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Recap: Detroit Lions beat Rams, win first playoff game since 1991

Live score updates, highlights, and injury news from the Wild Card playoff game between the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have done it! They went to the wire against the Los Angeles Rams, but they made just enough plays to stave off a wild Matthew Stafford comeback. In the end, the Lions walked away with a one-point 24-23 victory and win their first playoff game since 1991.

Here’s how it happened.

First quarter

The Rams won the toss and deferred, meaning the Lions offense was up first. Detroit got things going with David Montgomery—rushing for 10 and 5 yards on his first two touches. Then Goff hit Josh Reynolds for a bit 24-yard gain down to the Rams’ 30-yard line.

The Lions quickly moved into the red zone, and a pass to Reynolds pushed them to first-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Montgomery quickly punched it in for an early 7-0 Lions lead.

The Rams avoided a three-and-out thanks to a pass interference call on Brian Branch. From there, Los Angeles methodically drove the field. A screen pass to Puka Nacua went for 21 yards and set the Rams up in the red zone.

A personal foul penalty on Kerby Joseph gave the Rams a first-and-goal. But three straight incompletions—including a deflection from Brian Branch on third down—held the Rams to just three points. 7-3 Lions.

The Lions went right back to work with a 10-yard pass to Reynolds and a roughing the passer penalty moved Detroit into Rams territory. Goff went right back to Reynolds for a huge 33-yard gain down to the Rams’ 10-yard line.

From there, Jahmyr Gibbs rushed it in for a 14-3 Lions lead.

Just as it appeared the Lions defense was going to force a three-and-out, Stafford threw a perfect pass to Demarcus Robinson on third-and-15 for a 19-yard gain to close out the first quarter.

Second quarter

The Rams quickly faced another third down—third-and-1—and Stafford hit Nacua for a 50-yard touchdown. Cam Sutton was beat cleanly by a couple of steps on a hitch and go for the easy score. 14-10 Lions.

The Lions offense countered again, though. A good mix of run and pass moved the Lions into Rams territory, and a great catch and run from Gibbs got them down to the 11-yard line. Detroit worked down to the 2-yard line on fourth down and opted to go for it. Sam LaPorta rewarded the decision with a 2-yard touchdown catch and a 21-10 Lions lead.

Stafford went right back to work with a 21-yard strike to Nacua to open the drive. Los Angeles then opted to go for it on fourth-and-5 from midfield, and Stafford found Cooper Kupp for 6 to keep the drive alive. And on the very next play, Tutu Atwell broke free from Kindle Vildor for a 38-yard touchdown. 21-17 Lions.

Goff made a critical mistake on the next drive. Trying to avoid a sack, he accidentally lateraled it backwards for a 15-yard loss. Fortunately, the Lions dug out of it by hitting Amon-Ra St. Brown for 23 yards on third-and-15.

Then another officiating controversy reared its head. The Lions attempted to get the Rams to jump offside on fourth-and-5. They appeared to, but the ref called a false start on Taylor Decker. Instead of a first down for the Lions, Detroit punted back to Los Angeles with 59 seconds left.

With a strong punt, the Rams chose to just run the rest of the clock from their own 5-yard line.

Third quarter

The Rams started the second half with their first punt of the game after Stafford couldn’t find Robinson on a third-and-11.

Detroit, on the other hand, converted a third-and-6 on their opening drive of the second half with a beautiful pass from Goff to St. Brown for 30 yards.

St. Brown picked up another 19 to put the Lions in field goal range. But two negative plays—a sack and a -5-yard run—pushed Detroit back to the edge of field goal range. The Lions still lined up for a 54-yard field goal, and Michael Badgley nailed it. 24-17 Lions.

The Rams responded with a balanced, sustained drive. Stafford found tight end Davis Allen, who broke a couple tackles for a 23-yard gain all the way down to Detroit’s 11-yard line. But the Rams would stall from there, and settle for another field goal. 24-20 Lions.

The Lions offense couldn’t answer as Goff stumbled while trying to escape pressure on third down, and fell 7 yards short of the marker.

Fourth quarter

Jack Fox dropped a nice punt to pin the Rams at their own 10-yard line. They quickly got out of the hole with a 15-yard run from Williams. Stafford then converted a third-and-8 with a screen to Nacua for 9 yards.

Stafford then hit Nacua for a 22-yard gain down to Detroit’s 13-yard line. Los Angeles then faced a critical third-and-8. Goff overthrew Kupp, and the Rams opted to kick a field goal to make it 24-23 Lions with 8:10 left.

Unfortunately for Detroit, the offense remained in neutral. The Lions went three-and-out after Goff missed Reynolds on third down, and Detroit didn’t even take up a full minute off the clock.

Another solid punt from Fox pushed the Rams inside their own 10-yard line, but it didn’t matter. Stafford found Nacua for a 35-yard gain on the second play of the drive. A checkdown to Ronnie Rivers went for 15 yards into Lions territory.

But the Lions defense managed to get a stop, and a critical holding penalty pushed the Rams out of field goal position.

The Lions got the ball back with 4:07 left and a chance to put the game away on offense.’

Montgomery picked up an early first down after making a Rams defender miss. That led the Lions to the two minute warning facing a second-and-9, and the Rams having just one timeout left. Goff dropped back to pass and found St. Brown for the PLAYOFF WINNING FIRST DOWN.

The Lions will advance to the divisional round, and host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Philadelphia Eagles in Detroit next week.

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