Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens Live Blog: Analysis, Injury Updates and News
Another week of preseason football means another week of checking out draft picks, free-agent pickups, and trying to pinpoint the 53rd man on the roster.
Most of the preseason may only appeal to the true football geeks out there, but that must include you or you wouldn't be here, right?
To get us started, here's what you need to know coming into this game.
Time: Friday, August 17, 8 p.m. ET
TV Network: Fox (national)
Ravens recover the onside kick with some absolutely fantastic execution, and now are attempting to make it into the end zone with a shortened field.
This would have been a great opportunity for Curtis Painter to make his case for a bump up the depth chart, but on a shortened field, he threw an ugly pick to rookie linebacker Carmen Messina.
The Lions followed up by running the ball to run down the clock, but undrafted rookie running back Stephfon Green had other plans. After Green missed the first week of the preseason, he busted through the middle of the defense and outran everyone for a 76-yard touchdown romp to make it 27-12 Lions.
That 27-12 score stands as the final score in this one, with the Lions coming out on top.
And now that the game itself has concluded, keep it close as I'll be highlighting the Lions' best and worst performers in a separate article out shortly.
After a solid drive by Kellen Moore ending in a Derek Dimke field goal, former Indianapolis Colt Curtis Painter gets into the game with just over four minutes left in the game.
Tyrod Taylor played about half the game, and Painter is getting the last four minutes. I think we can safely assume where the Ravens' QB depth chart is right now.
The Lions probably have this thing wrapped up, but Painter led the Ravens to another field goal to bring the score to 20-12. Presumably, this is where the Ravens get to try their onside kick package with the two-minute warning approaching.
Both teams are playing solid defense in the second half (or they are playing offenses that are out-of-rhythm, take your pick).
There has yet to be a second-half score in this game, with about 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Tyrod Taylor remains in the game for the Ravens, but again cannot move the Ravens into striking distance.
Willie Young continues to get reps with the defense in the fourth quarter, which is a little surprising considering he is in no danger of losing his roster spot.
Tyrod Taylor remains in the game for the Ravens as the third quarter winds down, which would appear to show him in the lead on the Ravens' depth chart, but he hasn't shown the ability to move the Ravens down the field with his arm.
Taylor did spin out of a possible safety and turn it into a first down, but at the end of the third, it's fourth down and the Ravens punt (punt was blocked by Willie Young). Taylor is 6-for-18 for 47 yards passing, but has added 51 yards rushing, currently a team high.
Meanwhile, Kellen Moore went 5-for-7 for 57 yards on his opening drive, but the Lions also failed to score. Moore needs a strong game, as he isn't fighting another quarterback for his spot, but rather the depth of the entire team to justify a third quarterback on the roster.
For the second time in the last seven minutes of game time, the Ravens have an apparent touchdown return called back, this time on a punt return.
There may have been a hold on the play, but the Lions are still struggling to maintain coverage in special teams, and the Ravens are running right straight through it. Part of the problem isn't necessarily the Lions' coverage, but the fact that the Lions missed about 10 tackles on that return.
With the ball brought back close to midfield, the Ravens weren't able to move the ball into scoring position, and Kellen Moore has come in at quarterback for the Lions.
With the third quarter underway, the Lions send out Shaun Hill for a shaky opening drive. That's a bit surprising, considering Hill is secure in his position as the backup quarterback. The Lions need to see whether Kellen Moore is worth a roster spot.
The Ravens counter with Tyrod Taylor, who continues to battle Curtis Painter for the backup position behind Joe Flacco. Both quarterbacks had a rough start to the half, and the score remains 17-9 with the Lions on top.
At the half, it's 17-9 Lions, after Detroit goes for two consecutive touchdown drives with the first-team offense (one of which was against the Ravens' second-team defense).
Jason Hanson tacked on a field goal at the end of the half, and the ensuing kickoff appeared to have been returned for a touchdown, but was whistled dead past midfield and eventually called back on a holding call, anyway.
The Ravens have looked good on offense, particularly the first team in a no-huddle situation, but they haven't been able to put the ball in the end zone yet. They are, however, getting huge gains on misdirection plays, screens, and end-arounds.
The Lions looked unstoppable for two drives, one in which they fed Calvin Johnson all the way down the field, and one in which they went to everyone else. But the running game remains a concern, as they have 18 yards on 10 attempts, and no rushing first downs.
Stefan Logan was carted back to the locker room shortly after his injury, and reportedly has an ankle injury. We don't know how severe it is, and knowing the Lions, we won't for a while.
Now it's time to prepare for the second half, in which we look for servicable backup quarterbacks, special teams contributors, and fifth-round draft picks making an impact.
Considering the Lions have their first-team offense on the field, this is an interesting note on the Lions' offensive line rotation.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>RT <a href="https://twitter.com/ttwentyman"><s>@</s><b>ttwentyman</b></a>: Looks like where rotating Reiff and Cherilus at right tackle last two series.</p>— Lions RapidReports (@CBSSportsNFLDET) <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSSportsNFLDET/status/236632615925469184" data-datetime="2012-08-18T01:16:26+00:00">August 18, 2012</a></blockquote><script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Early in the second quarter, the Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson show comes to town.
The Lions drive from deep in their own territory by basically feeding the ball in to Johnson on each play, culminating in an 18-yard touchdown reception.
Surprisingly, the Lions have their starters still in the game on both sides of the ball, and with the Lions' offense back on the field, Stefan Logan went down on a botched handoff. Waiting on details as he gets his ankle wrapped.
Shortly into the second quarter, the Ravens lead 6-0. The Baltimore offense has looked very good through ground and air, but they haven't been able to finish.
For the second straight drive, John Wendling came up with a huge play to stall the Ravens. First it was a pass deflection, then a sack. The Lions' other safety, Erik Coleman, also made a great open-field tackle to save a first down.
Amari Spievey was burned earlier in the drive, and he's looking farther and farther from starting every play.
Once again, the Ravens put the Lions' defense back on their heels, only to come up a bit short.
After driving inside the 10-yard line with a good mix of rushing attack and timing routes, the Lions stop the drive in the red zone, highlighted by a holding penalty on Ravens LT Michael Oher and a great pass knockdown on Lions safety John Wendling.
Ravens are definitely winning the game on feel so far, though. Their offense looks crisp, and the Lions have only kept themselves in the game with a couple of key plays.
Lions are also running up the penalty total with three in the first quarter after earning only one flag against Cleveland. Each flag has been avoidable.
I'm starting to think the replacement NFL refs were hired by the locked-out NFL refs to be at awful as possible. There was confusion a little earlier about whether or not it was first or third down.
No measurement, no discussion. Just two irate coaches.
Lions got the first down, but that was the only one. Good coverage on the punt, though.
Lions got a stop on the first drive, but looked to be on their heels for much of the drive.
The Ravens' up-tempo offense looks effective, and if not for a batted (nearly intercepted) ball by Cliff Avril, and a dropped downfield pass, it could have been a scoring drive for the Ravens.
Not a bad start for either unit, overall.
Some things to watch for in this game:
Lions WR Titus Young
Young missed the Lions' first preseason game for the birth of his son, but has been considered one of the most improved players on the team so far in practice. This will be the first time we get to see him in game action in 2012.
Baltimore's first-half defense
The Lions and Ravens had just about mirror-image games last season, with the Lions losing after a strong first half and the Ravens winning after a weak first half. It's only preseason, but the Ravens would certainly like to get off to a stronger start with their first and second teams.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford
Stafford had a shaky first game against Cleveland, throwing an ugly interception and failing to lead a scoring drive in three attempts. We know he has the talent, but he looked out of rhythm. He'll look to get it back in (likely) limited action today.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco
Shocker, watch the quarterbacks. But this has as much to do with the Lions' secondary as it does with Flacco. Can the Lions' secondary build on some momentum from last week, or will Flacco find a rhythm.
Detroit's running game
Without Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best, the Lions ran the ball well against Cleveland last week. This week, they face a much stiffer test in the Ravens with the same personnel.
Because it's preseason, we'll see pretty much everybody on each team's rosters. Well, except for these guys.
Inactives for the Lions, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press:
Not dressing for the Lions tonight: Mikel Leshoure, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Sammie Hill, Jonathan Scott, Louis Delmas... Ryan Broyles is dressed.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) August 17, 2012
Inactives for the Ravens, per Jason Butt of CBSSports.com:
WR David Reed (ACL), LB Josh Bynes (vertebrae), OLB Terrell Suggs (Achilles), OL Jah Reid (calf), TE Ed Dickson (shoulder), WR Devin Goda(undisclosed), TE Dennis Pitta (hand), DT Ryan McBean (broken ankle) and LB Darryl Blackstock (groin).
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