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Matthew Stafford, Rams Defeat Jared Goff, Lions in 1st Matchup Since Offseason Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 25, 2021

Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The grass is looking a lot greener for Matthew Stafford.

The Los Angeles Rams improved to 6-1 with a 28-19 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

This was Stafford's first game against his old team, which continues to be the lone winless team (0-7) in the NFL.

Stafford put Los Angeles ahead 25-19 with 13:59 left in the game after finding Cooper Kupp for a five-yard touchdown. Detroit was poised to respond after getting a 1st-and-10 at Los Angeles' 12-yard line, but Jared Goff threw an interception on second down.

NFL @NFL

A red zone interception for the birthday boy <a href="https://twitter.com/jalenramsey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jalenramsey</a>! πŸŽ‚ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RamsHouse?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RamsHouse</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DETvsLAR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DETvsLAR</a> on FOX<br>πŸ“±: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/akofcdzydw">pic.twitter.com/akofcdzydw</a>

A 47-yard field goal by Matt Gay with 1:03 left put the finishing touches on the result.


Notable Performers

Matthew Stafford, QB, Rams: 28-of-41, 334 yards, three touchdowns

Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams: 10 receptions, 156 yards, two touchdowns 

Robert Woods, WR, Rams: six receptions, 70 yards

Jared Goff, QB, Lions: 22-of-36, 268 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

D'Andre Swift, RB, Lions: 13 carries, 48 yards; eight receptions, 96 yards, one touchdown


Stafford Provides Familiar Sight to Old Team

In 12 years with the Lions, Stafford helped engineer 31 fourth-quarter comebacks, leading the league in that category in 2014 and 2016. It was only fitting the 33-year-old had to guide the Rams to victory after they trailed in the final frame.

Cooper Kupp, meanwhile, remains on pace to have the biggest season of his NFL career. He and Stafford wasted little time before forming a potent duo through the air.

FanDuel @FanDuel

Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp <a href="https://t.co/aBwovqEypo">pic.twitter.com/aBwovqEypo</a>

TurfShowTimes @TurfShowTimes

Rams 1999 thru 7g<br>Warner-147/208, 1,859, 21 TD, 3 INT<br>Bruce- 38 rec, 591, 9 TD<br>Holt- 19, 287, 2<br><br>Rams 2021<br>Stafford-156/223, 1,997, 18 TD, 4 INT<br>Kupp-53 rec, 731, 8 TD<br>Woods- 33, 397, 3 TD

Los Angeles' first two drives of the second half ended in a punt and a turnover on downs. After the Lions retook the lead, the Rams needed a big play to energize the home crowd, and Kupp delivered with a 59-yard reception to end the third quarter.

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

.<a href="https://twitter.com/CooperKupp?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CooperKupp</a> with the deep ball to end the third πŸ’ͺ <br><br>πŸ“Ί <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLonFOX?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLonFOX</a> <a href="https://t.co/9X2COCKHSZ">pic.twitter.com/9X2COCKHSZ</a>

Although Goff didn't perform that badly against his old team, his costly turnover was a reminder of why the Rams ate a lot of money in order to move him elsewhere.

JAKE ELLENBOGEN @JKBOGEN

That interception from Jared Goff felt like last the past where the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rams?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rams</a> would be driving for a comeback and it would end with an interception.

Even though Stafford has yet to win a playoff game, you'd trust him more than Goff to come through in crucial situations.


Campbell Goes for Broke

When your team dropped its first six games, a head coach sometimes has to resort to desperate measures. That's what Dan Campbell did immediately after D'Andre Swift's 63-yard touchdown reception on the game's opening drive.

The Lions went for and recovered an onside kick, which set up a 37-yard field goal by Austin Seibert to give Detroit an early 10-0 lead. The possession included a successful fake punt as well.

NFL @NFL

FAKE PUNT! The <a href="https://twitter.com/Lions?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lions</a> have a few tricks up their sleeve…. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OnePride?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OnePride</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DETvsLAR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DETvsLAR</a> on FOX<br>πŸ“±: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/UZOrWyGa9v">pic.twitter.com/UZOrWyGa9v</a>

Everybody had fun with Campbell's introductory press conference, but the 45-year-old is a man of his word in terms of making life difficult for his opponents. And the kind of gambles he took Sunday are what can help win over a locker room.

Ryan Clark @Realrclark25

Hell yea!! Have your guys back Dan Campbell. This is what you gotta do man. You don’t have a thing to lose. So why the hell not? Make this an ugly fight with dirty boxing and ground and pound. Love it.

Mina Kimes @minakimes

not trying to be dramatic but I would run through a brick wall for Dan Campbell right now

The harsh reality is that the Lions probably aren't going anywhere with Goff as their starting quarterback, though. There are only so many trick plays to compensate for a quarterback who's arguably middling at best.


What's Next?

The Lions head home to host the Philadelphia Eagles on Halloween at 1 p.m. ET, and the Rams will kick things off in the same time slot against the Houston Texans on the road.

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