Analysis: Mixed Results as Lions Fall 17-6

While the Lions were able to list some positives coming out of their 17-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, there were plenty of things for the coaching staff to add to their "worries" list. Lions' insider Mike Fowler provides his analysis on the Lions 17-6 loss.

While the Lions were able to list some positives coming out of their 17-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, there were plenty of things for the coaching staff to add to their "worries" list.

First and foremost, Detroit special teams continue their trend of allowing teams to get outside of containment for long returns. A couple of ticky tack penalty calls on Baltimore nullified two long returns, one that would have been a touchdown by rookie B.J. Sams.

When Leon Brightful returned a kick to near midfield after a Detroit field goal, Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci was incensed and rightfully so. Few teams spend as much time working on special teams as the Lions. While penalties bailed them out on three different occasions, nullifying long returns, the continued ability of opposing return units to get outside containment concerns the Lions coaching staff. Detroit was forced to insert starting linebacker Donte Curry and fullback Cory Schleshinger to shore up the unit.

Detroit's offensive line was unable to establish the line of scrimmage against Baltimore's tough front seven. Baltimore was able to get penetration in the run game particularly against Stockar McDougle and David Loverne.

Give the unit credit for protecting quarterback Joey Harrington, allowing him time to complete 11-of-20 passing for 98 yards. Detroit will not be able to run their offense effectively until the offensive line can spring their running game.

Detroit's first team secondary was left out on an island several times as the team concentrated on stopping the run by committing seven and eight men to the box. Give the Lions credit for keeping everything in front of them on those occasions, not allowing the big play. Fernando Bryant appears to be a sure tackler and doesn't shy away from run support.

The Lions starting linebacking corps of Curry, Earl Holmes and Teddy Lehman played well, despite Lehman's tendency to over run plays. Curry, in particular, looks as if he could stay in the starting lineup even after Boss Bailey returns. Wali Rainer contributed five tackles in relief of Holmes.

Rookie Roy Williams got his feet wet with his first three NFL catches including one where he shook linebacker Ray Lewis and picked up a first down. Williams finished with three catches for 40 yards and a healthy shot of confidence in his ability to play in the NFL.

Definitely mixed results in the all important third preseason game. Detroit's coaching staff still has plenty of work to do prior to hitting the road against Chicago Sept 12th in the preseason opener.

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