The St. Louis Rams did their best covering Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions' offense on Sunday, intercepting him three times and holding him to an inefficient 200-yards-or-so in the first three quarters, but their new secondary and young defensive line could only hold a great offense down for so long: In the fourth quarter the Detroit Lions finally flashed their 2011 form, and Stafford finished 32-for-48 with 355 yards, three interceptions, and one crucial touchdown.
Despite the gaudy numbers and the final loss, this game has to be considered a minor success for the Rams' defense, which went into the 2012 season a vaguely exciting question mark. They won the turnover competition, they held Calvin Johnson in check for most of the afternoon, and they gave the Rams' offense a chance to win it that they just couldn't quite pull off.
Which is cold comfort, probably, to a fanbase that's tired of moral victories. But Matthew Stafford threw for 5000 yards last year—and did not average three touchdowns a week. Ultimately it can't get any worse than a loss—but this loss could have been significantly worse than it was.