Matthew Stafford and the Rams come storming back

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In a contest billed as the “Jared Goff Revenge Game,” Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions pulled out all the stops early. They scored a touchdown on the game’s opening possession, with the former Los Angeles Rams passer connecting with De’Andre Swift for a 63-yard touchdown. The Lions then converted a surprise onside kick on the kickoff, turning the extra possession into a field goal. They then converted a fake punt on their next possession, again finishing with three points to build a ten-point lead.

Perhaps they did all of this knowing full well what the quarterback on the opposing sideline was capable of doing himself.

Because after building that lead, the Lions now find themselves trailing the Rams by four near the end of the first half. Stafford and the Rams put together a pair of touchdown drives, with the former Lions quarterback throwing for both scores. The first came with Stafford connecting with Van Jefferson on a vertical route down in the red zone:

Stafford spots the Lions with man coverage on Jefferson, with the nearest safety aligned on the hashmark. After flashing his eyes to that safety to freeze him for a second, the QB drops the throw into a perfect spot, allowing Jefferson to go up and get the football for the score.

The second touchdown came with Cooper Kupp on the receiving end, as Sean McVay called for the shield slant down near the goal line:

As you can see from the replay, the Rams use a stack-slot here with Kupp just behind Jefferson. Jefferson releases on the slant route first off the line, creating space for Kupp to work in behind. Stafford hits him between the 1 and the 0 on his jersey, and Kupp barrels into the end zone for six.

Of course, that drive also gave us our weekly “absurd arm angle throw” from Stafford:

So while Campbell and the Lions pulled out the tricks early, it seems that Stafford and the Rams are doing just what Detroit feared: Throwing themselves not just back into the game, but into a lead.

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