Friday’s preseason game between the Lions and Ravens wasn’t pretty at times, but it sure was when it involved Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
The dynamic duo proved to be too much for the Ravens as the Lions won their first preseason game, 27-12, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
The two got together five times in the first half, including one score, and proved to be nearly unstoppable, continually burning
Rookie kicker Derek Dimke came in with 4:27 left and put a 31-yard field goal right down the middle to put the Lions ahead 20-7.
Former Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter came in for Baltimore following Dimke’s field goal and ran the no-huddle offense. On 4th-and-5 from the Lions 39, Painter kept the drive alive with a 6-yard gain as the clocked ran under three minutes. After going to another fourth down, Justin Tucker put a 45-yard field goal through the uprights to make it 20-12 with 2:13 left.
The Ravens recovered the ensuing onside kick and got the ball at the Detroit 42 with 2:10 left, but on 3rd-and-10 with 1:40 left, rookie Carmen Messina picked off a Painter pass down the middle to squash the rally.
Just to put icing on the cake, rookie running back Stephfon Green went 76 yards for a score with 43 seconds left as the Lions were simply looking to kill clock. He blazed through the collapsed defense and easily out-ran the Baltimore defense en route to the score.
One of the more entertaining aspects of the fourth quarter was a Ray Rice sideline interview where he held an umbrella for sideline reporter Laura Okmin. They had a fun conversation that brought some much-needed relief to the monotony of a preseason fourth quarter.
Overall, the Lions first-team offense didn’t start strong, but it sure did finish well. Stafford threw for 184 yards (111 of them to main man Johnson) and two touchdowns, one to Johnson, one to Titus Young.
Jason Hanson also added a 50-yard field goal, already looking in prime form.
Detroit’s defense kept the Ravens out of the end zone, holding them to four field goals (33, 50, 44 and 45 yards).
Certainly the coaching staff won’t like the penalties, but this was a much better performance than the preseason opener last week against Cleveland.