Onto Ford Field came the winless St. Louis Rams and when it was all said and done, the Rams were not winless anymore.
Before 40,857 fans — the gamewas blacked out locally because it did not sell out — the Lions (1-6) could not muster up enough defense and offense to overcome the Rams (1-6). The Lions’ ugly 17-10 loss to the less than stellar Rams on Sunday was a low point in a season of low points.
They wanted to make some kind of statement coming out of the bye week. They got some of their injured players back, including rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford and I, like many others, figured this was a winable game.
The statement the Lions made was one that said they still have a long way to go, baby. No one can be singled out as the reason for this loss; it was a complete team breakdown.
“In this league,” said linebacker Larry Foote, “any sports, when you lose like that, it sucks. It sticks, but nobody is coming to save us and we just have to keep fighting. It hurts your pride and everything, but you hope that you can come back and get that behind you, and keep fighting.”
Said defensive end Dewayne White: “Every week we go out and feel like we can win and compete, and anytime we come up short, especially towards the end of the game, it’s going to be disappointing. We are going to take that to heart because you play to win. We had two weeks that we were working and to come out and not pull away with a win is very disappointing and disheartening.”
For the Rams, former Detroit Renaissance High standout, Ron Bartell, who is probably the Rams’ best defensive back, said he was elated to be home and get a victory.
“We have a new coach, front office and players,” Bartell said. “So it has been tough for us getting it together, but getting our first win is a start for us. In this league it is so hard to get a win.
We approached this game against the Lions like any other game. We did not look at their record and make any assumptions.”
Bartell said he had to buy over 100 tickets for family and friends, noting “I did not know I had that many people in my family,” he said smiling.
A preseason scouting report noted that Bartell was one of the few bright spots for the Rams in 2008. It noted that he took a huge step forward and became the Rams’ best cornerback on the roster. As a result, the Rams rewarded him by resigning him to a four-year, $28 million contract. For the money, he is expected to line up across from the other team’s No. 1 wide receiver all season.
Bartell, 6-foot-1, 206 pounds, told me playing cornerback in the NFL is challenging: “I think other than playing quarterback, playing cornerback is the next toughest position on the field.
Especially the way the NFL is nowadays, leaning the rules more in the favor of the offense. It is already tough because of the speed of the receivers, the size of those guys and their athletic ability.”