Up until Sunday, the 2023 Detroit Lions met every single challenge they faced. At 5-1, they truly looked like one of the best teams in the league.
But facing a tough Baltimore Ravens team on the road, Detroit looked like one of the worst teams. Baltimore’s offense scored touchdowns on all four of their first possessions, while the Lions went three-and-out on their first three.
By the time Detroit managed their first offensive first down, they were already down 28-0, and it never got any better. Jared Goff looked uncomfortable throwing the ball, the defense looked clueless in stopping Lamar Jackson, and now you have to seriously question why the Lions looked so unprepared in this showdown against two first-place teams.
The final score was 38-6, as the Lions drop to 5-2 on the season.
Here’s how the game played out:
The Ravens won the toss and wanted the ball first. It only took them seven plays to drive the entire field. Lamar Jackson found Zay Flowers wide-open for a 46-yard gain against soft zone coverage.
A few plays later, Tracy Walker tackled Jackson for a short gain to set up a fourth-and-1 in the red zone. But Baltimore went for it and dialed up a perfect play action, fooling the entire Lions defense and allowing Jackson to scamper in for an easy 7-yard touchdown run. 7-0 Ravens.
A good kick return set the Lions up on their own 38-yard line, but they quickly went three-and-out after Jared Goff was sacked on third-and-6. A solid Jack Fox punt was negated when Chase Lucas ran into the punt returner, giving the Ravens solid field position.
The Lions appeared to get a three-and-out defensively, but a ticky-tacky illegal touching flag on Walker and an intentional grounding gave Baltimore another at third-and-7, and Jackson found Rashod Bateman for 16 yards. Two plays later, he found Bateman again for 20 down to the Lions’ 30-yard line. On third down, Jackson brilliantly found time, scrambled, and connected with Nelson Agholor for a quick 14-0 Ravens lead.
LAMAR AND NELLY MAKE IT HAPPEN❗️❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 22, 2023
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The Lions offense went three-and-out for their second consecutive drive. Goff overthrew tight end Sam LaPorta on third-and-6 after the rookie tight end stumbled out of his break. Fox had another brilliant punt, pinning the Ravens at their own 8-yard line.
Baltimore quickly got out of their own end zone with Jackson finding Odell Beckham Jr. for 20 yards on the first play of the drive. A holding penalty pushed them back and forced a third-and-11 for the Ravens, but Jackson found Flowers wide open again for 22 yards down to their own 49-yard line.
The Lions sent an all-out blitz to start the second quarter and that left fullback Patrick Ricard wide-open for a 28-yard gain. Three plays later, Mark Andrew broke open with Jack Campbell in coverage on play action for an 11-yard touchdown and a 21-0 Ravens lead.
Detroit’s offense remained in neutral with a third straight three-and-out after Goff was sacked on second down. A checkdown to Sam LaPorta ended 3 yards short and Detroit punted again.
Baltimore’s offense started pounding the rock against Detroit’s gassed defense. Edwards pushed to midfield with a 20-yard gain, then Justice Hill added 27 yards. On the next play, the Ravens pulled a trick play, fooling the Lions defense and finding Andrews for 22 yards—all the way down to the 2-yard line. Edwards would quickly punch it in for a 28-0 Ravens lead.
The Lions offense finally broke the seal with an 11-yard WR screen to Kalif Raymond, the team’s first first down of the game. Detroit was able to drive to midfield, but on fourth-and-8 they failed to convert.
It looked like the Ravens were about to hang 30 on the Lions in the first half, but Aidan Hutchinson recovered a Ravens fumble, giving Detroit an opportunity to finally get on the board with 2:13 left.
A 22-yard pass to Josh Reynolds pushed Detroit into Ravens territory down to the 35-yard line. But after an intentional grounding on a blown-up screen, the Lions faced another fourth-and-long. Detroit converted, but Penei Sewell committed a holding, and the Lions opted instead to punt on fourth-and-25. That’s how a very sad, embarrassing half ended.
The Lions offense took over to open the second half and got off to a promising start with a 20-yard pass to Josh Reynolds. Detroit converted a fourth-and-4 along the way with a 15-yard gain to Amon-Ra St. Brown. A nice screen pass to Gibbs moved Detroit inside the Ravens’ 10-yard line. Detroit was forced to go for it again on fourth down, and this time Baltimore got the stop, keeping the Lions scoreless.
Baltimore’s offense continues to pour it on. An 80-yard pass to Edwards put them in the red zone immediately. Two plays later it was 35-0 Ravens.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mohamed Ibrahim took the return and suffered what appeared to be a serious hip injury. He was carted off after his first NFL action and was immediately declared out for the rest of the game.
The Lions drove into Ravens territory but failed to convert on a fourth-and-1 after Goff lofted a bomb to Jameson Williams—who was running in a different direction.
Detroit would eventually break the shoutout with a 21-yard pitch to Gibbs, the first touchdown of his career. Detroit failed the two-point conversion. 35-6 Ravens
After a failed onside kick, the Ravens tacked on a field goal to make it 38-6 Ravens. On the drive, Kerby Joseph took a serious shot to the head from Odell Beckham Jr. and had to be evaluated for a concussion. Kalif Raymond also suffered a late hamstring injury.
But Detroit would eventually run the clock out.