Defense stands tall after slow start

Defense stands tall after slow start
December 17, 2013, 12:30 am
Share This Post

Webb on Elam: "Young boy came up big for us"

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens strong safety James Ihedigbo (32) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field.

(Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

The Detroit Lions appeared to be setting the tone with their first drive of Monday night’s game with the Ravens. They took the opening kickoff and marched right downfield to score a touchdown for a quick 7-0 lead.

After that, however, the Ravens’ defense slowed the Lions down. The Ravens did a good job controlling the dangerous Detroit running and passing attack and pulled out a big 18-16 victory to keep them in control of their wild-card chances.

The Lions, one of the NFL's top offenses, drove 78 yards on that opening drive, but they couldn't do much after that. They scored only three points until their late fourth-quarter touchdown drive gave them a 16-15 lead. The Ravens were very physical on defense, both on the line in stopping the running attack and covering Calvin Johnson.

Johnson finished with six catches for 98 yards, but dropped two key passes and couldn’t pull in the pass from Matthew Stafford on a two-point conversion that would have given them an 18-15 lead.

Matt Elam, who got plenty of publicity this week for referring to Johnson as “old,” led the Ravens with 10 tackles and made his first career interception. The Ravens slowed Stafford by finishing the night with three interceptions – defensive end DeAngelo Tyson made a great play to pull in his first career pick also. Daryl Smith got the third one, all of which helped the defense keep the Lions under control. Detroit moved the ball at times, finishing with 349 total yards, but the Ravens made big plays on defense when needed.  

“That was the difference in the game, getting turnovers and making them turn the ball over,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said in a post-game CSN interview. “We’re taking it one game at a time.”

The turnovers proved crucial as it stopped Detroit drives and set up Ravens’ points. Those were important as this was yet another close game, the team’s 11th of 10 points or less already this season.

In fact, three of the four games of this winning streak that has moved the Ravens to 8-6 have been victories by a grand total of seven points.

“We’ve had a lot of practice at close game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at the post-game press conference. “That’s what the National Football League is. That’s what makes it great.”

    More Team Talk