Instant Reaction to Ravens 19-17 Win Over Lions

To say that these last three weeks have been dramatic and emotional for Ravens fans is a massive understatement. A heartbreaking overtime loss in Week 1 to the Raiders was followed up by an emotional rollercoaster of a win over Kansas City the following Sunday night. Baltimore’s first afternoon game of the season was supposed to be an easy one. The Detroit Lions were entering the game 0-2 with one of the worst defenses in the league. This was supposed to be a perfect “let me up” game after two exhausting weeks. The problem is, no one told the Detroit Lions this was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Ravens. Head coach Dan Campbell had his team fired up and they fought tooth and nail every minute of this game. More than a few mental errors on the part of the Ravens certainly helped Detroit hang around but for the most part, the Lions went toe to toe with Baltimore and nearly pulled out one of the biggest upsets of the season.

The offense never seemed to get it going against Detroit. Lamar Jackson and the offense got off to a slow start, going three and out on their first drive and then getting stuffed on 3rd and 3 at their own 32 on the next drive. A Justin Tucker Field goal five minutes into the 2nd quarter and a beautiful 19 yard touchdown pass to Devin Duvernay on 3rd and long gave hope that the offense might start sparking but things only got darker from there. Hollywood Brown had one of the worst games of his career, dropping three certain touchdown passes, two of those drops coming on Baltimore’s final drive right before the half. Those drops would prove more critical than anyone could have guessed at the time. Lamar was throwing pretty passes the entire half but the offense around him simply could not gel. the Lions effectively shut down the vaunted Ravens running game while Baltimore’s offensive line took a big step backward after a promising performance against Kansas City. Baltimore’s 10 points in the first half was disheartening to say the very least.

It was Baltimore’s defense that would prove to be the source of optimism in the first half, suffocating Detroit’s running game and limiting Jarred Goff to 54 yards passing. Though they weren’t bringing him down, the Ravens were applying the pressure as Wink Martindale amped up the blitzes. Baltimore defenders were flying all over the field and forcing the Lions to become a one dimensional passing team. It was exactly what most had predicted the Ravens defense would do to an overmatched Lions offense. The Ravens shut out the Lions in the first half and all seemed to be going according to plan for Baltimore’s stop unit.

The script flipped entirely in the second half. The Lions suddenly found their groove on both sides of the ball, walking all over Baltimore’s defense while simultaneously stifling the Ravens offense. Detroit scored all 17 of their points in the second half and had the game gone on longer, you have to think the Lions would have rolled up even more points. The Ravens suddenly forgot how to tackle as Lions ballcarriers routinely ran through first and second contact like it was nothing. Pressure on Goff was nonexistent. It was a second half collapse that should have cost the Ravens the game because the offense certainly wasn’t holding up their end. The Ravens couldn’t get anything going on the ground as the Lions swallowed up every play. The offensive line looked more like its Week 1 version than its Week 2 version the Detroit pass rush consistently disrupted Lamar’s pocket. Though Lamar himself was playing well, the Ravens as a whole could not get anything going.

All looked lost when Lamar tossed his first interception of the day with 5:30 left in the 4th quarter. The Lions promptly drove down the field to kick what appeared to be the game winning field goal. With1:04 left in the game and no timeouts left, Baltimore’s chances for victory looked bleak to say the least. A sack on first down and an incompletion on the following down did little to help brighten the outlook. Staring down a 4th and 19, Jackson delivered his most important pass of the day, a 36 yard strike to Sammy Watkins to set the Ravens up at Detroit’s 48. A spike and then another incompletion gave the Ravens just 3 seconds left to attempt a win. Any other team would attempt a Hail Mary or a screen pass with some lateral trickery to have a prayer for the end zone. But the Ravens have something better than a prayer, they have Justin Tucker.

Flashbacks immediately shot to December, 2013, when a young Tucker kicked a game winning 61 yard field goal to put the Ravens over the Lions 18-16. Eight years later and five yards further, Tucker had to do it all over again. Tucker had missed a 49 yard kick earlier in the game to add to Baltimore’s woes but the former Longhorn’s confidence in himself never wavered. With an extra hop, Tucker booted the ball and it sailed towards the uprights. Hitting the lowpost first, it appeared the ball would bounce back but it miraculously bounced through, giving the Ravens the victory and Justin Tucker the record for longest made field goal in NFL history. It was a kick that stunned the football world and simply reaffirmed Tucker’s status as not just the best kicker in the league, but one of the greatest in NFL history.

To put it bluntly, this was a game the Ravens should have dominated but simply didn’t. This was a game the Ravens didn’t deserve to win, but did anyway. The Lions were supposed to roll over for a superior team but refused. For the third straight week, Ravens fans had to suffer through a roller coaster of emotions. Despite playing one of the ugliest games in recent memory, the Ravens persevered and now boast a 2-1 record to keep them in a tie for the AFC North lead. Despite the injuries and emotional drama, the Ravens are still in a good position and have a week to heal up and calm down before heading to Denver to take on their old rivals the Broncos. The Ravens aren’t playing the prettiest football right now but a win is a win and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. Oh, and Justin Tucker is the greatest kicker of all time and there is no debate.

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TD Hunter

Head Contributor for Around The Block-Baltimore Ravens

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