Rams stuffed on pivotal play at the goal line

Rams stuffed on pivotal play at the goal line
Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) is stopped by the Detroit Lions defense at the goal line on fourth down at the end of the first half. (Duane Burleson / AP)

At the most inopportune time Sunday, the Rams stalled in Motor City.

They were stonewalled at the goal line on fourth down at the end of the first half, missing their chance to break a 14-14 tie before they headed to the locker room.


Seeing as they ultimately lost to Detroit by a field goal, 31-28, that blown opportunity loomed large in the end.

On fourth and goal from the one, Todd Gurley took a handoff up the middle and was stuffed for a loss of one. The Lions, in turn, had a huge emotional boost as they ran off the field, and the crowd at Ford Field roared its approval.

"They made a play, we didn't," said Rams Coach Jeff Fisher, adding that he didn't second-guess the decision not to kick a field goal. "I'd do that again. Inside the one-yard line, I mean, you need to knock that in. That's your philosophy.

"I told the offense earlier that if the ball was outside the three we'd take the points and kick it. But inside . . . they made the play. I haven't looked at the tape. We'll see what happened, but we should score."

That goal-line stand came a week after the Rams opted for a field goal from point-blank range when they needed a touchdown. They were trailing Buffalo, 23-16, and faced fourth and goal from the four with 5:55 remaining. The Rams opted for a 22-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein, their final points in a 30-19 home defeat.

For the most part, neither team had problems moving the ball Sunday. The Rams converted six of nine third downs; the Lions were six for 11, and were two for two on fourth down.

Detroit Coach Jim Caldwell indicated he would have made the same decision as Fisher in terms of going for the touchdown.

"I think that was probably the right call in that situation," he said. "You're right down there close, and you've got to take a shot."

It was Lions defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker who penetrated to wrap up Gurley, who had been relatively effective up to that point.

"That's big, man," Walker said. "We won by three and we took seven points off the board for them, so it was a big play for our defense and our team."

Said Rams guard Rodger Saffold: "It was a good job by the defense. Forced Todd to take it a little more vertical. I tried to push the defensive tackle down and it was almost like Todd and the defensive tackle intersected."

Gurley, meanwhile, was in no mood to relive the play.

"You already seen it for yourself," he said. "They made a good play, we didn't."