Week 4 Game Recap: Detroit Lions 34, St. Louis Rams 41
What you need to know
The Lions’ offense under Mike Martz has been slowly improving. After only scoring 13 points in their first two games, the 34 points they scored in this game was the most by a Lions’ team since September 7, 2003. The 75 combined points by both teams was the most scored in an NFL game this year, as the lead changed hands six times before the Rams took the lead for good.
Jon Kitna started out by fumbling a hand off on Detroit’s second play, which resulted in a St. Louis field goal, and an interception later in the first quarter led to a touchdown. He rallied his team back, however, to take the lead by halftime. He threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns on the day and spread the ball around to seven different receivers. Kitna provided steady leadership and never seemed to get rattled.
Roy Williams caught nine passes for 139 yards, and Mike Furrey has emerged as a reliable complimentary receiver. He chipped in with eight receptions, 82 yards, and caught both of Kitna’s TD passes.
Kevin Jones had a productive afternoon, running for 93 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns. His 35 yard TD run on a third and inches play put the Lions ahead in the third quarter. He scored again on a seven yard draw in the fourth quarter as the teams traded leads.
Eddie Drummond averaged 35 yards on his six kickoff returns, including a long of 65 yards, and gave the Lions good field position throughout the game.
Detroit nearly tied the game as time ran out. A pass interference penalty initially gave Detroit the ball on the Rams’ one yard line with :16 left, but the referees talked it over and ruled that the ball had been tipped before contact. It was the right call. On the Lions’ last play of the game, Roy Williams caught a pass just over the end line in the end zone.
The Rams exploded for 41 points and four touchdowns, after only scoring two TDs in their first three games. Bulger displayed pinpoint accuracy as he delivered strikes to seven different receivers in helping St. Louis improve their record to 3–1. He completed 26 of 42 for 328 yards and three touchdowns, by far his best performance of the season. He still has not thrown an interception.
In an attempt to open up the offense, St. Louis went with some three and four wide outs, besides their basic two receiver sets.
Torry Holt caught six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and runs as smooth as ever. He is still the guy Bulger seemed to look for when the Rams need a big play. Trailing at half time, St. Louis drove to the Detroit 16 yard line on their first drive of the third quarter. On second down and ten, Bulger found Holt in the back of the end zone for the go ahead score.
Isaac Bruce added seven catches for 100 yards and one touchdown. His second catch of the game put him into seventh place all time with 828 pass receptions, ahead of Larry Centers.
Steven Jackson again ran hard and gained 81 yards on 22 carries and scored one touchdown. He also caught six passes for 65 yards and has become more involved in the passing attack.
Left tackle Orlando Pace was inactive in this game. He is recovering from a concussion.
What you ought to know
|QB Jon Kitna, Pass: 29 - 43 - 280 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0|
Kitna’s two turnovers in the first quarter lead directly to ten points and put Detroit in an early hole. Still, he was able to rally the Lions back to take the lead at halftime and finished the game with 280 yards passing and two touchdowns. He got Detroit in position to tie the game and force overtime when an interference penalty put the ball on the Rams’ one yard line with :16 left. The referees then overruled the play and called it an incomplete pass, and Kitna’s 37 yard fourth down pass to Roy Williams was completed but just a yard out of the end zone.
|RB Kevin Jones, Rush: 19 - 93 - 2, Rec: 5 - 4 - 0 (6 targets)|
His 35 yard touchdown run on third and inches in the third quarter put the Lions back into the lead. He added another touchdown in the fourth quarter on a seven yard draw play. Detroit may have lost the game, but it wasn’t for his lack of effort. He is their number one running back and a key part of the emerging Lions’ passing attack.
|RB Shawn Bryson, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 2 - 30 - 0 (2 targets)|
Bryson is a Martz favorite because of his pass catching ability, but saw limited action in this game. He only carried once for no gain, and added two catches for 30 yards.
He did not catch the one pass thrown to him, and didn’t have a carry, but he opened holes all afternoon for Kevin Jones and contributed on special teams.
He was targeted at least three times in every quarter and his 139 yards led all receivers on the day. He was held out of the end zone, however, but he is still the go to guy. The fact that he was double and triple teamed helped open up passing lanes for other receivers.
Furrey seems to be a receiver no one can cover. He’s quick, runs laser routes, and the ball seems to stick to his hands. He had to lay out for his second quarter touchdown, and he doesn’t mind making the tough catch over the middle.
Hakim played in the second half and caught three passes for 21 yards.
Williams was on the active player list but did not play in this game.
Campbell caught one pass for two yards.
Pollard caught one pass for two yards.
Fitzsimmons did not catch the one target thrown to him.
Hanson hit field goals from 20 and 29 yards, and made all four extra points.
The Lions have proven so far to be effective run stoppers under Rod Marinelli, former defensive line coach, holding opposing runners to under three yards a carry. Steven Jackson, however, averaged 3.7 yards with a long run of 27 and also scored a touchdown. As a team, the Rams rushed for 106 yards on the day.
Opposing quarterbacks have torched Detroit the last two weeks, and the Rams weren’t about to go against the trend. Bulger threw for 328 yards with touchdown passes to three different receivers. Dre Bly tipped away four passes, but Jamar Fletcher had a long afternoon.
|QB Marc Bulger, Pass: 26 - 42 - 328 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Bulger had his most productive game of the season, throwing for 328 yards and three touchdowns. He seemed to be on the same page with both Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce for the first time this year, and they looked more like the full throttle Rams’ offense from years gone by.
Jackson gained 81 yards on 22 carries and scored one touchdown. He also caught six passes for 65 yards, and has become a terror on screen passes. Running behind a banged up offensive line, with Orlando Pace missing another game and veteran center Andy McCollum out for the year, Jackson still managed to find the holes in a tough Detroit run defense.
Davis entered the game in the second half, carrying on three straight plays in the fourth quarter with the Rams trailing 34–33 and driving for the go ahead touchdown.
He caught both passes thrown to him, but Fisher did not have a carry.
Bruce caught seven passes for 100 yards and one touchdown. His second catch of the game moved him into seventh place all time with 828 pass receptions, ahead of Larry Centers.
Holt caught six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He shows no signs of slowing down, and is one of the most consistent pass receivers in the NFL today.
Curtis caught two passes in the first half for a total of 25 yards.
In the first quarter, Looker was targeted but did not make the catch.
In the fourth quarter, McDonald was targeted but could not make the catch.
The big rookie from Colorado caught Bulger’s first touchdown pass of the game, the first of his career, and ended the day with two catches for 23 yards.
He caught a short pass for one yard.
Wilkins, the Rams' most potent offensive weapon coming into this game, added field goals of 42, 19, 46, and 47 yards. He also missed from 47 yards, but was perfect on all three extra points.
The Rams had a tough time containing Kevin Jones. He gained 93 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a run in the third quarter on third and inches. He burst through the Rams’ line and dashed 35 yards for the go ahead score on the play, and added a second touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Jon Kitna threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, but the Rams managed to pick off two of his passes and recover a fumble.