With a shallow backfield, the Lions handed it to Zach Zenner to start the game, who promptly found 15 yards to get the Lions started early. On third down, Stafford scrambled, but found himself short of the first down. The Lions didn’t flinch; Caldwell made the decision to go for it, and with a little push, Zach Zenner crossed the line for the first down. On the next play, Riley Reiff laid down a block hard enough his own helmet flew off, while Golden Tate got loose for 34 yards to take the Lions into the red zone. On the next play, Stafford threw a corner fade to Marvin Jones, who hauled it in with true fashion for the first touchdown on the day.
The Rams started with Todd Gurley, who you knew wouldn’t stay quiet forever. His first run from scrimmage was for 15 yards. Case Keenum targeted Tavon Austin and Brian Quick to get down the field quickly. Inside the Lions’ 20-yard line, Keenum found Kenny Britt wide open to answer Detroit’s touchdown.
The Lions looked to answer, but a drop by Golden Tate and no penetration for Zach Zenner left them punting. The Rams got the ball off to Bradley Marquez and Todd Gurley to move them down the field quickly, and on a broken play on the goal line, Case Keenum would take the ball in personally to get the Rams to 14 points.
Looking for an answer, The Lions handed the ball to Zach Zenner to power through and take dump-offs. A short pass to Golden Tate resulted in another big play that gained over 30 yards. The Lions got into the red zone, but the Rams held fast on three plays. On fourth down, the Lions elected to go for it, and Stafford found Andre Roberts, who not only fought through defensive pass interference, but ripped the ball away from the Rams defender to tie the game.
With time winding down in the half, the Rams looked to make one more score, knowing they would get the ball to start the second half. Penalties would come in to haunt the Lions, first with a defensive pass interference and then a personal foul on Glover Quin after a brutal hit to break up an end zone pass. But the Lions would settle down, generate some pressure along the defensive line, get a sack, and push the Rams back, although they missed picking up a strip sack made by Devin Taylor. But on third down, Keenum found Kenny Britt again, but he fell just short of crossing the plane. After a review, the Rams went for it on fourth down, but Stefan Charles and Tyrunn Walker got into the backfield and stopped Todd Gurley far short of the goal line as time expired. The teams went to the locker room tied at 14.
The Rams got moved back by a penalty after kickoff and Kerry Hyder stepped up immediately to tackle Todd Gurley for a loss. On third down, the Rams took two consecutive false start penalties to back them up against their own end zone, and they opted to just run the ball to get a little room to punt. The Lions would take over at their own 40 yard line.
The Lions answered just fine. On the third play, Matthew Stafford drew the Rams offside with a hard count (the Fox guys got giddy hearing “Omaha”) and found Golden Tate wide open deep. Tate nearly got to the end zone, but a review put the Lions at the one-yard line. Stafford found Boldin for a quick pass, and the Lions took the lead.
The Rams answered by burning the Lions deep with a long pass from Keenum to Kenny Britt, who held onto the ball with his legs on a bobbled reception. After miscommunicating with Keenum on a broken play, Todd Gurley managed to haul in a pass to convert on third down and keep the Rams rolling.
The Lions had a chance to respond but Stafford, with green fields before him, decided to sidearm throw the ball across his body and it landed harmlessly. The Lions punted and Case Keenum continued to find receivers wide open over the middle. With his touchdown pass short to Kenny Britt, Keenum broke the Rams franchise record for consecutive passes at 19 and Los Angeles took the lead.
A long, weird drive followed for the Lions, with plenty of penalties (a few against the Rams, like a DPI on Maurice Alexander) and a couple of drops. Clay Harbor had a reception; that was a thing. But inevitably, Stafford found Golden Tate, who beat a number of Rams along the edge to find the end zone. He proceeded to celebrate like Tate does.
Golden Tate celebrates with the cheerleaders pic.twitter.com/QWcJPoNOvW— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) October 16, 2016
On the first Rams play from scrimmage, Keenum’s consecutive pass streak was broken with a batted pass. The Rams soon went three-and-out after that, and the Lions had a chance to answer.
The Lions turned to Zach Zenner and and Golden Tate to pick up yards and burn time, and the Lions were within Matt Prater’s range when the two minute warning came in. After a few aborted plays, the Lions kicking unit came in on fourth-and-short and stood tall, and the Lions took the lead 31-28.
Case Keenum had a chance to be the hero. On his first throw, he found Brian Quick short of the first down. On the second, he found Rafael Bush, who if you have forgotten is not actually a Los Angeles Ram but in fact a Detroit Lions safety. The Lions had just sealed their second straight game on a late interception and were victorious in another nail-biter.