Special teams in need of special attention: Takeaways from Rams’ 28-19 win over Lions

Rams coach Sean McVay gives instructions from the sideline during their game against the Lions.
Rams coach Sean McVay must not have been thrilled with some of the special teams play he saw from the sideline.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams’ record improved to 6-1 overall with a 28-19 victory over the Detroit Lions at SoFi Stadium.

Here’s what we learned from the Rams’ victory:


Rams special teams are anything but that

Rams linebacker Tony Reeder tries to grab an onside kick before Lions safety C.J. Moore in the first quarter.
Rams linebacker Tony Reeder tries to grab an onside kick before Lions safety C.J. Moore in the first quarter.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

We all remember — special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said he would never forget — the botched snap by the Rams that hit the punt protector and resulted in a touchdown for the Indianapolis Colts, right?


This was three times as bad. An inexcusable trifecta.

After the Lions scored a touchdown on their first drive, the Ram failed to recover an onside kick. Then they were caught sleeping as the Lions converted a fake-punt pass play for a first down, which led to a field goal and a 10-0 lead before the Rams offense got on the field.

Rams coach Sean McVay had to deal with questions all week about playing against Jared Goff. Sunday’s win over Detroit gave him the opportunity to move on.

Oct. 24, 2021

The Rams went into the locker room at halftime and ostensibly talked about how to put those plays behind.

And then they went out and fell for another fake punt that resulted in a long run for a first down.


Jalen Ramsey is becoming the ultimate closer

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey runs after intercepting a pass by the Lions' Jared Goff in the end zone.
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey runs after intercepting a pass by the Lions’ Jared Goff in the end zone.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


Ramsey is the highest paid defensive back in NFL history, and he continues to demonstrate why with big hits all over the field and clutch plays at the biggest moments.

Ramsey sealed the Rams’ Week 2 victory at Indianapolis with an interception.

On Sunday, with Jared Goff threatening to blow the canopy off SoFi Stadium with a possible go-ahead touchdown, Ramsey made a play that perhaps only he could make.

Jared Goff led an aggressive Lions attack that had the Rams on the ropes early, but L.A. had too much talent for winless Detroit.

Oct. 24, 2021

He tracked a receiver, extended his 6-foot-1 frame and intercepted a pass on the run in the end zone. He returned it 23 yards to set up the clinching field goal.


Not a bad way to celebrate his 27th birthday.


Matthew Stafford can make every throw

The Rams' Matthew Stafford unloads a pass while getting  pressure from the Lions' Jaylen Reeves-Maybin
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, shown unloading a pass while getting defensive pressure from Lions linebacker Jaylen Reeves-Maybin, has demonstrated he can deliver throws many different ways.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Yes, we heard that from coaches and former players before the season.

Now we’re seeing it every week — even on incomplete passes.

Stafford’s 59-yard strike to Cooper Kupp was impressive, and his touchdown pass to Van Jefferson showed deft touch.

Breaking down the notable numbers behind the Rams’ 28-19 victory over the Lions at SoFi Stadium on Sunday — scoring and statistics.

Oct. 24, 2021

But the most balletic play came when he rolled to his left, turned his hips and threw a pass back across the field to the right, just missing Jefferson.


Stafford and Jefferson connected on a similar play for a touchdown in the season opener. Seeing it again, even without the same result, was gasp worthy.


Run defense needs some work

Lions running back D'Andre Swift breaks away for a long touchdown run against the Rams in the first quarter.
Lions running back D’Andre Swift weaved his way through the Rams defense for a 63-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Lions’ Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift combined to rush for 105 yards.

OK, not great for the Rams. Not horrible.

Check out some of the best images from the Los Angeles Rams’ 28-19 victory over Jared Goff and Detroit Lions at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.

Oct. 24, 2021

But there is a guy coming to L.A. in two weeks. He plays for the Tennessee Titans. His name is Derrick Henry.


He has rushed for at least 113 yards five times in seven games. He leads the NFL with 10 touchdowns.


The Rams corrected previous game’s mistakes

Rams receiver Van Jefferson jumps up for a pass against Lions defensive back Jerry Jacobs.
The Rams cut down on their penalties this week, but the Lions’ Jerry Jacobs was called for pass interference on this incomplete pass intended for Van Jefferson.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A week after they were penalized an uncharacteristic seven times for 50 yards against the New York Giants, the Rams were flagged only four times for 35 yards against the Lions.

The Rams went into the game ranked first in the NFL in fewest penalty yards.

That kind of discipline might not win games, but it can help prevent losses.