Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) celebrates with guard Marshal Yanda (73) and tight end Ed Dickson (84) after kicking a 61 yard field goal during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Baltimore Ravens defeated the Detroit Lions 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions: The Story of the Stats

It is time for our midweek feature we all look forward to: The Story of the Stats! And indeed here on a Thursday after a Monday night game, we are already halfway to the next meeting – with some boys from New England and their cranky coach.

I could almost go back and copy the article from last week in regard to many of the features and numbers. And as with the Vikings game (and several others), the comment could be made that a quick glance at the stats without knowing the final score would seem to reveal a close contest probably won by the Ravens’ opponent – this time the Lions. Detroit had the edge in total yardage gained, time of possession, and red zone efficiency (2 for 2, while the Ebony Birds were 0 for 3).

Can you feel the big “But” coming? And no, I’m not talking about Legatron, although that is the great feature of the story of this game. But before the “but” let’s look at a list of relatively similar statistics…

Category Ravens Lions
Passing Yards 215 230
Rushing Yards 90 119
Total Yards 305 349
First Downs 18 19
Return Yards 105 64
Penalties 7-60 8-89
Possession 27:35 32:25

 

Variant Statistics

1.  Turnovers – Though the Ravens have recently beaten the general truth that the team turning the ball over the most generally losses, well, it remains a maxim that the team turning the ball over the most generally losses. And indeed, a major factor in the game was the three-interception early Christmas present from Matthew Stafford.

The first of these was on the fifth Detroit offensive play of the 2nd half, where a Lions’ drive was halted at the Baltimore 31 on a nimble pick by DeAngelo Tyson. At the time, the Ravens are leading 9-7. Instead of losing the lead, 38 yards later in the opposite the direction, Tucker expands the lead to 12-7.

In the 4th quarter with the Ravens leading 12-10, on a 3rd-and-2 at his own 33, a Stafford pass intended for Kris Durham is intercepted by Daryl Smith  Three-and-out later, Justin Tucker eeks a field goal through the posts from 53 yards to give the Ravens a 15-10 lead.

The third interception by Matt Elam was at the end of the game, freezing any slim hope of a final Detroit drive into field goal range.

Additionally, the only fumble in the game was on a hit of Flacco by Glover Quinn on the second play of the final quarter, but it was covered quickly by Gino Gradkowski at the Ravens 40.

2. Jacoby Jones – It was another fine day of work for Jones with six catches for 80 yards including a critical 3rd-and-15 in the final drive that netted 27 yards – from the Baltimore 28 to the Detroit 45. He would also contribute a 24-yard punt return and gain 60 return yards on two kickoffs – with 36 of them coming on a return to initiate the final game-winning drive.

3.  Youth Trumps Old Man Power – Matt Elam got to laugh last with his ill-advised public remarks about Calvin Johnson being pretty old (at age 28). Elam led all defensive statistics for the Ravens with seven tackles, three assists, and the final pick at the end of the game.

With Calvin Johnson dropping several passes, this will go down as a poor game for Megatron. Yet he still did pull in six for a total of 98 yards. If that is extended to a whole 16-game season of 96 passes and 1568 yards, it is still extraordinary. This is where 96 catches and 1568 yards would rank over the past several seasons …

Year Catches Yards
2012 8th 2nd
2011 4th 2nd
2010 3rd 1st
2009 8th 1st
2008 4th 2nd

 

4.  Justin Tucker Wears Purple and Black

It is a simple fact now that Tucker is the premier kicker in the NFL, along with being one of its most unique individuals. He is setting himself up for a broadcasting career in the style and flair of a younger John Kruk. Here is a quick ranking of the top 10 kickers in the NFL …

Rk

Tm

Age

G

FGA 

FGM

FG%

1

Justin Tucker BAL

24

14

37

35

94.6%

2

Stephen Gostkowski NWE

29

14

35

32

91.4%

3

Mason Crosby GNB

29

14

34

30

88.2%

4

Caleb Sturgis MIA

24

14

34

26

76.5%

5

Adam Vinatieri IND

41

13

33

29

87.9%

6

Randy Bullock HOU

24

14

32

23

71.9%

7

Steven Hauschka SEA

28

14

31

30

96.8%

8

Nick Novak SDG

32

14

31

28

90.3%

9

Nick Folk NYJ

29

14

31

30

96.8%

10

Garrett Hartley NOR

27

14

30

22

73.3%

 

5.  Intangibles – After a rough first half of the season, this team is coming together with an attitude that it expects to win and believes that they will come back from whatever current deficit faces them. Not every good team has this quality, let alone the fact that no mediocre or poor teams ever possess it.

This is becoming a fun team to watch and cover. It did not look that way just six weeks ago when this new sports site was launched in mid November.

Tags: Baltimore Ravens Justin Tucker

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