Rams clinch NFC West with 30-16 win over Detroit

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - LARRY LAGE

DETROIT — Todd Gur­ley ran for 132 yards and two touch­downs to help the Los An­ge­les Rams over­come a sput­ter­ing start to beat the Detroit Lions, 30-16, in Na­tional Foot­ball League ac­tion Sun­day and clinch the NFC West ti­tle for a sec­ond straight season.

The Rams (11-1) also moved a step closer to earn­ing home-field ad­van­tage in the NFC play­offs, tak­ing a one-game lead over New Or­leans af­ter it lost to Dal­las on Thurs­day night. It is a cush­ion Los An­ge­les needs be­cause its only loss was against the Saints last month.

The Lions (4-8) have lost five of six since a surge of suc­cess gave them a win­ning record in late Oc­to­ber.

Detroit’s de­fence held Los An­ge­les’s high-pow­ered of­fence in check for three quar­ters, giv­ing the slump­ing team a shot to po­ten­tially pull off a stun­ning up­set.

The Lions, though, failed to make the most of the op­por­tu­nity be­cause their of­fence strug­gled to move the ball and score.

Aaron Don­ald helped seal the win by forc­ing Matthew Stafford to fum­ble mid­way through the fourth quar­ter. The star de­fen­sive tackle had two strip-sacks in his last game on Nov. 19, a 54-51 win over Kansas City.

Line­backer Sam­son Ebukam re­cov­ered Stafford’s fum­ble at the Detroit 24 and Gur­ley scored on a 13-yard run three snaps later, giv­ing the Rams a 23-13 lead.

Jared Goff, per­haps rusty com­ing off a bye week, was off the mark on many passes and lost a fum­ble to help keep the game close. His lack­lus­tre per­for­mance led to Los An­ge­les set­tling for Greg Zuer­lein kick­ing three field goals. Goff was 17 of 33 for 207 yards with a tiebreak­ing eight-yard touch­down pass to Robert Woods late in the sec­ond quar­ter. Goff also threw an in­ter­cep­tion on an over­thrown pass in the sec­ond quar­ter and lost a fum­ble in the third pe­riod.

The Rams were able to lean on Gur­ley, who has a sin­gle-season fran­chise record with 15 rush­ing touch­downs. The stand­out run­ning back also caught three passes for 33 yards.

Stafford was 20 of 33 yards for 245 yards with an 11-yard touch­down pass to tackle Tay­lor Decker, who faked the Rams out by block­ing for a mo­ment be­fore re­leas­ing into the flat, where he was wide open.


Los An­ge­les Rams run­ning back Todd Gur­ley (30) pushes Lions cor­ner­back Dar­ius Slay dur­ing the first half Sun­day in Detroit. Gur­ley rushed for 132 yards and two touch­downs for the now 11-1 Rams.

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