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Matthew Stafford Can Only Be Stopped So Many Times, Apparently

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.