With the “dress rehearsal” Saturday night in Baltimore, the Lions looked to improve on the sloppiness and failure to launch that plagued them throughout the second preseason game. Ah, but would they?
The Ravens started the game strong, marching down the field with a healthy dose of wide receiver Kamar Aiken. However, the defense would settle in and stop Flacco on the Lions 22-yard line, holding the Ravens to make a 40-yard field goal.
The first offensive drive for the Lions, however, did not look good in any capacity. After sloppy throws from Stafford and a dropped ball by Ameer Abdullah, the Lions punted and quickly found themselves back on defense. From there they struggled to stop the Ravens in the air in short yard situations, but managed to prevent a conversion on fourth down.
The second drive, starting from good field position, focused on getting the ball to Marvin Jones — with his typical toe drag panache — and Abdullah who had ten yards on a zone run. In the red zone, Abdullah hit the edge and found paydirt for a touchdown, but a hold by Cole Wick wiped out what would have been the first touchdown from the first-string offense. After that, the 46-yard drive fell apart; Anquan Boldin would pick up a first down, but the Lions would ultimately be forced to kick a field goal.
Flacco’s night was over after his second drive, so the Ravens sent out Ryan Mallett to meet the Lions defense. DeAndre Levy came out as well, and linebacker Tahir Whitehead went down after a hard hit, but he would walk off under his own power after getting shaken up. The second string linebackers let Mallett carve them up until a sack on third-and-goal by Khyri Thornton would force the Ravens to kick yet another field goal.
The Lions offense stayed in, which worked out well for Theo Riddick when he cut through and made a 35-yard run(!) to take the Lions to the Ravens’ side of the field. The Lions looked to be going strong towards the end zone, but penalties would throw it in reverse. Riley Reiff was called for pulling a Ravens player off of Stafford after a sack and then Larry Warford got called for a false start. This set up a bad snap from Jimmy Landes to Matt Prater for a 53-yard field goal that ricocheted off the upright.
The Lions would continue to make dumb decisions with an unnecessary roughness called on the defense, which set up Ryan Mallett to connect with Jeremy Butler — blowing past Darrin Walls in the process — for the first Ravens’ touchdown of the night. The two-minute offense for the Lions wasn’t as Stafford threw an interception to Anthony Levine, and the Ravens scored another touchdown three plays after.
Another sloppy drive for Matthew Stafford, but a late hit on Stafford by a Ravens defender let Prater get another shot at the goalposts. This time he nailed it from 60 yards to end the half.
The Lions had eight penalties by the half’s end.
The first team offensive line came out on the field for the second half, but Stafford’s night was done as backup Dan Orlovsky took over at quarterback. Zach Zenner looked impressive, but after a strip sack on Dan Orlovsky, the Lions were forced to punt away. Cornerback Darrin Walls would step up and play good coverage on second and third down to force the Ravens to punt back to the Lions; they’d repay the effort by going three-and-out and punting once more.
After another Ravens field goal, Dan Orlovsky finally made a connection with TJ Jones to bring the Lions back into Baltimore territory. After the fourth quarter started, Orlovsky found Andre Roberts for another first down to take the offense to the Ravens 34-yard line. The drive would go no further after a tipped ball on third down brought Devon Bell out to kick a field goal. His kick was a true knuckleball that fell way short of the uprights, and the Lions walked away empty-handed yet again.
With 13 minutes to go, Josh Johnson came in at quarterback for the Ravens as the third teams began to transition in for both squads. Crezdon Butler would continue the Lions’ sloppy play for the night as he hit a Ravens receiver out of bounds for yet another Lions penalty. Johnson would lead another Ravens drive after that, running for a first down, finding Javorious Allen a few times and then pushing past the Lions’ goal line defense for the final yard and Baltimore’s third touchdown of the night.
Jace Billingsley would be back to return the kick and made it out to the Lions’ 36-yard line. This was the end of the night for Orlovsky as Jake Rudock relieved him of the quarterback duties for the last eight minutes of the game. He had a pass batted down on second down and Quinshad Davis failed to pull down his pass on third. The Ravens would go three-and-out as well.
Jay Lee struggled to haul in another Rudock pass. George Winn made it back to the line of scrimmage. Jake Rudock would be hit as he threw and the Lions made another three-and-out.
Alex Carter shined in coverage for the Lions on second down on the next Ravens possession, and Anthony Zettel hit Stephen Houston hard enough for the ball to come loose. Khaseem Greene ran the fumble back to the Ravens’ 10-yard line. Rudock got sacked after the Ravens beat Luke Mardquart, and on the next play Quinshad Davis hauled in a pass in the end zone but could not get both feet down. On third down, Rudock made a quick throw to Jace Billingsley, but he dropped the football. Bell would come out and make his second attempt at kicking things.
The Ravens would run out the clock and the night was over for Lions football. All teams struggled, the defense got sliced again, the offense picked up 222 yards for a meager nine points and Rudock’s hype train cooled with a 0 for 6 night passing the football. Happy Saturday, y’all.