Lions crumble again in must-win game

In a battle of two 6-5 teams, the Baltimore Ravens (7-5) showed it was the superior team as the Detroit Lions (6-6) were dealt its sixth loss on Sunday, 44-20 at M&T Bank Stadium. The Lions dropped their second straight game, bringing them back down to .500 on the season.

The Lions’ offense got off to a slow start, again, being held off the scoreboard the entire first half. With Lions running back Ameer Abdullah out, their already limited rushing game was even more disastrous, causing Detroit to become very one dimensional, as usual. .

Photo: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens offense, which usually struggles to score points, was on a scoring frenzy all game and torched Detroit’s defense.

The Ravens opened up the scoring with kicker Justin Tucker nailing a 38-yard field goal on their second drive of the game.

In the second quarter, quarterback Joe Flacco connected with receiver Mike Wallace for 66 yards to put the Ravens on the Lions 1-yard line. The next play, Flacco hit tight end  Benjamin Watson in the endzone, putting them up 10-0.

The Ravens scored again on their next drive. On the Lions 45-yard line, Flacco slung a 23-yard pass to Wallace which was initially ruled out of bounds, but was overruled after a challenge from the Ravens’ sideline. A few plays later, the Ravens found themselves on the 3-yard line. Baltimore got creative and brought in defensive tackle Patrick Ricard to block, but he ended up on the receiving end of Flacco’s touchdown pass. Ravens up 17-0.  

The Lions got the ball back with just over a minute in the second half, but were unable to create a scoring opportunity like Baltimore was.

The Ravens got the ball on Detroit’s 45-yard line and three plays later they were in field goal range. Tucker, who is automatic, drilled the 46-yarder putting Baltimore up 20-0 going into the half.

The Lions came out of halftime ready to play. On their first drive, Stafford marched Detroit all the way down the field. Running back Theo Riddick scampered four yards into the end zone for the Lions’ first score of the game.

Two drives later, the Lions scored again. After a 13-yard reception by tight end Eric Ebron and a 24-yard pass to Golden Tate, Detroit was inside the 10-yard line. Running back Tion Green capped off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown, first of his career, making it a one-score game.

The Ravens struck back on the next drive. After three straight pass completions from Flacco and a 10-yard run from Javorius Allen, Flacco hit receiver Chris Moore down the middle of the field for 20 yards, which put Baltimore in the red zone. Running back Alex Collins capped the drive off with a 14-yard rushing touchdown and the Ravens went up 14 early in the fourth quarter.

The Lions answered right back. Stafford hit receiver Marvin Jones Jr. for 46 yards to put the Lions on the Ravens’ 29-yard line. Two plays later, Stafford connected with tight end Michael Roberts, who got tackled on the one-yard line. Stafford finished the drive with a short pass to linebacker Nick Bellore in the end zone, making it a one score game again, but that would be Detroit’s last points of the game.

From here on out, it was all Baltimore. Tucker would go on to nail a 51-yard field goal on the next drive, making the score 30-20.

Photo: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

On the ensuing Lions drive, Stafford would be picked off by Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Stafford was hit hard after the pass and bruised his throwing hand, which caused him to leave the game.

After the interception, the Ravens would work their way into the’ end zone  again off of a 6-yard rush by Collins, stretching their lead to 17 points.

Lions backup quarterback Jake Rudock came in to replace the injured Stafford for the rest of the game. After three straight pass completions, Rudock was picked off by Ravens safety Eric Weddle who ran it into the end zone for a pick six.

The Ravens would win by a score of 44-20, absolutely dominating the Lions from both ends of the ball.

The Lions’ second straight loss makes their playoff hopes even more gloomy. With the Minnesota Vikings win over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday the Lions now fall four games back in the NFC North standings. Detroit turns its attention to its Week 14 matchup against the 4-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.