It’s hard to believe, but the Rams actually fell victim to a “trap” game. The Lions were a team playing better that their 0-4 record suggested. The Lions were a dangerous team, one that was ready to explode. And the Rams’ response was to take the field, drench themselves with gasoline, and give the Lions a match.
Or, to put it in the terms of a native Detroiter, this is what happens when a tornado meets a volcano.
Prior to the game, our mantra was to ‘play a full 60.’ The Rams managed a lukewarm 15 before self-destructing. They kept shooting themselves in the foot, over and over, and put a few rounds in the ankle and knee for good measure. They beat themselves so thoroughly that it’s a wonder that the Lions had to show up at all. But they did, and gleefully, they took part in the beating.
The Rams were torched by a steady but unspectacular Shaun Hill; were helpless against Calvin Johnson; were swallowed up by a non-descript offensive line with two perennial underachievers (Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus) at tackle. They had no answer for young Jahvid Best, and were unmanned by old Julian Peterson. They lay down in front of Kyle Vandenbosch and Cliff Avril, and eventually gave way to Ndamukong Suh.
This is no time to be merciful, because top to bottom (with one notable exception), these Rams can and should have played harder, coached smarter, executed better, than they did. I’m not handing out any free passes, any injury excuses, or allowances for rookie growing pains, not after our expectations were raised, and not after a loss like this.
If the Rams were guilty of reading their own press all week long, and came into Detroit expecting to be given a win, let them read this. Nothing is given in the NFL, except for what you give away. That share of first place in the division? You gave it away. That +25 points differential that was the only positive mark in the NFC West? You gave it away. The optimism and goodwill you were building with fans, who’ve sold out all three home games for a one-win team? You gave it away.
The only good news to come from this is that there are eleven games left to earn it back.