan 15, 2024

The Detroit Lions pulled off a major upset on Sunday, defeating the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams 31-28 in the NFC Wild Card round. Lions quarterback Jared Goff got his revenge against his former team, leading Detroit to their first playoff win since 1991.

Lions Build Early Lead, Withstand Late Rally from Rams

The Lions set the tone early, with Goff finding star rookie receiver CJ Stroud for a 58-yard touchdown on just the second play from scrimmage. Detroit would score 24 unanswered points in the first half, dominating the heavily favored Rams for much of the first two quarters.

“We knew people were counting us out,” said Lions coach Dan Campbell. “This team has fought all year long regardless of the circumstances. I’m so proud of the way our guys came ready to play today.”

The Rams attempted to mount a second half comeback, with Matthew Stafford hitting Cooper Kupp for two touchdowns to cut the lead to 31-28. But ultimately the Lions defense was able to come up with a key stop late in the 4th quarter, forcing a turnover on downs that allowed Detroit to run out the clock.

Score by Quarters:

Team          1st   2nd   3rd   4th   Total
Lions        14    10     7     0    31
Rams           0     7    14     7    28  

Goff finished with 268 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, while Stroud had 5 catches for 132 yards and a score. Stafford ended with 301 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also threw a pivotal interception.

Playoff Win Long Overdue for Starved Lions Franchise

This playoff victory was a long-time coming for the Lions organization and their fanbase. Detroit had not won a postseason game since January 5, 1992 against the Dallas Cowboys. This stretch of playoff futility was the longest active streak in the NFL.

But under second-year head coach Dan Campbell, the culture finally seems to be changing in Detroit. The Lions went 9-8 to earn the #7 seed in the NFC, leaning on a gritty defense and the emergence of Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Stroud.

“I’m just so thrilled for our fans,” said Campbell after the game with tears in his eyes. “They deserve this more than anybody. This is for the city of Detroit.”

Thousands of jubilant Lions fans flooded the streets outside Ford Field in Detroit to celebrate the historic win. On sports talk radio and local television coverage, the outpouring of emotion from long-suffering Detroiters was on full display.

“I can’t believe I just witnessed a Lions playoff victory in my lifetime,” said Lions season ticket holder Tom Girard, 68. “I have waited over 30 years for this moment. I’m not sure it’s even sunk in yet.”

This cathartic playoff win signals the Lions may finally be emerging from the shadows after decades of mediocrity. And with young talents like Stroud leading the way, the future looks brighter than its been for the franchise since the Barry Sanders era.

Cowboys Collapse Again in Stunning Upset Loss to Packers

In the other NFC Wild Card game on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys once again came up short in disappointing fashion. The Cowboys were upset by the Green Bay Packers at home, losing 27-17.

Second-year quarterback Jordan Love threw for 222 yards and 1 touchdown to lead Green Bay over the seemingly dysfunctional Cowboys. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott had another nightmare playoff performance for Dallas, tossing 2 interceptions including a back-breaking pick-six that put the game out of reach in the 4th quarter.

Passing Stats:

Player          Comp/Att  Yards  TD  INT
J. Love         15/28     222    1   0  
D. Prescott     18/35     206    1   2

The Cowboys have not won a playoff game since 2018 and the calls for major organizational changes are growing louder. Head coach Mike McCarthy’s job security is once again being brought into question after yet another January letdown.

According to reports, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones refused to comment after the game. But sources close to the team believe Jones will strongly consider moving on from McCarthy and perhaps Prescott as well this offseason.

For Green Bay, the playoff run continues under head coach Matt LaFleur. The Packers defense swarmed Prescott all game and the offense did just enough to pull off a tough road victory. They will head to Houston next week to face the #1 seed Texans in the divisional round.

What This Means for Rest of Playoffs

With wins by both Detroit and Green Bay, the NFC side of the playoff bracket is now set. The Lions will head to Philadelphia to take on the #1 seed Eagles. The Packers will match up with the Texans, while the #2 49ers host the #6 Giants.

The Lions enter next week as heavy underdogs once more against MVP finalist Jalen Hurts and the Eagles. But after knocking off the defending champs, Detroit has proven anything is possible.

“We’re not just happy to be here. We feel like we can go toe-to-toe with anyone,” said Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. With the monkey finally off their backs, look out for these battle-tested Lions to potentially surprise again next week.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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