BALTIMORE -- The Ravens feel better about themselves after a 27-12 loss to the Detroit Lions on Friday than they did after a comeback victory a week ago in their preseason opener.
The hurry-up offense and the pass protection for quarterback Joe Flacco were markedly better even though the end result didn't reflect it.
"Last week, on our first drive, we completed a couple balls but we didn't move the chains," said Flacco, who was 7-for-12 for 79 yards and a 78.1 passer rating. "You get that first first down, you're able to get into a little bit more of a rhythm, things can start going a little bit ...It was definitely nice to get off on a good start and move the ball down there."
The Ravens took a 6-0 lead on a 33-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff and a 50-yarder by rookie Justin Tucker.
But it didn't take Detroit long to find its groove. It registered big plays between quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson, and the Ravens didn't have that kind of explosiveness or the ability to convert field position into points.
With the Lions backed up in the end zone, the Ravens' secondary allowed Johnson downfield for a 57-yard completion. Johnson eventually made an 18-yard touchdown catch. Then the Lions were able to convert a 2nd-and-16 into a first down that led to a 24-yard scoring catch by Titus Young to pull away at 14-6.
Baltimore, however, had a plethora of missed opportunities that could've altered the outcome:
Linebacker Paul Kruger, who is expected to help fill the gap left by the injured Terrell Suggs, just missed on a chance to intercept a third-down pass from Stafford to Brandon Pettigrew that could've resulted in a touchdown.Undrafted rookie Deonte Thompson took a kickoff seven-yards deep in his own end zone and appeared to be en route to touchdown. Thompson stepped out of bounds at his own 48-yard line, then had the ball moved back even more after Sergio Kindle was called for holding. A third-quarter punt return for an 85-yard touchdown by rookie Asa Jackson was negated by a holding penalty on Nigel Carr.
Ray Rice only had five carries for 12 yards as the Ravens were led by backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor's 60 yards on seven carries. Taylor was just 8-for-22 passing for 65 yards in relief of Flacco.
LaQuan Williams joined the first unit after receiver Torrey Smith was a late scratch because of an ankle injury. Flacco targeted him six times, but Williams only caught two for 22 yards.
"You're not going to peak really early, and it's August," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We've got a lot of season in front of us."