How does another home playoff game at Ford Field sound?
With Green Bay beating No. 2 seed Dallas earlier on Sunday and Detroit handling their business with a 24-23 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, Detroit will host next week’s Divisional round matchup between the winner of Tampa Bay/Philadelphia next Sunday at 3 p.m. at Ford Field.
Detroit’s offense, led by quarterback Jared Goff, started the game on fire and iced it at the end. It’s a big reason why the Lions are moving on to the Divisional round of the playoffs for the first time since 1991.
Detroit scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the game – all on 75-yard drives – to build a 21-10 lead in the second quarter. Goff started 14-of-15 passing for 161 yards with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Sam LaPorta. David Montgomery (1 yard) and Jahmyr Gibbs (10) also found the end zone for Detroit.
Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Rams’ offense were just as hot to start, scoring on their first three possessions of the game as well on two Stafford touchdowns (50 & 38) and a Brett Maher 24-yard field goal.
Detroit led 21-17 at the half.
After the Lions’ defense forced the first Rams punt of the night on their first possession of the second half, Lions kicker Michael Badgley connected on a 54-yard field goal to up the Lions’ lead to 24-17. Maher countered with a 27-yarder to make it 24-20.
The Rams trimmed the lead to 24-23 midway through the fourth quarter on another Maher field goal, but Detroit’s defense came up huge late forcing a punt with four minutes remaining. Detroit’s offense ran out the last four minutes and seven seconds to secure the win. A first-down pass from Goff to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown iced it for Detroit.
QB Comparison: Goff finished the game 22-of-27 passing for 277 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 121.8 passer rating.
Stafford completed 25 of his 36 passes for 367 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 120.9 rating.
Big play: The Lions were holding on to a 24-23 lead with four minutes and 20 seconds left in the game with the Rams facing a 3rd & 14 at the Detroit 44-yard line. As they did often in the second half, Detroit’s defense stepped up as cornerback Cam Sutton knocked a pass away from Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua. It forced a Rams punt and LA never got the ball back.
Key stat: Detroit’s defense stepped up when they had to forcing three Rams field goals on drives that ended at the Detroit 6-yard line, 9-yard line and 11-yard line. The Rams netted 425 total yards, but Detroit stopped them in the red zone when they needed to most. The Rams were 0-3 in the red zone while the Lions finished 3-3.
Next week: vs. winner of Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, Sunday, Jan. 21, 3 p.m.