Lions rough up Rams 44-6 for first win of seasonBy NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer Monday, Oct 11, 2010
DETROIT (AP)—For nearly three years, the Detroit Lions were pro football’s punch line. You could count their wins on one hand with fingers to spare.
So when Detroit not only beat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, but routed them 44-6, the Lions reacted with a mixture of satisfaction and relief.
“It was a long time coming,” said center Dominic Raiola(notes), who was drafted by the team in 2001. “We know what we’re capable of. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s just one win, but it’s sweet.”
Shaun Hill(notes) threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns, and Detroit dominated the Rams in all phases. Stefan Logan(notes) scored on a 105-yard kickoff return in the second quarter to give the Lions the lead for good, and the defense intercepted Sam Bradford(notes) twice.
The stunning blowout helped Detroit—yes, the Lions—become the NFC’s highest-scoring team with 126 points on the season.
The last time the franchise enjoyed a game like this was in 2007, when Detroit beat Denver 44-7 to improve to 6-2. The Lions promptly lost seven of their last eight games that season and then went 0-16 in 2008. They entered Sunday’s game with three victories in their previous 44.
From the very start, however, there were signs this one would be different. St. Louis (2-3) started the first quarter with an onside kick that the Lions recovered, and Detroit (1-4) took advantage of the great field position by kicking an early field goal.
“We felt we had something there, and it was a good, aggressive way to start the game on the road,” Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I still think the risk-reward ratio was in our favor, but it didn’t work.”
The Rams’ next kickoff went even worse. Logan caught it 5 yards deep in his end zone and ran it back all the way to tie a team record for longest touchdown, giving the Lions a 10-3 lead.
“You can see on the film that so many times we’re one block away,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. “We just need to do a good job of getting all 11 guys moving in the same direction, with not one person breaking down.”
Hill threw touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson(notes) and Brandon Pettigrew(notes) to give the Lions a 24-6 halftime lead, and Nate Burleson(notes) caught a 26-yard scoring pass early in the third quarter. Burleson, who returned after missing two games with an ankle injury, was penalized when he celebrated by punting the ball into the crowd.
“He’s been cooped up for a while,” Schwartz said.
For once, the Lions could afford an occasional foolish penalty.
The Rams were actually a game worse than Detroit last season, going 1-15 before taking Bradford with the first pick in this year’s draft. St. Louis had won two in a row before Sunday’s reality check.
“There are teams that went to Super Bowls that during the season had one of those days,” Spagnuolo said. “I’m hoping that it’s the one and it’s done and we move on.”
Bradford went 23 of 45 for 215 yards and had an interception run back for a touchdown in the fourth quarter by Alphonso Smith(notes). St. Louis lost receiver Mark Clayton(notes) in the first quarter with an injured right knee, and the Rams are concerned it could be serious.
“We’ll have to look at the roster, but if he’s done completely, we’ll certainly have to get somebody in there,” Spagnuolo said.
Detroit plays the Giants in New Jersey next weekend, hoping to snap a 23-game road losing streak.