BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 17: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on August 17, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
After last week's preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, Jim Schwartz was very disappointed with the first-team offense's inability to score in the few drives they were in the game. Early on against the Baltimore Ravens, the scoring issues continued for the first-team offense. They were unable to score on their first two drives, and they just looked really sloppy.
Luckily for the Lions, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson turned things around with a 57-yard pass from the seven-yard line to open their third possession. A few plays later Stafford found Johnson for a touchdown, and just like that the offense started heating up. Stafford connected with Titus Young for another touchdown on the next drive, and the Lions' performance on these two possessions powered a 27-12 victory, improving Detroit's record to 1-1 halfway through the preseason.
Friday's game opened with punts by both teams. The Ravens did put together a solid drive next time out, but the Lions managed to hold them to a 33-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff. After another Lions punt, the Ravens added another field goal, this time from 50 yards out by Justin Tucker.
On the ensuing kickoff, a block in the back penalty negated a 41-yard kick return by Stefan Logan, and it put the Lions on their own seven-yard line. Needing to get something going, Stafford looked in the direction of Johnson, who caught the pass in stride for a gain of 57 yards. After an incompletion, Johnson picked up eight yards on another pass, and then a couple plays later he made a really nice catch for 18 yards and a touchdown. The Lions went 93 yards in five plays, and 83 of the yards were accounted for by Johnson.
After a quick three-and-out with Tyrod Taylor coming in at quarterback for the Ravens, the Lions took over at their own 30-yard line. Once again, Stafford looked sharp, and he moved the Lions down the field in nine plays. He capped off the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Titus Young, who broke a tackle to score and put the Lions on top 14-6.
The Ravens answered with yet another field goal, cutting the deficit to five points. The Lions answered with a field goal of their own after the two teams traded punts. Jason Hanson shook off the kick he missed last week by nailing a 50-yard field goal, once again giving the Lions an eight-point cushion. The score was 17-9 in their favor heading into halftime thanks in part to a penalty negating a big return by the Ravens on the ensuing kickoff.
The theme of the first part of the second half was punts. The Lions punted on their first three possessions in the third quarter, and the Ravens punted on the first three of theirs as well. Baltimore actually took one of Detroit's punts back for an 85-yard touchdown, but a penalty once again bailed out the Lions' cover unit.
There was no penalty to bail out Baltimore when Willie Young blocked the Ravens' third punt of the half. The Lions took over at the Baltimore 34 as a result, but they didn't get any points. Joique Bell nearly scored on a 20-yard run, but he fumbled at the one-yard line and gave the ball away to the Ravens.
After yet another punt by Baltimore, Kellen Moore led the Lions down the field for a 31-yard field goal by Derek Dimke. Moore moved the chains with a lot of short passes and looked a lot more comfortable this week when at the helm for Detroit.
The Ravens responded with a 45-yard field goal by Tucker, making this a 20-12 game. An onside kick actually was recovered by the Ravens, giving them a chance to potentially go down the field and tie things up. Luckily, that did not happen. Carmen Messina picked off Curtis Painter five plays into the next drive, and he did the smart thing by sliding down to make sure the game was over.
The Lions sent out R.J. Archer to simply hand the ball off and run out the clock, but Stephfon Green had other ideas. On the second play of the next drive, Green broke free and showed off his speed on a 76-yard touchdown run. The Lions now led 27-12, and that is what the final score ended up being after the clock ran out on Baltimore's next possession.
All in all, this was a much better game for the Lions than what we saw in Week 1. The first-team offense finally got things going, and the defense kept the Ravens out of the end zone. Also, the Lions ended up winning. While it may not mean much in the preseason, it's good for the Lions to go into Baltimore and beat a good Ravens team.
Next week, the Lions will take on the Oakland Raiders on the road on Saturday, Aug. 25. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.