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Breaking Down What Went Wrong In The Lions 44-20 Loss In Baltimore.
Baltimore started the game with possession of the football, but had to punt after gaining only a couple of first downs. The same could be said for Detroit’s ensuing possession.
On the next Ravens drive, they were able to get into field goal range and kicker Justin Tucker gave Baltimore a three point advantage with a 38 yard field goal.
Score: 3-0, Baltimore Leads
Everything went wrong for Detroit in the second quarter. Detroit got in field goal range at the very beginning of the quarter, but pro bowl kicker Matt Prater severely missed a 43 yard attempt.
Baltimore quickly answered with a 66 yard pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide Receiver Mike Wallace. On the next play, Baltimore scored on a one yard touchdown reception from tight end Benjamin Watson.
Matthew Stafford turned the ball over on the next Detroit drive, when he was strip sacked by Ravens safety Eric Weddle. Baltimore recovered the fumble and advanced down the field, scoring on a three yard touchdown pass to fullback Patrick Ricard.
On the Ravens last drive before the half, they got into field goal range, and Tucker made a 46 yard field goal as time expired.
Score: 20-0, Baltimore Leads
The Lions came out hot to start the second half, mounting a seven play, 75 yard touchdown drive that ended with a 4 yard run from running back Theo Riddick.
Later in the quarter, Detroit pulled even closer to Baltimore’s lead with another seven play, 75 yard scoring drive, this one resulting in a six yard touchdown run for rookie running back Tion Green. However, Matt Prater missed the extra point, keeping it a seven point game.
Score: 20-13, Baltimore Leads
Much like the second quarter, everything fell apart for the Lions in the fourth quarter. Baltimore scored very early into the final quarter of this game on a seven yard touchdown by running back Alex Collins.
The Lions responded with a 46 yard pass from Matthew Stafford to receiver Marvin Jones, then a one yard Stafford touchdown to fullback/linebacker Nick Bellore to make this a seven point game again.
Then the wheels feel off. Baltimore scored a 51 yard field goal on their next possession. Trying to answer with a score in desperation, Matthew Stafford threw an interception to rookie Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Alex Collins scored his second touchdown of the game shortly thereafter with a six yard rush.
Backup quarterback Jake Rudock came into the game in relief of Matthew Stafford on the next Lions possession, and promptly threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Eric Weddle. After that, both teams were content to let the clock run out.
Final Score: Baltimore Wins 44-20
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The Lions out-gained the Ravens 372 yard to 370 yards
Detroit actually had more yards than Baltimore in this one. The story of this game is missed opportunities for the Lions. Whether it was receiver Kenny Golladay dropping a deep pass on the opening drive, Prater missing two kicks, or the turnovers, Detroit simply left way too many points on the field Sunday.
Joe Flacco threw for a season high 269 yards
The Lions pass defense was abysmal at all levels. The defensive line couldn’t get pressure, the linebackers let running backs and tight ends get open with ease, and the secondary routinely got burned by Baltimore’s receivers.
Matthew Stafford was sacked three times
Pass protection was again an issue. Matthew Stafford was sacked three times and hit numerous other times. Late in the game, he injured his hand when he was hit by two Ravens defenders.
The Lions defense sacked Flacco 0 times
Joe Flacco had an opposite experience from Matthew Stafford. Flacco had forever to find open receivers and was rarely even hit by the Lions defensive front.
The Lions only had 78 rushing yards at 3.3 yards per carry
Almost every week I write about how the Lions offense couldn’t get anything going on the ground, and that was again the case last Sunday. The run blocking was mostly horrible all game.
The Lions turned the ball over 3 times and took it away 0 times
After winning the turnover battle all throughout the first half of the season, the script flipped and Detroit lost this battle big time on Sunday. Detroit’s quarterbacks combined for two interceptions and a lost fumble, while the Lions defense didn’t play aggressively in the least.
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Matthew Stafford was sharp
Despite the Lions offense being out of sync in the first half, Matthew Stafford was actually really sharp. He completed a franchise record 20 consecutive passes between the second and fourth quarters and finished with a stat line of 24/29 for 291 yards and touchdown with one interception.
Stafford particularly had success when targeting Marvin Jones deep. On this play, Stafford caught the Ravens with 12 men on the field, and got a free play. He just threw it up for Marvin Jones, and the ball placement was perfect. Jones was able to go up over the defender and come down with the ball for a big gain.
Here is another play where Stafford found Jones for a big gain. On this one, Stafford was under heavy pressure and just lobbed the ball up for grabs. Jones was interfered with, but was still able to come back to the ball, making a good catch on a well thrown deep ball.
Tion Green had a good debut
Rookie running back Tion Green made his NFL debut against the Ravens, and got off to a very good start. His first career carry went for a 33 yards, and he later scored a six yard rushing touchdown. He potentially created a role for himself in the Lions offense going forward.
This is Tion Green’s first carry. On the play, the offensive line actually did a really good job of blocking. Green also showed good patience here, as he waited for the blocks to develop. He then found the running lane and accelerated through it for a big gain.
On Green’s touchdown, he showed power running. He again did a good job of waiting for his blocking to develop, but this time he bounced off one of his own men but still managed to find his way into the end zone. These are the kind of runs that Detroit has been missing in the red zone all season.
The Lions defense was putrid
Coming into this game, Baltimore had the 31st offense in the NFL. They put up 34 offensive points and had their way with the Lions defense throughout this game. Whether the Ravens offense wanted to move the ball on the ground or through the air, they had little problem marching up and down the field all game long.
Glover Quin certainly did not play his best game on Sunday. Here, he is badly beaten on the deep ball by Ravens receiver Mike Wallace. Wallace ran a post route, and Quin allowed it to get right by. As a result, Wallace was wide open deep and caught the pass for a huge gain down to the one yard line. This play set up the first touchdown of the game.
This is later in the game, when Detroit had actually pulled to within seven points in the fourth quarter. This play really demonstrates horrible tackling and pursuit from the Detroit linebackers. Tahir Whitehead had a shot to bring down the ball carrier, Alex Collins, at the line of scrimmage, but stumbled and was unable to. Because the other linebackers had all taken poor angles on the play, Collins was able to get around the outside and into the endzone.
Detroit’s offensive line struggled heavily
The Lions offensive line continued to struggle on Sunday, allowing Stafford to be sacked three times and hit numerous others. They also struggled to open running lanes all day, as the Lions running backs were limited to just 3.3 yards per carry. This, combined with Baltimore’s creative blitz packages, made for a very rough game on Sunday.
The Lions special teams were off
Special teams is normally one of the strengths of the Lions, but that was no the case on Sunday. Matt Prater missed two kicks. Sam Martin had a few bad punts. Detroit only averaged 7 yards per punt return. All of these things are a recipe for disaster in the NFL, especially against a team with elite special teams like Baltimore.
Player Of The Game
Tion Green is this weeks player of the game. I probably could have said Matthew Stafford, but the rookie running back is deserving too. He looked as good as any Lions runner has all season, rushing for 51 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.
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Tion Green may or may not continue to get touches as the season progresses. I personally don’t see any reason not to give him more carries and see what we have with him.