Yuck: Rams beat Lions in battle of bad teams

Sunday, November 1, 2009 | 8:44 p.m. CST
St. Louis Rams place kicker Josh Brown (3) celebrates after throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Fells (46) on a fake field goal against the Detroit Lions on Sunday in Detroit. Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril, injured on the play, lies in the foreground.

DETROIT — The St. Louis Rams beat the Detroit Lions in each phase to snap their 17-game losing streak.

Offense. Defense. Special teams. Coaching.

Steven Jackson's 25-yard touchdown run with 1:38 left lifted the Rams to a 17-10 win Sunday over Detroit.

"As a rookie I said, 'That was an ugly win,' and I got chewed out," Jackson said. "I understand in the National Football League, there's no such thing as an ugly win."

The Rams (1-7) avoided matching their worst start in franchise history and ended talk about joining Detroit as the only teams in NFL history to have 0-16 seasons.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo earned his first victory at any level.

"It's special and I know I'll remember it for a long time," he said.

Fellow rookie head coach, Jim Schwartz, won't be able to forget it.

The Lions (1-6) spent their bye week analyzing their season, searching for ways to fix their many problems.

They overlooked one tendency and it haunted them on a trick play when St. Louis lined up to kick a long field goal late in the first half.

Holder Donnie Jones took the snap, flipped it to kicker Josh Brown, who threw a short pass to a wide-open Daniel Fells for a 36-yard TD pass that gave the Rams a 10-2 lead.

Brown wasn't surprised how bad the Lions bit on it because they had two players on his left set up to push the pile.

"We had watched tape and they came every single time when they were set up that way," Brown said. "It was ours for the taking."

Schwartz said the Lions were too aggressive, but they knew Brown was within his range.

"We expected them to kick," he said. "If we force a miss, we've got good field position to do something of our own."

Detroit scored its only points on offense early in the fourth quarter when Matthew Stafford had a 4-yard run and 2-point conversion pass to tie the game. The Lions were credited with a safety when James Butler intercepted a pass in the end zone, returned it past the goal line then went back and was tackled.

"Don't ask about that dumb play," Butler said. "I knew it wasn't going to hurt us. I just knew we were going to win because I have faith."

St. Louis hadn't won since beating Dallas on Oct. 19, 2008.

"I haven't forgotten how it feels, it's just been a long time," Jackson said.

Detroit had the league's first 0-16 season last season and St. Louis won just two games in 2008.

The Lions have won just two of their past 31 games dating to the midway point of 2007. The last team to have two victories in a 31-game stretch was the Houston Oilers during the 1982-84 seasons, according to STATS.

Since 2001, the Lions are 32-103 and their .237 winning percentage is the lowest by an NFL team during a nine-season span since World War II.

After Detroit ended its 19-game skid with a Week 3 win over Washington, center Dominic Raiola blew kisses to the crowd at Ford Field.

During the Lions' latest loss, Raiola was screaming back at fans taunting Matthew Stafford.

"I understand their frustration, I've been here 8½ years, and I know what they've been through," Raiola said. "But if you say something to one of my teammates, I'm going to stand up for him. This isn't all on him."

Stafford played after missing two games with an injured right knee and getting an extra week to rest during Detroit's bye. The No. 1 pick in the draft didn't have much to work with, missing standout receiver Calvin Johnson (right knee) and having teammates drop several passes. It took three-plus quarters for a wide receiver to catch a pass and Bryant Johnson's drought-ending reception set up Stafford's game-tying run.

Stafford was 14 of 33 for 168 yards with an interception.

As expected, the lowly teams showed how bad they are with an assortment of mental and physical mistakes.

Jackson, though, ran for a season-high 149 yards on 22 carries and his go-ahead TD was St. Louis' first rushing score of the season.

"It couldn't happen to a better guy," Fells said. "Steven is the rock of this team. We all look up to him."


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