Blown call, conservative coaching, and a record-breaking field goal burn the Detroit Lions in Week Three.
At this point, I assume that the Detroit Lions have a direct line to the NFL officials. If it’s not Calvin completing the catch, or the phantom hands to the face from Trey Flowers, or an inadvertent whistle in New Orleans, or something as simple as a coin toss before overtime, the Detroit Lions are no strangers to game-deciding botched calls.
The Detroit Lions entered halftime down 10-0 at home on Calvin Johnson day. After an awful half on the offensive side of the football, the Detroit Lions, with help from Anthony Lynn’s play-calling, found a way to match their defense’s intensity in the second half and even took the lead late with under two minutes left in the ball game.
For the Lions, the halftime adjustments were simple, get the football in the hands of D’Andre Swift more. The talented tailback finished the game making seven receptions totaling 60 yards to go with his 47 rushing yards and a score on 14 totes. Jamaal Williams also scored a second-half rushing touchdown and gained 42 yards on 12 carries.
After a shaky first half while under heavy stress most of the time, Jared Goff bounced back in the second half and commanded Lynn’s offense exceptionally well. Goff only threw for 217 yards and did not turn the football over.
Kalif Raymond led the Lions in receiving with six grabs totaling 68 yards.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Detroit Lions marched down the football field down 15-14 and kicked a go-ahead field goal with just over a minute left. Detroit ran the football on the first two plays as expected to force John Harbaugh and the Ravens to take their two remaining time outs.
I would have liked to see Lynn call a play-action pass on third down with a shot at the endzone in mind rather than settle for a field goal, but I do understand simply running it a third straight time to remove an additional 40 seconds off the clock and kick the field goal.
Without having any time-outs remaining, Baltimore got the football back with just over a minute to go. The Detroit Lions’ defense flustered Lamar Jackson with immense pressure on the first three plays of the series, forcing a fourth down and 19 yards to go.
That’s when the Lions made what I felt was a vital mistake.
The timeout-less Ravens were scrambling to come up with one final heave; the Detroit Lions called a time out.
The time out was to make sure the defense was in a ‘safe’ prevent defense. After seeing so much success sending pressure over the first three downs, Aaron Glenn backed everyone off the line of scrimmage in the prevent look and only sent three rushers.
When Lamar Jackson is playing quarterback, and you send just a three-man rush, you might as well send none. Jackson had a lifetime to find an open receiver near midfield, eventually setting up Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker for a record-breaking 66-yard field goal attempt.
Officials miss a call on the play right before Justin Tucker’s kick sinks the Detroit Lions.
But on the play before the field goal attempt, the Ravens clearly should have been flagged for delay of game. You can clearly count an additional two seconds with ease in the video below after the play clock expired before the Ravens snapped the football.
It seems these things only happen to the Detroit Lions.
You can point to Lynn not being aggressive late on Detroit’s final drive as they seemed to settle for a field goal, but as I mentioned before, I was ok with the mindset there.
I have a problem with Campbell calling a time-out prior to Baltimore’s 4th and 19 to go, and it just killed Detroit’s momentum. And I have a HUGE problem with the missed call on the play before Tucker’s 66-yard attempt that hit the crossbar and rolled through the uprights.
That attempt should have come from 71-yards out, not 66. I guess Detroit fans have grown accustomed to these missed calls, but that doesn’t make it right. This will go down as another embarrassing missed call by the officials and a call that decided a football game.