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June 19, 2024

Lions Top Rams 24-23 in Thrilling Playoff Victory, Advance to Divisional Round

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Jan 15, 2024

The Detroit Lions defeated the Los Angeles Rams 24-23 on Sunday night in a thrilling NFC Wild Card playoff game at Ford Field. The win snapped the Lions’ 8-game playoff losing streak and gave the franchise its first playoff victory since January 5, 1992.

Lead Up to the Game

This matchup featured Lions quarterback Jared Goff facing his former team after being traded to Detroit last offseason. Goff was drafted 1st overall by the Rams in 2016 and helped lead them to a Super Bowl appearance in 2018. However, his inconsistent play ultimately led to his departure.

Sunday’s game also marked Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s return to Detroit after spending 12 seasons with the Lions to start his career. Stafford was traded to the Rams last year in exchange for Goff and draft picks, looking to find postseason success he could never attain in Detroit.

There was plenty of emotion and storylines heading into this contest between familiar foes.

First Half Recap

The Rams struck first with a 47-yard field goal on their opening drive to take an early 3-0 advantage. However, the Lions responded with an impressive 17-play, 75-yard drive that consumed over 9 minutes of game time. Running back D’Andre Swift capped it off with a 3-yard touchdown run to put Detroit ahead 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Lions kicker Michael Badgley knocked through a 21-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-3. The Rams had opportunities to cut into the deficit, but two Matthew Stafford passes were intercepted to end promising drives. Stafford finished the first half with 3 interceptions, continuing his postseason struggles.

Team 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter Halftime
Lions 7 3 10
Rams 3 0 3

At halftime, the Lions seemed in control with a 10-3 lead while Stafford and the Rams offense sputtered.

Second Half Drama

The Rams came out firing in the third quarter, needing to erase the 7-point deficit. Matthew Stafford led them on a 9-play, 75-yard drive ending with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp, tying the game 10-10.

On Detroit’s next possession, Jared Goff connected on a 52-yard bomb to standout rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. That big play set up running back Jamaal Williams’ 2-yard touchdown plunge, retaking the lead 17-10 for the Lions.

In the 4th quarter, Stafford bounced back leading the Rams on another lengthy drive. Rookie running back Cam Akers hauled in an 18-yard touchdown catch from Stafford to knot the score at 17-17 midway through the final period.

But Goff and Lions were undeterred. On 3rd-and-8, Goff found St. Brown for an 11-yard gain to move the chains. After forcing the Rams to burn all their timeouts, Lions place kicker Michael Badgley nailed through a 26-yard field goal giving Detroit a 20-17 advantage with just over 2 minutes remaining.

All hope seemed lost for Los Angeles when Stafford was intercepted for a 4th time with under a minute to play. But a defensive holding penalty bailed out the Rams offense. Stafford took full advantage, connecting with Cooper Kupp for a 22 yard pickup to move deep into Lions territory. After an 8-yard scramble and spike to stop the clock,Matt Gay kicked a game-tying 48-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to send the contest into overtime.

Team 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter Total
Lions 7 13 20
Rams 7 10 20

The teams were deadlocked at 20-20 needing overtime to settle this thriller.

St. Brown’s Heroics Lifts Lions to Upset Victory

The Lions won the overtime coin toss and received the ball first in the extra period. Goff methodically led Detroit down the field with a mix of passes and runs. Rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown was the star, hauling in receptions of 17 and 15 yards to push deep into Rams territory. After getting stopped short on 3rd down, Lions coach Dan Campbell kept the offense on the field. The bold decision paid off with Goff finding St. Brown wide open in the front corner of the end zone for the decisive 4-yard touchdown.

The Rams still had an opportunity to counter in overtime. But the Lions defense stood tall, forcing Stafford into his 5th interception of the contest to seal the incredible 24-23 victory.

Amon-Ra St Brown was the player of the game finishing with 9 catches, 119 yards and the game-winning TD. Second-year running back D’Andre Swift rushed for 89 yards for Detroit as well.

For the Rams, both Stafford (19/37, 272 yards, 2 TD, 5 INT) and Cooper Kupp (7 catches, 106 yards, TD) had big games though it wasn’t enough to overcome the turnovers.

This ends an outstanding season for the defending Super Bowl champion Rams as Stafford and coach Sean McVay fall short of returning to the NFC Championship.

As for the Lions, they will travel to San Francisco next weekend to face the dynamic 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round. Today’s thrilling overtime upset marks a new era for football in Detroit, finally snapping decades of postseason misery. Led by coach Dan Campbell’s infectious energy and a young rising nucleus, brighter days appear ahead for this Lions team.

What This Means Going Forward

This loss raises further doubts regarding Matthew Stafford’s abilities to win big games and could increase calls for the Rams to find a new quarterback this offseason. Stafford is set to count over $30 million towards LA’s salary cap next season so his contract may need adjusting.

For Jared Goff and these scrappy Lions, they have announced themselves as an up-and-coming threat in the NFC. Dan Campbell is establishing a tough, resilient culture in Detroit. Key young pieces like Amon-Ra St. Brown, rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and second-year tackle Penei Sewell provide building blocks for sustainable success.

While Detroit still faces an uphill climb facing San Francisco next, this franchise finally has positive momentum and energy for the first time in over a decade. No matter how next weekend unfolds, the future appears very bright in Motor City.

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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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