DETROIT, Mich. (FootballStL) -- Jeff Fisher put it pretty succinctly after Sunday's 27-23 loss in Detroit.
"This game is all about making plays. You make plays at the end, you win. They made them. We didn't. We lost."
Pretty simple, huh? After 3 and a half quarters where the Rams defense was forcing the Lions into an obscene amount of mistakes - not just the 3 interceptions by quarterback Matthew Stafford but also other crucial stops - this game was there for the taking at the end.
The Rams offense was doing an phenomenal job of killing the clock down to the 2 minute warning and setting up a field goal for rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein. But when they needed a play the most, they didn't come up with one. It was 3rd down and 9 at Detroit's 28 yard line with 2:03 to go in the game. The Lions had just 1 timeout left.
If the Rams convert? They win. Detroit wouldn't have been able to stop the Rams from running the clock down to a few seconds to kick a field goal as time expired.
Well, out of the shotgun Sam Bradford couldn't connect with Danny Amendola. After Zuerlein's field goal, that gave the ball back to Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the Lions.
And what did they do? They made plays. In about a minute and 45 seconds the Lions offense covered 80 yards in 9 plays. Touchdown. Game over.
"They made some adjustments and they made some plays there in the 2nd half" CB Cortland Finnegan said. "They're a good football team. We just didn't make the play there at the end."
The Rams said they were in no way looking at this as a moral victory. They know full well they had many chances to put this game away and some went so far as to say they should have won it.
But they didn't. So tack on yet another loss in this brutal 5+ year stretch.
Now, this isn't the same old Rams. Not by a long shot. While the players don't want to look at this as a positive for simply competing with a playoff caliber team...it is worth noting previous squads in St. Louis wouldn't have made it this close.
Previous squads wouldn't have picked Matthew Stafford off 3 times in the 1st half...returning one of them for a touchdown.
Finnegan says that "was just a lot of film study. Credit the coaches for giving us a great game plan and we just executed."
Chris Long says he allows himself about 24 hours to be upset about a loss like this before he gets over it and turns his attention to the next week. He says the Rams will absolutely be a better football team because of what happened here in Detroit. He says they'll learn to find a way to take that next step to making the big play at the end and winning.
The Rams seem better. But they're there quite yet.