What we learned from the Rams’ 31-28 loss to the Detroit Lions
What we learned in the Rams’ 31-28 defeat by the Detroit Lions:
Case Keenum is struggling to come through late in the fourth quarter
Keenum played extremely well at times and broke a team record for consecutive passes completed.
But he had a chance to drive the Rams into field-goal range to tie the score or to the end zone to win it, and his pass was intercepted with just over a minute left.
The previous week against Buffalo, the Rams trailed by four with about five minutes left. The Rams went three and out on an incomplete pass and then tried an ill-fated fake punt that led to a touchdown and an 11-point lead.
The Rams’ next possession ended with an interception.
Kenny Britt remains on pace for a career season
Britt caught a career-best 48 passes for 748 yards in 2014, his first season with the Rams after five with the Tennessee Titans.
He already has 30 catches for 492 yards and two touchdowns.
Britt was targeted eight times against the Lions, and he made seven catches for 136 yards, including one for 43 yards and another for 47.
The defense misses Robert Quinn … a lot
Quinn, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, was a one-man wrecking crew in victories over Seattle, Tampa Bay and Arizona before suffering a shoulder injury that has sidelined him the last two games.
Without Quinn coming off the edge, Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford flourished.
Getting Michael Brockers and William Hayes back for the game against the Lions was good for the Rams but they need Quinn.
The offensive line still needs work
The line opened holes for Todd Gurley early in the game and helped him get off to a decent start.
But it did not get enough push on a critical fourth-down play near the goal line at the end of the first half and Gurley was stuffed.
Keenum was sacked once.
The Rams do not have the worst-ranked offense
Coach Jeff Fisher did not enjoy continually hearing that the Rams were ranked last in the NFL in offense.
Now he won’t have to.
The Rams generated 387 yards and improved from 32nd to 31st, with a 301.3-yard-per-game average.
The Rams rank 28th in passing at 220.5 yards a game, and 28th in rushing at 80.8.
Tight end Lance Kendricks can find the end zone
Kendricks scored his first touchdown of the season on a 15-yard pass from Keenum that tied the score, 21-21, in the third quarter.
Kendricks, a sixth-year pro, caught five passes. He is third on the team with 18 receptions for 186 yards.
Kendricks caught a career-best 42 passes for 519 yards in 2012.
On Sunday, he was the intended receiver on the interception that sealed the victory for the Lions.
The secondary needs to step up
Losing franchise cornerback Trumaine Johnson because of an ankle injury suffered during a Week 5 loss was a blow, so E.J. Gaines and Troy Hill need to raise their games.
Lions quarterback Matt Stafford picked on both cornerbacks for touchdown passes.
Hill made eight tackles, Gaines five. Neither broke up a pass.
The Rams beat Seattle, Tampa Bay and Arizona by creating turnovers, including interceptions. Pressure on the passer from the front seven helped create them but defensive backs need to do their part.
The Rams have no interceptions in the last two games.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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