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Game Recap: Rams fall to Lions 24-23 in Detroit in Wild Card Round of playoffs

DETROIT – The matchup certainly lived up to the hype, and as the game unfolded, it became apparent the team that possessed the ball last was going to come away with the victory.

That team was the Lions.

The Rams saw their season end with a narrow 24-23 loss to the Lions on Sunday night at Ford Field.

Trailing 24-23 with 7:18 left in the fourth quarter, the Rams got the ball back after a stop by their defense, but faced a steep drive starting from their own 9-yard line. They reached the Lions' 34 and were seemingly in position for a long field goal attempt by kicker Brett Maher, but a holding penalty against them that the Lions accepted turned into a 3rd-and-14 from the Lions 44. Quarterback Matthew Stafford's subsequent incompletion forced the Rams to punt with 4:07 remaining.

Left with one timeout after having to burn two of them by the early part of the fourth quarter, though, time was not on the Rams' side. At the 2-minute warning, the Lions faced 2nd and 9 from their own 32, but on the other side of it, Lions quarterback Jared Goff fired an 11-yard completion to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown for the first down. The Rams burned their last timeout, but it wouldn't matter, as the Lions took a knee to drain the remaining 1:54 to secure the victory.

Stafford authored an impressive performance in the loss, completing 25 of 36 pass attempts for 367 yards and two touchdowns; his 367 passing yards were the second-most in a single playoff game in his career. Wide receiver Puka Nacua finished with nine catches for 181 yards and one touchdown; his 181 receiving yards set an NFL rookie playoff record.

Here is the complete game recap, presented by Toyota:

The Lions took an early 7-0 lead on a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by running back David Montgomery. The series erased 5 and a half minutes off the clock.

The Rams answered by marching to the Lions' 6-yard line, but were forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal attempt by Maher to cut their deficit to four with 4:26 left in the first quarter.

While Los Angeles' second offensive series got off to a difficult start, it ended with a spectacular 50-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline from Stafford to Nacua to once again make it just a four-point deficit for L.A. early in the second quarter. But Detroit again had an answer, this time a 2-yard touchdown pass from Goff to LaPorta to extend its lead to 21-10 midway through the second quarter.

Helped by a conversion on 4th and 5 from the Lions' 44, the Rams again cut their deficit to four, this time via a 38-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to wide receiver Tutu Atwell with 4:02 left in first half.

A false start penalty against the Lions – as they were attempting to go for it on 4th and 5 from the Rams' 41 – forced them to punt. However, an illegal blindside block penalty against the Rams' punt return unit forced their offense to start from their own 5-yard line. The Rams got enough yardage to avoid that being an issue and to also drain the remaining minute of the first half.

Kicker Michael Badgley's 54-yard field goal midway through the third quarter extended the Lions' lead to 24-17. Detroit had to settle for it thanks to a key sack for a 6-yard loss on 2nd and 15.

The Rams answered with a field goal of their own, 27 yards from Maher, to again trim their deficit to four late in the third quarter.

A 29-yard field goal by Maher cut the Rams' deficit to one with 8:13 to go in the fourth quarter. But because they only had one timeout and needed stops, the Rams were in a disadvantageous position and left with too big of a hill to climb to get the win.

The Los Angeles Rams take on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in the Wild Card round of the 2023 season. Take a look at photos from the matchup!

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