To put it simply, the Ravens NEEDED a performance like the one they got on Sunday.
They NEEDED to prove to themselves-and to those around the NFL who were questioning them-that they were still a good football team.
Sunday’s 48-3 thrashing of the Detroit Lions didn’t REALLY say much about the Ravens or their chances of advancing to the AFC playoffs, but it did say some things.
For those of you who were predicting a doomsday 6-10 or 7-9 finish for the Ravens-unlikely.
For those of you calling for the entire team to be broken up in the offseason-probably a bit premature.
For those of you who buzzed into “The Comcast Morning Show” this week to ask “Is it time to start thinking about John Harbaugh’s future in Baltimore?”-the answer is “no.”
Let me repeat-Sunday’s win did NOT prove the Ravens as Super Bowl contenders-and may ultimately prove to be just another win for a team that didn’t get quite enough this season. But the Ravens not only won, they treated the Detroit Lions like the Glen Burnie JV team-which is exactly what good football teams SHOULD do to the Detroit Lions. (Who are a historic type of terrible for the record.)
The Ravens pulverized the Detroit Lions in every way imaginable. They out-gained their opponent 548 to 229, picked up 24 first downs to Detroit’s 13, and won the turnover battle by a margin of 2-1. They pulled their starting quarterback after 3 quarters-but they might as well have done it after 2. In the second half, there were players making contributions who I had honest to god forgotten were on the team. (Sorry Edgar Jones!) John Harbaugh said very simply that all 3 units of his team “executed”, and he’s absolutely right.
The point is, that is EXACTLY what good teams SHOULD do to the Detroit Lions. The Saints, Vikings, Packers, Bengals and Bears had already defeated the Lions by double digit margins this year. Only the Steelers and Rams had single digit victories over the Lions, and the Steelers appear to be much more of “pretenders” than “contenders” for a playoff spot. Beyond that, the Redskins and Browns had of course unimaginably found ways to LOSE to this Detroit ballclub. The Ravens certainly belong in the former group much more than the latter.
The Ravens are a GOOD team. We know that much. Yes, they’ve lost 6 games-but they’ve lost 6 games to teams who would all make the playoffs if the season ended today (Packers, Vikings, Patriots, Colts and Bengals twice). And while they HAVE their problems (secondary and wide receiver jump RIGHT off the page-but other areas haven’t been perfect); they still have a veteran team of solid play-makers; and managed to win Sunday even without Ed Reed, Jared Gaither and Mark Clayton.
They’ll have to keep winning for it to mean anything. As Derrick Mason put so well following the win-the game means “nothing if (the Ravens) can’t win the next game.” The good news is that they should be able to keep winning. The remainder of the schedule (vs. Chicago, @Pittsburgh, @Oakland) sets up well for a team that has not lost a game all season to a team who currently has a record of 7-6 or worse.
But they proved they weren’t a bad team Sunday-which is exactly what they NEEDED to do.
5:25-Kelley Washington (ankle) and Ray Rice (chest) were the only injured Ravens who did not return today. Rice is clearly not believed to be serious, while there was no further information available on Washington.
5:18-Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:
Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
G Ben Grubbs
LB Ray Lewis
LB Jarret Johnson
S Tom Zbikowski
4:14-Only the Lions. This one’s over. 48-3 Ravens. Back shortly with more.
4:12-Two minute warning. Anybody have any thoughts?
4:03-Troy Smith with a rushing TD. It’s 48-3 now. Mercifully, only 5:02 still to play in this one.
3 plays, 23 yards, 1:23 on the drive.
48 ties for most in a single game-since the Kyle Boller-lead Monday Night Football thrashing of the Packers back in 2005.
4:02-Jalen Parmele into the game….. (Yeah, I’m still here….)
3:53-Sam Koch with another tremendous punt. Just outstanding……
3:51-Ravens with a team single-game record 510 yards from scrimmage on the day!
3:50-Edgar Jones with a first down catch! Good for him!
3:48-In news that is about as pressing as Mark Clayton being OUT-Kevin Smith won’t return for the Lions with a knee injury.
3:47-Flacco finishes 13/20 230 yards and a TD on the day. Which gives DF a chance to put him back in the Tuesday Top 7….
3:40-Boy you hate seeing an injury like that to Kevin Smith. Just uncomfortable to look at……..
3:35-We’re through 3 quarters, and it looks like Troy Smith will finally be coming in to play….
3:30-I immediately take the previous statement back. Obviously-both McClain and McGahee went over 100 yards in last year’s win at Dallas.
Another McGahee TD-the Ravens now have a team record 4 rushing TD’s on the game. 41-3. They HAVE to take Flacco out now, right?
3:28-Willis McGahee is going to go over 100 yards as well. Don’t believe the Ravens have ever had 2 100 yard rushers in one game.
3:22-Why wouldn’t the Lions put Drew Stanton in this game? That would sorta force Harbaugh to go to Troy Smith….
3:18-A Willis McGahee TD. 34-3. There’s no one left in this place…..
6 plays, 61 yards, 3:08 on the drive.
Is there anything else on? I’d like to change the TV’s in the press box.
3:15-You have to imagine we WILL see Troy Smith in this game at some point…..
Hate seeing Todd Heap hurt himself in a 24 point game.
Louis Delmas questionable to return (ankle) for Detroit.
3:09-I know there’s still a game going on, it’s just tough for me to remain interested.
Hey! Justin Harper checks in! Weird…..
3:00-Tremendous grab by Demetrius Williams (no, really) before a Le’Ron McClain TD. Ravens piling it on at this point…..
11 plays, 74 yards, 6:10 on the drive. 27-3. Feel a bit bad for Mt. St. Joseph’s Jim Schwartz…..
2:58-Ray Rice getting attention on the Ravens sideline…..and we finally see Willis McGahee.
2:39-20-3 at the half. We’ll be back shortly. Because we have to.
2:38-Ngata limped off field. Harbaugh smart to call timeout there. Force the Lions to punt, give your team a chance to block it.
2:36-70,673 announced here at “The Bank” today. I say “announced” because many of them are not here.
2:32-Ravens can’t punch it in as their stellar goal line offense continues….Billy Cundiff enters and connects from 25, extending Baltimore’s lead to 20-3 with 1: to play in the half.
6 plays, 43 yards, 1:08 on the drive.
Don Carey is struggling to turn off his mic today….and keeping track of what’s going on in the football game.
2:31-Ray Rice is now over 200 yards of total offense for the game.
What’s going on with McGahee? Not in on the 3rd possession, now not in on the goal line…..
2:26-He was catching a pop-up, but nice work there by Chris Carr to get up and get some yards back on that play. Ravens will have a chance to put this one away before halftime….
2:23-Good challenge from John Harbaugh, that was easy to tell.
2:20-Antwan Barnes was FURIOUS that wasn’t ruled a sack. He should probably calm down a bit….
2:17-And with that, Ray Rice has gone over 1,000 yards rushing and 1,500 yards from scrimmage this season. He also has 133 yards rushing on the day, a team high for the season.
2:16-I told you Ray Rice was gonna have some long runs this season. 62 yards on that one.
4 plays, 69 yards, 1:00 on the drive…..17-3 Ravens.
2:15-Rough day for Don Carey’s crew………
2:14-The fact that Ray Rice just got 10 yards on that play makes me remember just how bad the Lions are……
2:10-Lions fortunate that kick made it through-but they cut Baltimore’s lead to 10-3 with about 4 and a half to play in the first half.
15 plays, 69 yards, 7:24 on the scoring drive (Credit to my buddy Rich Dubroff of Carroll County Times fame for keeping track for me.)
2:09-I was a bit surprised that the Ravens would have accepted that penalty. Declining and forcing Hanson to kick makes MUCH more sense.
2:07-2nd straight 3rd down play where Dennis Northcutt was WIDE OPEN in the middle of the field. Terrible.
2:06-The remarkable thing about that run from Kevin Smith there was that he only lost 5 yards. What the hell was he thinking?
2:05-I’m a bit surprised to not see a flag on that ball in the endzone……
2:04-Congratulations to City’s Bryant Johnson for making a catch here in his hometown. Hopefully there won’t be many more.
Dannell Ellerbe tackles Daunte Culpepper, but he gets the first down before the tackle. Lions approaching the red zone. What the hell?
2:02-Dennis Northcutt makes it a bit more difficult for me to say this one is over already.
Lions LS Don Muhlbach is QUESTIONABLE to return with an arm injury.
2:00-Ray Lewis encouraging the crowd to get pumped. The crowd encouraging Ray Lewis to tackle better.
1:58-Took over 19 minutes-but we finally have a timeout from John Harbaugh. Knew it had to be coming…..
Also, the Dolphins are leading the Jaguars 14-0 in Jacksonville, and the Colts are leading the Broncos 14-0 in Indianapolis in games with major playoff implications for the Ravens.
1:55-Worth noting: We’ve played more than 18 minutes of football-and Harbs hasn’t called a single timeout. Weird.
Also, Derrick Mason had the wind knocked out of him on that TD catch-he’s expected to return.
1:51-The Lions are just AWFUL. That will go down as a 62 yard TD pass, but credit the Lions for just bring terrible as Marvin White and Phillip Buchanon paved the way for that TD. Wow.
3 plays, 70 yards, 1:17 on the scoring drive. 10-0 Ravens
1:49-What a play over there by Todd Heap to push his way for 7 yards. Impressive strength.
No Willis McGahee yet today. Weird.
1:42-Kevin Smith and Ray Rice are BOTH going to go over 100 yards today. Brutal run defense at the end of the quarter has the Lions driving although trailing 3-0.
1:40 – Drew Forrester knows more about football than I do. I thought that was worth pointing out.
1:38-All targets today have been Ray Rice and Derrick Mason, correct? Yikes.
Billy Cundiff says his head his fine, he knocks it through from 38 to put the Ravens ahead 3-0 late in the first.
7 plays, 45 yards, 3:12 on the drive
1:36-Probably because the 2nd drive was so short, John Harbaugh kept Ray Rice in. Good call. He and Le’Ron McClain work the ball into the red zone.
1:32-I thought Culpepper had the spot there. Big measurement to get the Ravens off the field. They need to mix up their runs on this drive-Willis McGahee will enter the game as it is the 3rd possession.
1:30-Strong move there by Culpepper to avoid the sack. That leaves the Lions with a 3rd and 1 instead of 3rd and long.
1:29-Boy what a run there by Kevin Smith on 1st down. Credit the Ravens for TERRIBLE tackling, but very nice run.
1:28-If you’re interested, DeAngelo Smith’s forced fumble has been switched to Larry Foote. I’m guessing you probably weren’t interested.
1:26-Pretty dreadful series there for Joe, but Sam Koch with a hell of a punt to put the Lions inside their own 20.
Ravens continue to struggle out of the gate offensively. Ray Rice’s fumble hurt-but they looked TERRIBLE on their 2nd drive.
1:24-If Joe Flacco throws that ball where he’s supposed to, Derrick Mason gets a big gain.
What in the world is going on with Don Carey’s crew? Was it a penalty or not?
1:22-That Jason Hanson miss there tells me that kicking will be a tough task today. Miss was from 45-keeping this one scoreless.
1:18-Calvin Johnson is just plain taller than Domonique Foxworth or Tom Zbikowski. He has the ability to get a ball like that. The Ravens are fortunate he didn’t come down with it.
Aaron Brown with the big run? What’s going on here?
Jarret Johnson hobbles off…..
1:16-Trevor Pryce with a COSTLY roughing the passer on a play where Dawan Landry made an EASY interception. Frustrating start for this team right now.
1:14-Lardarius Webb was absolutely STUNNED by the move Calvin Johnson just put on him. Ouch.
1:12-That makes it 2 fumbles in 2 weeks for Ray Rice in the red zone. Look, there’s NO DOUBT that he’s the team MVP this season-but that’s just completely unacceptable.
Credit DeAngelo Smith from Detroit for the forced fumble.
1:11-Demetrius Williams checks in as a 3rd WR. Would be a nice spot for a fade on 3rd down.
1:09-If I had to guess, that won’t be the last HUGE run from Ray Rice today. He would have been a “must play” in Fantasy Football.
1:05-Great penetration there by Haloti Ngata and company to bring down Kevin Smith on that 3rd and short. Ravens didn’t want to let Daunte Culpepper and company feel too good about themselves early on.
A number of Ravens fans are here today dressed as purple seats. Can’t REALLY say I blame anyone for skipping this one.
1:03-Lions win the toss and come out throwing. No surprise there. Big 3rd and 2 early from midfield.
1:01-I’ll confirm that Oher will start at LT, Yanda at RT, and Chris Chester at RG.
Also, Chris Myers is calling today’s game for FOX alongside Tim Ryan instead of Sam Rosen. No word on why Rosen isn’t here.
12:25 Weather.com says 40s and rain THROUGHOUT today’s Ravens-Lions game. I get the feeling that there will be thousands of empty seats, as fans have taken to Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist and eBay to try to dump their tickets this week.
12:06-We have an update on the Lions inactives. FB Terrelle Smith is ACTIVE and will START, FB Jerome Felton is INACTIVE.
Also for the Lions-RG Dylan Gandy will start for Daniel Loper (active, back) and RE Cliff Avril will start for Dewayne White.
The team waived WR Eric Fowler this week, and moved TE Jake Nordin to the active roster.
11:48-I don’t have an official note on how the O-Line will shuffle with Jared Gaither out, but I assume Michael Oher will play LT, Marshal Yanda will play RT, and Chris Chester will play RG. Just an assumption however; and with Tony Moll and Oniel Cousins both active-either could be in the mix.
11:44-Tom Zbikowski will start for Ed Reed today, Kelley Washington will start for Mark Clayton.
11:22-Here are your inactives:
QB John Beck (3rd QB)
S Ed Reed (groin/foot)
OL David Hale (concussion)
OT Jared Gaither (foot)
TE LJ Smith (ankle)
WR Mark Clayton (hamstring)
NT Brandon McKinney (back)
NT Kelly Talavou
QB Matthew Stafford (3rd QB)
DB Jahi Word-Daniels
FB Terrelle Smith
C Melvin Fowler
OT Corey Hilliard
TE Casey FitzSimmons (concussion)
DT Andre Fluellen (groin)
DE Dewayne White (toe)
10:55-Greetings from the press box at M&T Bank Stadium in a rainy downtown Baltimore, where the 6-6 Baltimore Ravens continue their quest to reach the playoffs against the 2-10 Detroit Lions.
Make sure you follow us throughout the day here at WNST.net, as well as on Twitter (@WNST) and on our WNST Text Service (text “WNST” to 68255 to get updates) for everything you need to know today.
WR Mark Clayton is OUT-per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In a related story, Tiger Woods cheated on his wife.
I don’t mean to downplay that-it’s just that we all KNEW Mark Clayton (hamstring) was out today, which is why the Ravens waived FB Charles Ali yesterday and moved WR Justin Harper to the active roster.
I CERTAINLY don’t expect to see S Ed Reed (you name it) today, and would say LB Terrell Suggs (knee) is unlikely.