Detroit Lions show potential on defensive side of the ball

Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Detroit Lions.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Detroit Lions. /

While the focus of the Detroit Lions most recent struggles are highlighted by a record-setting field goal kick or a failed delay of game penalty, depending on your point of view, the team still managed to have the lead versus the Baltimore Ravens with little more than a minute left on the game clock on Sunday.  And that is more than most expected before the game kicked off.

The more impressive part of the game was the Lions’ ability to limit Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and the rest of their offense. It certainly helped that Ravens receiver Marquise Brown dropped a few sure touchdowns that day, but the defense showed more heart and ability to step up when needed.

You can always come back to the failure to stop the Ravens on 4th and 19 at the end of the game. That’s something the team wishes they could change. And it also gives them something to work on. But enough of the negatives, let’s look at the positives. They made stops and caused turnovers in important times during the game to get this Lions team back in the lead.

The Detroit Lions rushing defense is looking good

One of the most notable aspects of the Lions’ defense on Sunday was their ability to shut down the designed running plays. The Ravens running backs combined for a total of 58 rushing yards. Jackson was able to scramble for the exact same amount of yards. And, despite one big run, he was fairly limited by the Lions’ defense.

Here is what Kyle Meinke of MLive wrote about the Detroit Lions’ defensive effort on Sunday:

"“Those guys were waxed for the second-most points in the league in the first two weeks of the season, and had allowed at least 30 points in eight straight games going back to last season. Then Baltimore brought its league-best rushing attack to Ford Field, Detroit was without four guys who started games this season — and it still played pretty good most of the way.”"

The Ravens weren’t able to sit on their 13-point lead just after halftime. The Lions made them look to the air to move the ball and kept some time on the clock to mount a comeback. The defense forced three punts and four field goal attempts before coming away with an interception in the fourth quarter.

That final interception was also the only possession for either team that did not result in adding points to the scoreboard in the second half. While the Ravens were kicking field goals, the Lions were scoring touchdowns. Sure, you’d rather force a punt, but field goals instead of touchdowns by the Ravens kept the Lions in the game.

Obviously, in the end, the Lions failed to keep the Ravens down, but they gave it one heck of an effort to limit a team that was flying high after a big win against the Kansas City Chiefs in the previous week. If this Detroit Lions defense can adjust and give the Ravens fits, they are heading in the right direction and, if they keep it up, the wins will come.