The Detroit Lions gave the Baltimore Ravens their all. After an ugly first half, the Lions took the Ravens to the brink and nearly had the game in hand. Detroit was a fourth-and-19 stop away from winning the game. Even after giving up a huge 36-yard pass on that play, all the Lions needed was for Ravens kicker Justin Tucker to not set the NFL record for the longest field goal.
But Tuckers’ 66-yard field goal bounced off the uprights and in, and the Lions dropped to 0-3 with a heartbreaking 19-17 loss.
Here’s how it happened.
Detroit’s offense started with the ball again this week, but after a couple first downs, they stalled at midfield. Punter Jack Fox, however, was able to pin the Ravens at their own 3-yard line. Detroit’s defense took advantage by forcing a three-and-out thanks to a huge tackle for loss from linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who was in for Jamie Collins Sr., who was scratched while he remains on the trading block.
Detroit couldn’t take advantage of the good field position, though. A botched trick play nearly resulted in a turnover and Jared Goff was sacked on third down. This time, Fox had the punt go off the side of his foot, giving the Ravens the ball back at their own 30.
Lamar Jackson completed a couple quick passes to move Baltimore in field goal range. But Detroit’s stiffened up with a big third-and-3 stop by AJ Parker, who hit running back Latavius Murray in the backfield. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker uncharacteristically missed a 49-yard field goal, giving the Lions good field position.
The Lions, again, made nothing of the good field position. A good run from Jamaal Williams got them onto the Ravens’ side of the field, but facing a fourth-and-1, the Lions opted to go for it. Before they could run a play, though, tight end Darren Fells committed a false start and the Lions punted.
Lamar Jackson got the Ravens out of the shadow of their own end zone with a 31-yard scramble, as the first quarter came to an end scoreless, 0-0.
Facing a third-and-9 to start the second quarter, Jackson couldn’t find anyone for the Ravens and tried to scramble for the first down, but Romeo Okwara caught him from behind to force the punt.
Detroit’s offense still was stuck in neutral. Jonah Jackson committed a holding penalty that wiped out an 8-yard run, then committed a personal foul penalty after third down, forcing the Lions to punt from their own end zone.
The Ravens would take over on the Lions’ 46-yard line after another Lions penalty, and this time they would break open the scoring. Jackson found a wide-open Mark Andrews for a 21-yard gain. But Detroit’s defense would force the Ravens to a field goal attempt and this time Tucker hit from 39 yards. 3-0 Ravens.
While the Lions continued to run the ball well, the passing game was just non-existent. Goff took his second sack of the game on a third-and-6, forcing Detroit to punt.
The Lions nearly caught a break on the punt return when Devin Duvernay fumbled the ball. Detroit recovered, but the play was nullified by a penalty on rookie Jerry Jacobs, who ran out of bounds on his own accord on the play. The subsequent punt return was taken to the 35-yard line, giving the Ravens the chance to push it to a two-score game.
The defense gave up two huge plays that led to the first score of the game. First, Jackson found Marquise Brown, who had thoroughly beaten Will Harris in coverage. Then after an Austin Bryant sack helped force a third-and-18, Jackson connected with a wide-open Duvernay for the touchdown. 10-0 Ravens.
Detroit countered with another three-and-out. Facing a fourth-and-1 again, the Lions jumped offside again and punted it away with under two minutes left.
The Lions were fortunate not to go into halftime down more, as Marquise Brown dropped two easy deep passes that likely would have resulted in Ravens touchdowns. Instead, they were forced to punt, and the Lions’ check-down attempt at a 27-second drill came nowhere close to succeeding. The score stayed 10-0 at halftime.
The Ravens kicked the second half off with yet another big play to tight end Mark Andrews, who had slipped by the secondary for 41 yards. Detroit’s defense was able to stop the Ravens from there, but Tucker was true on a 50-yard field goal, pushing the score to 13-0 Ravens.
The Lions' offense came out of halftime with a clear adjustment: get D’Andre Swift the ball. Swift caught passes of 11, 14, and 19 yards on the drive, then capped it off with a 2-yard run to bring it back to a one-score game. 13-7 Ravens.
Jackson continued to go to the Mark Andrews well without much resistance. Completions of 7 and 24 yards to Andrews put the Ravens on the Lions' side of the field. Detroit would force the Ravens’ fourth field goal attempt after the Okwara brothers forced Jackson to throw it away on third down. Tucker knocked in the chip shot from 32 yards to push it to a two-score game. 16-7 Ravens.
The Lions got a huge chunk of yards to kick off the final quarter thanks to a 28-yard pass interference penalty that kick started the drive. Detroit finally found some success on third down, first finding Kalif Raymond on a third-and-7 for 11 yards. Then the Lions ran a great play to Swift on a third-and-6 for 9 yards. Swift then put the Lions on the goal line with this ridiculous hurdle.
A couple plays later, Jamaal Williams punched it in to make it 16-14 Ravens.
Detroit’s defense gave the Lions a shot. On a third-down with the pocket collapsing on him, Jackson threw a jump ball deep, but Amani Oruwariye jumped in front of it for the interception.
The Lions' offense continued to show serious life. A 24-yard pass to Darren Fells kicked off the drive, and a 19-yard pass to Kalif Raymond picked up another big chunk of yards. Then on a second-and-11 the Lions called a perfectly timed screen pass to Kalif Raymond for 22 yards and suddenly the Lions were in field goal territory at the two-minute warning, first-and-10 on the Ravens 14 and Baltimore had just two timeouts left.
But from there, the Lions got conservative and ran it three times, milking the clock down to 1:07, but forcing Ryan Santoso to try a 35-yard field goal to put the Lions up late. He knocked it through, putting the game in Lamar’s hands with 1:04 left.
The Lions picked up two sacks on the first three plays, forcing Lamar Jackson into an unenviable fourth-and-19. But Sammy Watkins slipped behind Will Harris and Jackson found him for 36 yards. The Ravens stopped the clock with a spike, setting up Tucker for the NFL record. And this is what happened next: