By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens offense finally got a scoring drive near the end of the first half. Devin Duvernay scored the touchdown and that’s how long it took to find a positive at the end of a Ravens offensive drive.
The defense looked fantastic in this game. The expectations dropped a bit when a Covid-19 situation depleted the defensive front. The players that needed to step up did. Broderick Washington played well. He won the battle in the middle of the defensive line. Calais Campbell was great as well.
Don Martindale called another great game as the defensive coordinator of the Ravens. The blitzing was on point. The pressure bothered Lions quarterback, Jared Goff. Every time Goff had to pass and the Ravens knew it, the defense was ready to rock.
Lamar Jackson looked sharp. Drops really hurt his stat line. He had decent numbers in the game even though the box score doesn’t do the MVP quarterback justice.
Justin Tucker saved the day. The 66-yard field goal was the longest kick in NFL history and it gave the Ravens a win. Okay, now it gets iffy. There is a little bad and then a whole lot of ugly.
The Bad for the Baltimore Ravens
On the first Ravens drive, they were backed up inside their own three-yard line. They ended up with a 3rd & 2. The Ravens ran a play everyone in the stadium was waiting for. The Ravens may be run-oriented but they really had to put the ball in the air there. It was an uninspired call by Greg Roman that took the ball out of Lamar Jackson’s hands on a key play.
The offense got off to a slow start. They wasted good stops by the defense. The first time the offense got going Justin Tucker uncharacteristically missed a field goal. The Ravens couldn’t stay on the field in the first quarter. That was the opposite of what they needed with their depth-strapped defense.
The offense was unflattering. On the last drive of the first quarter, you had a Mark Andrews drop, a play with two penalties, and a very timid call on 2nd & 15 that set up a 3rd and long. Jackson ran for a couple of yards and the Ravens punted. The first quarter was the opposite of fun.
In the second quarter, the offense started throwing it down the field. Jackson missed on a couple of deep shots though Marquise Brown arguably should have caught one of them in the end zone. Tucker got a field goal but the Ravens kept their streak of not picking up first downs on third down.
Marquise Brown was absolutely and unequivocally bad in this game. He had multiple drops with perfect passes hitting him in both hands. This may have been the worst game of his career, a sentiment that could have been rightfully believed before the halftime intermission. Brown has no excuse, these drops were all the way on the awful meter.
The offensive line was poor for much of the game. The Ravens offensive line forced Greg Roman’s play calls in this game. An expected run-heavy game turned into more of a passing day.
When the Lions finally scored the offense revisited the running game. It must have made you wonder why did they get so removed from it in the first place?
Jackson got bottled up a handful of times in the pocket. On one deep pass that could have been a touchdown in the third quarter, Jackson missed Andrews. Pressure may have knocked his accuracy off course.
The Ravens got out to a 13 point lead in this game. They failed to put Detroit away. The Lions put together a touchdown drive in the middle of the third quarter. Open field tackling became an issue. It’s a reoccurring problem. 13-7 was a nervous spot for the Ravens, especially when they controlled most of the action to that point.
The very ugly:
To be fair this was expected because of the circumstances, but the running game of the Lions got harder to stop as the game went on. There were a few moments where the Ravens were simply getting gashed. De’Andre Swift was the main problem, but Jamaal Williams also had some nice runs against Baltimore.
A gassed and exhausted defense gave the Lions another touchdown. All of a sudden it was a two-point game. All of the sudden a win was on a nervous footing for the Ravens. The defense gave up the score. The offense created this situation by squandering perfect chances and putting the defense in tough spots all game long.
Jackson forced a pass on third and long after the Lions score. It was a bad throw, forced in the direction of Marquise Brown. He wasn’t open and the pass was hopeless.
It was a throw that continued Jackson’s three-game run with an awful and unforgivable turnover. The stretched-thin defense had to try to save the day. Take a moment, throw something before we continue.
The defense gave up two wide-open passes that cut the Lions’ distance to a glorious win in half. This thing was just going that way. The Ravens were looking at a loss to Detroit of a win that didn’t make anyone in the Charm City feel good.
John Harbaugh inexplicably challenged a catch. The Ravens wasted a timeout. Then the Lions quickly got into scoring position. Again, if you need to throw something I totally understand, take a second if you must. Spoiler alert, the Lions scored the field goal with 1:04 left on the clock. You have to be kidding me!
The Baltimore Ravens took two sacks and faced a 4th and long. That’s it for the ugly, it got glorious for a second and the Ravens got away with one.