BALTIMORE (AP)Having already beaten the powerful Kansas City Chiefs while getting off to their best start in 12 years, the Detroit Lions came to Baltimore with a 5-1 record, a solid grip on first place in the NFC North and with high expectations of knocking off another AFC contender.
By halftime, the Lions trailed by 28 points and looked every bit like one of those horrid Detroit teams of the not-so-distant past.
The Lions’ 38-6 loss Sunday served as proof that coach Dan Campbell’s rebuild still has a way to go.
“It takes every one of us to do it right,” Campbell said. “When we do it, we’re pretty good. When we don’t, it’s hard to overcome some of these things. We’re not that kind of a group.”
Although Detroit (5-2) looked awful against the Ravens (5-2), this Lions squad is still better than the ones that went 3-13 in 2021, 5-11 in 2020 and 3-12-1 the year before that.
That was the takeaway by Campbell and the team after Detroit allowed touchdowns on Baltimore’s first four possessions and failed to garner a first down before the score was 28-0.
“I’ll be the first to say, when you go three-and-out your first two series and they gain 14 points, that’s a hard recipe early in the game,” Campbell said. “You feel like you get put in a pretty tough spot in both areas.”
Coming into the game, the Lions had outscored their opponents 48-10 in the first quarter and 99-40 before halftime. In this one, it was 14-0 after the first quarter and 28-0 at intermission.
“We didn’t do much to help ourselves out those first few drives, didn’t get a first down there,” Detroit quarterback Jared Goff said. “We were putting pressure on our defense. It was no fun.”
Until Sunday, the Lions appeared to have distanced themselves from those lean years before the resurgence that began last season. Detroit opened the year by beating the defending champion Chiefs on the road and was poised to begin a season 6-1 for the first time since 1956 before being steamrolled by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and a defense that bottled up Goff for virtually the entire day.
Jackson went 21 for 27 for 357 yards and three touchdowns, and the versatile star also ran for 36 yards and a score.
“Lamar gave us problems,” Campbell said. “The combination of not getting very much pressure and having to cover a long time, we didn’t handle it well.”
Goff had a day to forget: 33 for 53 for 284 yards, but most of those numbers came after the game was all but decided. He was sacked five times and fumbled twice.
“They’re a great team and came out and got after us today. We came out and didn’t play our best on both sides of the ball,” Goff said. “The offense, we have a lot of things to clean up and it starts with me, just being better and making sure the ball is going where it needs to go.”
The Lions can only hope to learn from this defeat and come out with a better performance – and different result – in their next outing, a Monday night game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
“We’ve been through a whole lot worse than this,” Goff said. “We got our butts kicked, but this group has had a lot of adversity. This is kind of our first taste of getting kicked in the teeth this year, and we have to respond the right way.”
Campbell said: “You don’t want these to happen, but when it does, it re-centers you, it re-focuses you. Nobody likes to look over there and watch them having a good time because they kicked our (butt). Nobody thinks that’s fun.
“But I know that motivates me for next week, and it motivates our team. The shame would be if we don’t use this to get better for next week and it bleeds over to the Raiders. That would be the ultimate shame.”
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