Loss to Lions leaves Rams stunned and frustrated as they head to London

Week 6 of the 2016 NFL season kicked off with the San Diego Chargers defeating the Denver Broncos.

Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree sat just outside the shower room in full uniform, elbows on his knees, head buried in his bruised hands.

Receiver Kenny Britt planted himself stone still in front of his locker, red headphones on his ears, staring blankly at his belongings. Teammates throughout the locker room wore similarly stunned expressions.


This was a different scene than the aftermath of the previous week's Rams defeat. Not the typical this-is-the-NFL-and-we-move-on vibe.

The transatlantic flight to England that awaited Sunday night no longer had the makings of an airborne celebration.

Instead , the Rams' 31-28 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field had sentenced them to at least eight hours of regret and self-examination.

"I guess we've got a longer trip," Ogletree said, "trying to figure it out on the flight."

Regardless of their review, one thing will not have changed when the Rams land at Heathrow Airport: A team that was once 3-1 and in first place in the NFC West is now 3-3 after its second consecutive defeat against a non-division opponent.

"Any loss is tough," cornerback E.J. Gaines said, "but two in a row makes it even worse."

The Rams will play the New York Giants on Sunday outside London and try to put a complete game together for the first time.

This week, Coach Jeff Fisher bristled when asked about the Rams offense, which entered Sunday's game ranked last in the NFL.

"You can take the 32nd in the league and write all you want about it," he said, "but this offense is improving."

On Sunday, he appeared to be correct.

The defense, however, has taken a sudden  downturn.

It faltered in last week's 30-19 loss to Buffalo, but that was regarded as a byproduct of the absence of three starting defensive linemen.

Two returned Sunday, but while quarterback Case Keenum put together a record-setting performance, the defense could not stop Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and his receivers.

Stafford threw touchdown passes to four receivers and connected eight times with Golden Tate as the Lions improved to 3-3 with their second straight victory.


With Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson sidelined because of an ankle injury, Stafford went after Gaines and cornerback Troy Hill.

"It wasn't even anything we didn't expect," Hill said of the Lions' scheme. "We've just got to execute better."

Fisher said the defense's performance was "unacceptable" and players did not disagree.

"We just basically didn't man up," Ogletree said.

The Rams were not flat, defensive lineman William Hayes said, but "just played soft" all over the field.

"On every play," he said. "We just took turns messing up."

Keenum played nearly without error for much of  the game.

He completed a team-record 19 consecutive passes during one stretch — "He was on fire, man" receiver Brian Quick said — and finished with a career-best 321 yards passing and three touchdowns, two to Britt. Keenum also ran for a touchdown.

Running back Todd Gurley even found some room to run.

But Gurley and Keenum could not deliver in two key moments.

Gurley failed to score from a yard out on fourth down after Fisher decided to go for it on the final play of the first half  with the score 14-14, and the Rams due to receive the second-half kickoff.

"We score and then we come back out and get the ball again," tight end Lance Kendricks said, "that's a 14-point potential turnaround."

Or a 10-point turnaround if they had kicked the field goal.

The Rams went three and out with just over five minutes left, and Matt Prater kicked a field goal to give the Lions a 31-28 lead with 93 seconds to play.

Keenum completed a short pass to Quick, but safety Rafael Bush picked off Keenum's mid-range throw over the middle for Kendricks.

"We had the ball in our hands with a chance to go win the game and we didn't," Keenum said. "That's frustrating."

Now the Rams will try to end their skid overseas.

They will try to acclimate to another time change as they continue what will be a 10-day trip.

They cannot allow themselves to let the loss linger, Britt said.

"I guess on the plane the guys are going to put this one behind them," he said. "And when we land, it's straight to the Giants."