Hunt Report: Entertainment Outweighs Frustration in Lions Loss to Rams

D'Andre Swift

Getty D'Andre Swift runs in the Lions game against the Rams in 2021.

The Detroit Lions were expected to lose in blowout fashion to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 7, but like they have done most of the season, the team competed in a big way and ended up impressing most of the afternoon in spite of a 28-19 loss.

While the story should have been about the defeat afterward, it was more about the way in which the Lions competed. Not only did the Lions keep the game close as they have done most of this season, they did so in a fun way with three successful trick plays in the game. Detroit not only called the plays, but they executed them, which is a rare feat in the NFL.

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Detroit may have lost and endured several problems along the way, but once again, they were entertaining. Coming into this season, fans had a simple plea for the team, and it was to be interesting. Don’t be bad and predictable, or worse yet, bad and boring. Through the last few seasons, the team has certainly been both of those things more often than not.

This week, the Lions showed why they can be so much more in 2021. In a game most considered a blowout waiting to happen, the Lions actually delighted not just their fans, but the football watching community on the internet as well. They hung in the game and may have gained some extra fans as a result.

Winning is always the end game in the NFL, but the Lions have clear deficiencies this season. As long as that’s going to be the case, why can’t the team have some fun? This week, they proved that it can happen.

The Rams Weren’t as Impressive as Everyone Figured

While the Lions lost the game, it isn’t as if they were dominated. Sure, Matthew Stafford put up 300 yard passing and Cooper Kupp went off, but outside of that, it was a close game. The longer the Lions hung around, the more doubt was put into the heads of the Los Angeles players. Statistically, the Lions weren’t outclassed in the game either, racking up 41 more yards of offense than Los Angeles. The difference was red zone execution as well as turnovers. A few less mistakes and Detroit could have finished off the upset. The good news? It was hardly a runaway performance from the Rams, a team many folks have lauded this season and referred to as Super Bowl contenders. They’ll need to clean things up in order to achieve those goals in a major way after struggling with Detroit.

Dan Campbell’s Game Plan Looked Fantastic

Coming into the game, it was figured that Dan Campbell might have to pull a rabbit out of his hat and outfox Sean McVay in order to have a chance at helping Detroit pull the upset. While the team made one mistake on a fourth down, the rest of the game was nearly flawless in terms of coaching. The Lions timed their fakes and onside kick perfectly, and managed to put a scare into the Rams as a result.

With plays like this fake punt in the second half, how could anyone not like what the Lions were doing on the day?

It’s clear the Lions practiced these plays to perfection and did a nice job to run them in the game. That’s quality coaching.

Jared Goff Remains a Few Plays Off Within Detroit’s Offense

It’s clear Detroit’s quarterback is still learning his way and trying to figure things out with his new weapons. Goff had a key miscommunication with running back D’Andre Swift that led to the Lions settling for a field goal in the red zone. Later in the fourth quarter with Detroit attempting to drive for a go-ahead score, Goff was hit and suffered a costly interception at the hands of Jalen Ramsey.

Like these plays prove, Goff is simply a few steps behind, which often can be expected when a team transitions offenses or has new players in new spots. The trouble Goff is having this season could be attributed to that. The Lions simply have to find a way to continue to work out the kinks in practice.

D’Andre Swift Enjoyed Best Game With Lions

Not lost in another defeat was the elite play of running back D’Andre Swift. On the afternoon, Swift was simply phenomenal, with 144 all-purpose yards on the day. He caught the ball effectively as he did on his electrifying touchdown, and looked like a huge matchup problem all day. It isn’ a stretch to say this may have been Swift’s best game of his career.

“He’s a stud. We got to get him the ball more,” Detroit coach Dan Campbell told the media after the game.

Lions fans were once again witness to how much a game-changer Swift can be for the team both now and in the future. He’s a great building block to have, and nobody would argue with Campbell’s sentiment.

Lion? Kalif Raymond, Wide Receiver

Since D’Andre Swift has already been mentioned, the best player in the game nod has to go to Kalif Raymond. Detroit’s underrated wideout had a huge afternoon with 115 yards receiving and he made several big plays to help the Lions flip field position and move the ball. Perhaps Raymond’s best play on the day was when he moved the ball down the field in the second half with a huge catch and run:

Raymond has turned himself into a quality player and accepted the challenge for the Detroit offense. That’s something which is great to see for a needy wideout group.

Lamb? Team Discipline

The Lions once again struggled badly with discipline, racking up 77 penalty yards on the day. Many of the calls were questionable, but Detroit struggled with discipline, jumping offsides and committing mental errors like that on the afternoon. The Lions have been far too inconsistent with discipline this season, and that burned them badly in a game they needed to be much more buttoned up.

Lions’ Stat to Note: 415

That’s the number of yards the Detroit offense gained on the afternoon. Perhaps shockingly, it was a better total than the Rams, who only put up 374 yards. The difference in those totals is 41 yards. Perhaps that doesn’t seem significant, but the Rams were supposed to blow the Lions out of the game easily and not be out-gained by a Detroit offense that struggles to move the ball and put up points. The difference in the game? Los Angeles was much more proficient in the red zone, with two more touchdowns than Detroit overall.

Lions’ Quote to Note:

“It wasn’t enough. You’re not allowed to make one or two errors against a football team like that.” -Dan Campbell. Speaking after the game to reporters, Campbell admitted that all the trick plays didn’t mean much in the end because the Lions struggled to make the plays that count and had a few mistakes that they didn’t need.

In the end, the coach was right, even if he probably should have given his own game plan a bit more credit than that.

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