Ravens vs. Lions: Score, Grades and Analysis

Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 16, 2013

USA Today

Justin Tucker kicked six field goals, including a game-winning 61-yarder in the final minute, as the Baltimore Ravens beat the Detroit Lions, 18-16, on Monday Night Football

Matthew Stafford threw for 235 yards and an apparent game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes remaining, but Tucker bested him in improbable fashion:

GIF courtesy of Bleacher Report

Afterwards, he made sure to acknowledge all of his happy fantasy owners out there, via SportsCenter's Twitter feed:

The Lions struck first with an eight-play, 78-yard march on the game's first drive. Reggie Bush, who was questionable all week, looked as spry as ever, capping the offensive assault with this 14-yard touchdown run:

GIF courtesy of Bleacher Report

Detroit's other four drives of the half, though? Just 73 combined yards, as the Lions got away from Bush, who had zero touches in the second quarter, while Calvin Johnson had two drive-killing drops. 

That opened the door for Joe Flacco and the Ravens, who put together three 70-yard drives. Each of those fizzled out in the red zone, however, and they took a 9-7 lead into halftime after a trio of short field goals from Tucker. 

Sustained drives were few and far between in the second half, as well. 

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Running back Joique Bell #35 of the Detroit Lions runs for a gain while under pressure from cornerback Jimmy Smith #22 of the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at Ford Field on December 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Ravens turned two Stafford interceptions into Tucker field goals, and with a David Akers field goal mixed in for the Lions, Baltimore took a 15-10 lead late into the fourth quarter. 

After a mostly miserable night, though, Stafford redeemed himself with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, resulting in a 14-yard scoring toss to Joseph Fauria to give the Lions a 16-15 lead with 2:21 remaining. 

It was the only catch and only target for Fauria, which is normal, as Pro Football Focus' Mike Clay and ESPN's Chris Sprow noted:

Flacco led the Ravens right back down the field, however, and after some questionable play-calling, John Harbaugh turned to Tucker, who drilled the 61-yarder to make it 18-16 with less than a minute remaining. 

Stafford then threw his third interception of the game to seal the win for the Ravens. 


Player Grades

Joe Flacco, Ravens: B

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes for a gain during the first half against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Against a terrific pass rush on the road, Flacco displayed some impressive composure. 

You have to give credit to Baltimore's offensive line and Ray Rice for protecting the 28-year-old QB for most of the night, but Flacco did several things well. He stepped up in the pocket confidently and made some really nice throws, he tucked the ball and ran when necessary and he threw the ball away at the right times. 

There were certainly plenty of bad throws and odd reads mixed in, as well, but on an ugly offensive night, Flacco managed the game well enough and led a game-winning drive. 


Matthew Stafford, Lions: C+

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field on December 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Stafford's final line is pretty ugly, but it's not quite indicative of his overall performance.

He suffered from drops, and his first interception—although not a great throw—was a result of the ball being tipped straight up into the air by Bush. 

Still, while he wasn't as bad as the numbers suggest, Stafford looked uncomfortable in the pocket for much of the night, rushing his throws and not allowing plays to develop.



Justin Tucker, Ravens: A

Tucker made all six of his field-goal attempts, accounted for all of the Ravens' points and drilled a ridiculous 61-yarder for the win. And he did it all on the road. He also did something no kicker has ever done according to the ESPN Sportscenter feed: 

Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke put it simply:

Superstar. That is all. 


Reggie Bush, Lions: A-

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Reggie Bush #21 of the Detroit Lions runs 14 yards for a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field on December 16, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Bush was undoubtedly the most explosive offensive player on either side of the field on Monday night. 

He clearly wasn't feeling any ill-effects of the injury, as he displayed an impressive blend of acceleration and elusiveness. He racked up 5.1 yards per carry and the Lions offense looked far more dangerous whenever he was on the field. 


What's Next

The Ravens return home for a crucial contest with the New England Patriots on Sunday, while the Lions host the New York Giants.