Winning on six field goals is something I’d never think I’d see the Ravens do. The Justin Tucker-led Ravens beat the Detroit Lions 18-16 at Ford Field to keep their playoff hopes alive and reclaim the sixth playoff seed. Here are five things to take away from the game.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith has had much criticism thrown his way, since he has been drafted, for poor play. While he’s played better as the season has gone on, I believe he has shut most of his critics up for the rest of the season. Smith held the best receiver in the league in Calvin Johnson to 3 receptions and 26 yards in the first half. Smith played physical and made great open field tackles on the 6’ 5” Wide Receiver. I was one a Smith’s biggest critics coming into this season, now I’m one his biggest supporters. Smith and teammate Lardarius Webb have become one of the league’s top Cornerback tandems. All in all, I say Matt Elam owes Smith a few drinks, or maybe a watch.
Coming into the game, the Ravens’ offensive line looked to be overmatched by the highly talented defensive line of Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Ziggy Ansah, and Willie Young. The Ravens held their own against the Lions’ formidable pass rush, only giving up one sack and four Quarterback hits. Eugene Monroe had another horrible game, giving up a few free releases off the left edge. Monroe’s bad games are starting to pile makes him being re-signed by the Ravens very questionable.
21 carries for 91 yards, what’s that? Yup, nothing has changed, the Ravens’ running game is still one of the worst in the league. Surprisingly, Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce each had one good 10+ yard run against the fourth best run defense in the league, but those were the only bright spots. If the Ravens want to be serious playoff contenders, they need to get more out of their run game, not 35 yards out of your feature back.
The Ravens had three turnovers and no offensive touchdowns, that is both terribly good and terribly bad. Getting turnovers is what can make a playoff caliber team. Not scoring offensive touchdowns, however, is something more akin to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens couldn’t capitalize with touchdowns on Quarterback Matthew Stafford’s three interceptions, which would not fly on any other given Sunday. Capitalizing on turnovers and not getting shutout on offense are big fixes needed for the Ravens if they make the playoffs.
6 for 6 on field goals including a 61-yard game winner. Justin Tucker? Justin Tucker.
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