BALTIMORE – The slow starts are becoming a theme here in Detroit.
Make it four games in a row now the Lions have fallen behind by double digits in the first half. Sunday, against the Ravens, the deficit reached 20-0 in the first half.
Against the Browns and Bears to begin this streak of slow starts, the Lions were able to battle back and win after falling behind early. Against the Vikings and Ravens the last two weeks — two playoff teams — the hole was too much to dig out of.
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens would go on to win, 44-20, despite the Lions battling back to within a score in the fourth quarter.
It was more of the same problems that have plagued the Lions in previous weeks that hurt them again Sunday. They allowed big plays on defense — a 66-yard strike from Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace in the first quarter set up their first score. Detroit also turned the ball over, which led to Baltimore's second touchdown and a 17-0 lead. It's the fourth straight game a Lions first-half turnover has turned into points for their opponents.
As they've done the previous three weeks, Detroit battled back in the second half. Touchdown runs by Theo Riddick and Tion Green, and a touchdown pass from Stafford to Nick Bellore kept the game close, but they could never get over the hump and tie the score or take the lead.
The Ravens scored 24 points in the fourth quarter, a franchise record for them, getting touchdowns from Alex Collins (2), Eric Weddle (43-yard interception return off Jake Rudock) and a 51-yard Justin Tucker field goal to run away with it.
QB Comparison: Joe Flacco entered the game with a passer rating of just 74.2, which ranked 31st in the NFL among qualified passers. But against the Lions, he found his groove. He threw two first half touchdowns and finished with a passer rating of 105.0. He completed 23 of his 36 passes for 269 yards.
Stafford was pretty good in the loss. He was 24-of-29 passing with a touchdown and an interception. He finished with a 105.0 passer rating, but left the game late in the fourth quarter with a right hand injury following an interception.
Green debut:** Lions rookie running back Tion Green has been on Detroit's 53-man roster all season, but was inactive the first 10 weeks of the season. Green was given an opportunity to make his NFL debut Sunday, and made quite the impression on his first carry.
Green took the handoff 33 yards down to Baltimore's 31-yard line. The play set up a 43-yard Matt Prater field goal attempt that he unfortunately missed.
Green recorded his first career touchdown on a six-yard run in the third quarter that trimmed Baltimore's lead to 20-13. Green finished with 51 yards on 11 carries (4.6 average) and that one score.
Streaking: Stafford completed 20 straight passes at one point vs. Baltimore, which set a new team record. The previous record of 13 straight passes was also held by Stafford. He set that mark last year in a win over New Orleans.
Injury report: Injuries hit the Lions hard in this one, especially on offense.
The big one is to the right hand of Stafford. Throwing an interception in the fourth quarter to Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Stafford came up holding his right hand. He went right to the locker room and didn't return.
Already without starting center Travis Swanson (knee), Detroit lost right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) and right guard T.J. Lang (foot) in the game.
The Lions were rolling with Taylor Decker (LT), Corey Robinson (RG), Graham Glasgow (C), Don Barclay (RG) and Brian Mahalik (RT) at one point in the second half before Lang returned.
The Lions also lost Ziggy Ansah for spurts in the game, though he did return and finish.
Defensive end Cornelius Lucas injured a shoulder in the second half and didn't return. Defensive tackle Christian Ringo also left the game in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury.