Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/18/12
Two playoff teams from last season squared off on Friday night in their second preseason game of the month. The Detroit Lions, trying to put behind a chaotic offseason, traveled to Baltimore to face a Ravens team that was a dropped touchdown away from a Super Bowl berth.

Even though these are playoff caliber teams, the two franchises had several things they wanted to work on against a quality opponent.

For Baltimore, Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense established what Fox color commentator Brian Billick called a “sugar” no-huddle. It allowed the Ravens to dictate the pace of the game picking and choosing when to hurry to the line and when to slow it down.

Despite the sugar no-huddle offense, running back Ray Rice and full back Vonta Leach still remained on the field. Some experts have speculated that if the Ravens run this type of offense, they would not be able to feature their star backs as often. That was not the case Friday.

Baltimore effectively moved the ball down field as Flacco completed seven of 12 passes for 79 yards, but they were unable to score touchdowns once in the red zone. Rice also only ran for 12 yards on five carries. The Ravens settled for four field goal attempts including three in the first half.

The good news for Baltimore was all four field goal attempts were successful. After last year’s playoff miss by Billy Cundiff in the AFC Championship game, the Ravens found it necessary to bring in a rookie kicker, Justin Tucker, to compete with Cundiff for the starting job. Cundiff made 33 and 44-yard field goals while Tucker was good from 45 and 50 yards away.

After Flacco and the starting offense left the game, Baltimore gave Quarterback Tyron Taylor extensive playing time. Taylor and Colts former backup Quarterback Curtis Painter are in a battle for the backup quarterback job. Baltimore still used the sugar no-huddle with Taylor, and he looked great moving the ball with his legs, but he completed just eight of his 22 pass attempts.

The question marks for the Ravens did not end on the offensive side of the ball. They were able to hold the Lions to under 20 yards rushing in the first half, but gave up well over 200 yards through the air. On the first drive in the second quarter, second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith was completely outmatched by Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson. Although lots of cornerbacks are manhandled by Megatron, he caught three passes for 83 yards and a touchdown on the drive alone; he finished the game with five catches, 111 yards and a score while barely playing into the second quarter.

It is easy to say Baltimore needs to shore up its secondary, but some of the big passing yards allowed could be credited to the loss of Linebacker Terrell Suggs. Without Suggs, the Ravens had very little pressure on Stafford.

For the Lions, as mentioned, the passing game looked great as the Stafford-Johnson connection has never looked better, but it is the Detroit running game, however, that has experts skeptical about how far this team can go. Detroit did finish the game with 166 yards on the ground, but 76 of those yards came on one play with under a minute to go when Stephfon Green scampered three-quarters of the field for a touchdown.

In the first half against the Ravens top defense, the Lions managed less than 20 yards rushing. They should have more success against other teams since Baltimore always ranks near the top in rushing defense, but the Lions will have to be better on the ground to be a Super Bowl contender. Last year, Detroit was ranked 29th in the league in rushing.

The last thing Detroit really needs to work on is their discipline. The Lions were penalized 11 times on Friday night including three personal fouls. Lots of questions surround this organization and their discipline because of all the arrested players this offseason. It remains too early to tell if the arrests will have a direct correlation to the amount of penalties and personal fouls the Lions have, but head coach Jim Schwartz would really like to get the problem under control before a correlation is discovered.

To conclude on a fantasy football note, second-year wide out for the Lions, Titus Young, had just one catch, but it was for 24 yards and a touchdown. With all kinds of defensive attention more than likely going Megatron’s way, it would not be a surprise if Young had a breakout season statistically. 

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Winners and losers from NFL Saturday in Week 15

Lions break out Rockettes celebration after touchdown

Steve Kerr: Draymond Green shoulder issues ‘a little bit concerning’

Dodgers reacquire Matt Kemp from Braves for Adrian Gonzalez

Lakers’ Caldwell-Pope to miss games due to legal agreement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Boise State gets too cute on Statue of Liberty play

Bill Cowher has no interest in coaching New York Giants

Report: Yankees re-sign CC Sabathia to $10 million contract

Baker Mayfield has high praise for Georgia defense

Is Vince McMahon looking to bring back the XFL?

Conor McGregor wants 'a real fight', says MMA is next up for him

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Five MLB teams that should trade for Manny Machado

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Eight NFL teams who simply need to start over

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Boogie, Z-Bo reach out and punch someone

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Boogie, Z-Bo reach out and punch someone

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker