I'll tell you one thing, this game turned out to be a lot better than I had originally expected. Even though there was no defense, seeing Mike Furrey and Kevin Jones play so well made me very happy. They did all they could, but in the end, the Rams offense just ended up scoring more than the Lions offense. Detroit had their chances coming down to the wire, but just as one week ago, couldn't do anything with them. You never like to hear about moral victories, especially coming in the 4th week of the season, but even though the scoreboard said 41-34 in favor of St. Louis, I think the offense made some big strides yesterday afternoon.
Differing from the usual game recaps where I go back and look at every scoring drive, I'm going to summarize each quarter of play, and then get a little more in depth towards the end of the game. Since the most combined points all season was scored in this game, the usual look back could leave you reading for hours.
St. Louis starts off strong and moves the ball down the field. A great goal line stand two separate times by the Lions defense holds the Rams to just 6 points. A TD pass later on in the quarter extends the lead, but Jason Hanson kicked a FG for Detroit to cut things down a bit. Rams lead 13-3 after one quarter.
For the most part, it was all Lions in this quarter. The Mike Furrey show got underway as he hauled in 2, that's right, 2 touchdown passes. The first was from just 1 yard out, and the second from 10. Furrey has definitely emerged as a star in this Lions offense. He's the perfect mold for a wide receiver that is involved in the Mike Martz style of play. Although he may not be a speedster or an overpowering guy, he's got the moves and hands to be a great target.
With the 2 touchdowns, Detroit had a shocking 17-13 lead late in the first half, and controlled all of the momentum. St. Louis got another field goal just before the clock expired, so Detroit leads 17-16 at the break.
To start the second half, there was a very scary moment early on. Lions rookie Frank Davis was a blocker on the kick return, and collided in a bad position with a Rams player. Davis had to be removed off the field on a stretcher, and was said to have suffered a neck injury. The x-rays have reportedly come back negative, and word is that he can move his arms and legs, but nonetheless, it is still a tough thing to see. More info when it becomes available on Davis' condition.
The feel of this game going back and forth continued into the third quarter. St. Louis came out after a defensive stop and scored on a 16 yard touchdown pass, putting the Rams back on top. But, the Lions came right back and almost punched it into the endzone. The drive fell short, but Jason Hanson converted a 20 yard field goal.
Detroit wouldn't be done either. The Lions defense held St. Louis to a 3 and out, and put the ball back into the hands of their playmakers. I honestly thought that this next play would be the turning point Detroit needed to get a win. On 3rd and 1, Kevin Jones took the handoff and cut to the outside where he blew past defenders for a 35 yard touchdown run. That gave the Lions the lead again. This time by a score of 27-23.
Before the 3rd quarter came to a close, St. Louis would answer back with another score of their own. This time they put it on the ground, and got their first rushing touchdown of the season when Steven Jackson scampered in from 1 yard out. After 3 quarters of this exciting game, the Rams led 30-27.
With the game being so close on the scoreboard, and both offenses having no trouble scoring, the final quarter of play promised to be a good one. That it was.
Riding on the arm of Jon Kitna, the Lions moved the ball down the field 71 yards before Kevin Jones got in for the touchdown. This time it was a 7 yard carry, and once again caused a lead change. Detroit was ahead 34-30, meaning that it was the Rams turn to come back.
St. Louis appeared to be on the track to go down the field and score. They had a promising drive going, and were controlling the clock as well. The Lions defense however, stepped it up and held the Rams to just a field goal, meaning that Detroit retained the lead with just over 6 minutes to go.
Following a quick 3 and out by Detroit, the Rams came out onto the field with plenty of time to go and just kick a field goal to win the game. Detroit was so fast in getting rid of the ball that St. Louis had enough time to get into the endzone. Marc Bulger orchestrated a perfectly managed drive, and capped it all off with a 5 yard TD pass to Isaac Bruce.
Just as the Green Bay game, it would be time for a 2 minute drill to try and get the Lions their first win of the season. That drill didn't go so well. On the very first play following the kickoff, Jon Kitna threw an interception, and put an enormous amount of pressure on the Lions defense.
Steven Jackson was stuffed on 3 straight plays, and there was still 52 seconds remaining. A field goal would end the game if good, and St. Louis went out and tried to do just that. You would've thought that Jeff Wilkins was money from the distance of 47 yards, but somehow the ball just faded off wide of the goalpost to the right side, and gave Detroit yet another chance for the comeback.
The Lions moved the ball all the way down to the St. Louis 37 yard line, and had enough time to get into the endzone. On possibly the most heart-wrenching play of the game, Detroit looked to have advanced the ball all the way down to the Rams 1 yard line because of a defensive pass interference penalty. The officials got together after the initial call, and decided that the ball was tipped before the penalty occurred, meaning that the flag would be picked up. To think how close Detroit may have actually been to have only 1 yard to go before a touchdown. All that was left now was to pray on a hail mary to the endzone. Roy Williams did make the catch over two defenders, but the ball was caught a couple of yards out of the endzone, and that would end the hopes of a Lions win.
The Rams may have won the game 41-34, but I saw a lot of good things from the Lions offense. Jon Kitna was efficient all day except for 2 INTs. His receivers were very good as well. Mike Furrey had a career day, and Roy Williams had some decent-looking stats also. Add a 2-touchdown performance from Kevin Jones in there, and the offense was clicking on all levels.
The defense on the other hand was a different story. Although they made some big stops at certain points in the game, too many times they allowed St. Louis to drive deep into Lions territory setting up a short touchdown or an easy field goal. That was just too much to allow Detroit to pull of the win.
Now, with an 0-4 record, the Lions matchup with a divisional opponent coming off a close loss of their own. Detroit will travel to Minnesota for a battle with the Vikings next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. It won't be easy getting that first win, but if the same offense that showed up against St. Louis comes with an improved defense, then we may be celebrating a victory come this time next week.