It’s hard to say that a loss is ever a moral victory of sorts, but for the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, their performance against the Detroit Lions was just that. The Rams fell to the Lions 27-23 on a last second touchdown scored by Detroit, yet somehow it seemed like a real win for the Rams and their young football team.
“We gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game and win it at the end. I think we got better as a team today.” That was first year head coach Jeff Fisher’s assessment of his club’s effort in week one. It’s fair to say that the team really did get better.
Starting on defense where the unit was a pleasant surprise picking off Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford three times. New addition Cortland Finnegan had one of those interceptions and he returned it 31 yards for the score in the second quarter. Of that play, Finnegan said: “We did a ton of film study on Stafford, and we knew what he likes to do. Our coaches gave us a great game plan, and we were able to take advantage of that in the first half. In the second half, they made some adjustments and they made plays. That’s a great offense over there with some big-time players, and they did their jobs. We just needed to make one more play.”
Finnegan is right, the Lions do have quite a dynamic offense which makes the Rams performance that much more impressive in the opening week of the season. This defense looked like a cohesive unit that has been together for years when really they are all just getting accustomed to one another out on the field.
Where the Rams really need to improve is on offense where a conservative game plan with running back Steven Jackson really didn’t payoff as he ran the ball 21 times for just 53 yards on the day. Sam Bradford was a solid 17 of 25 for 198 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions, but his protection was riddled with injuries as both tackle Rodger Saffold and center Scott Wells left the game.
There will be plenty of growing pains for this St Louis Rams team, but this was quite a positive step for the youngest team in the league. Expect coach Fisher to have the team coached up and ready to go in their second game of the season.
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