Detroit Looked To Keep Their Wildcard Playoff Hopes Alive Against Baltimore.
With the NFC North title hopes gone, the Lions focus on their wildcard hopes and it started with the Baltimore Ravens. Those hopes took a hit as the Lions struggled to take on another winning team and had issues all game against the Ravens. The offense was flat, the defense couldn’t make any stops, and even special teams were off their game. Detroit is going to need a lot of help if they want to make the playoffs now.
Matt Stafford didn’t look banged up after limping late in the game against Minnesota last week. He left the game with a hand injury that he suffered late. Stafford made a few mistakes, missing Golden Tate on an easy touchdown that turned into a fumble was the main one. He finished the day going 24/29 for 292 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Jake Rudock went 3/5 for 24 yards and an interception.
No Ameer Abdullah and Dwayne Washington meant Tion Green was active for the first time this year, and Theo Riddick got the start. Riddick had nine carries for 21 yards. Green led the team in yards though, getting 11 carries for 51 yards. Running the ball again, still couldn’t get the job done, as the team finished with 78 yards on the ground.
The leading receiver was Golden Tate with eight catches for 69 yards, but Marvin Jones was the best receiver yardage wise with four catches for 90 yards. Theo Riddick had five catches for 41 yards, and linebacker Nick Bellore had a catch for a one-yard touchdown.
Blocking wasn’t a good effort by the Lions today. Starting right tackle Rick Wagner left the game with a leg injury and starting right guard T.J. Lang suffered a foot injury. Stafford faced pressure many times against the stingy Ravens defense, getting sacked three times.
Creating pressure wasn’t on the Lions agenda today, even with Dwight Freeney making his debut. The Lions didn’t get a sack but did an average job in stopping the run, allowing 102 rushing yards. Ziggy Ansah led the group in tackles with five and struggled with his ankle injury.
Linebackers helped the defensive line out in stopping the run, but they struggled when it came to play-action passes. Rookie Jarrad Davis led the team in tackles with eight, while Tahir Whitehead was next in tackles with four, one for a loss.
Pass coverage for Detroit was off their game greatly. Glover Quin got beat deep on a 66-yard pass to Mike Wallace. There were miscues throughout the game that led to open receivers, nobody did well. Flacco picked apart the Lions defense, throwing for 269 yards. Glover Quin and Nevin Lawson both tied the group in tackles with four.
Special teams had some hits and misses, Matt Prater was 0/1 on his field goal attempts, and he missed an extra point, but Sam Martin did well in the punting game, punting five times for 221 yards, landing once inside the 20-yard line. Zach Zenner had two kick returns for 42 yards. TJ Jones had two punt returns for 14 yards.
Week 13: What It Means
The NFC wildcard is what Detroit needs to focus on and while the loss did hurt their chances, luckily as of right now, one team ahead of them also stumbled, that being Atlanta who lost to Minnesota. Tampa losing to Green Bay hurts, as it means the Packers are still in the playoff race and that Aaron Rodgers could possibly return to play Detroit week 17. Detroit needs Philadelphia to win, along with Arizona and New Orleans.
Tion Green might see more action after this game. Even with Abdullah returning, he could be picked over Washington or Zenner. He showed he can find the holes, some decent speed to get away from the defense, better than those two backs have been this season.
Week 13: What To Think About
The Lions will be without another starting offensive lineman as Wagner left the game with a leg injury and didn’t return. Detroit has had multiple injuries on the offensive line this year. Taylor Decker missed over half the season, Travis Swanson has had an ankle injury, T.J. Lang has been dealing with some stuff, and now Wagner being hurt shows that the offensive line has been a revolving door all year long.
Matt Prater showed that he is human after all. He struggled to kick the ball today and these weren’t just close misses, they were complete ducks, the ball was sideways and not even close. Prater has one job and when he struggles it hurts the team a lot.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.