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St. Louis’ reshaped offensive line lost two starters during the game. Offensive tackle Rodger Saffold was carted off the field with a neck injury in the fourth quarter and center Scott Wells had a foot injury.

Fisher said Saffold was alert and had strength in his arms and legs.

“This is more of a precautionary deal,” Fisher said. “There’s a chance he’ll come home with us.”

Bradford was 17 of 25 for 198 yards with a TD, a 23-yard pass to Brandon Gibson early in the fourth quarter that put the Rams up 20-13.

“We gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game and win it at the end,” Fisher said. “I think we got better as a team.”

Early on, it looked like Stafford had taken a step back after throwing for 5,000-plus yards, 41 TDs and 16 interceptions last season to help Detroit end an 11-year postseason drought.

Rookie Janoris Jenkins jumped a route and intercepted Stafford’s pass on the goal line to end his first drive, Dunbar stepped in front of another attempt and picked it off. Finnegan took advantage of an ill-advised throw across the field and returned it for a TD in his Rams debut.

“We did a ton of film study on Stafford, and we knew what he likes to do,” Finnegan said. “Our coaches gave us a great game plan … We just needed to make one more play.”

Stafford, though, was the one who came up with the clutch plays to avoid an upset in the opener for both teams.

“It wasn’t like he was just having a bad day,” Schwartz said. “He had a couple of bad plays.

“You have to have a demeanor that allows you to come back from that.”

NOTES: Replacement official Paul Caldera left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. He was replaced by alternate Curtis — a replacement for the replacement. … Detroit WR Titus Young was called for unnecessary roughness after he head-butted Jenkins. “It was right in front of me the whole time,” Schwartz said. “It looked like he was going to walk away and do the right thing and then he made a dumb decision.” … Fisher hired Schwartz in 1999 to be on his staff at Tennessee and promoted him two years later to the Titans’ defensive coordinator, a job he had until Detroit gave him his first shot to be a head coach three years ago. … Lions rookie CB Bill Bentley left the game with a concussion. … St. Louis WR Danny Amendola had five catches for 70 yards.