ALLEN PARK - The Lions might have stumbled onto a new way to win with one of the NFL's worst offenses -- let the defense and the officials do the heavy work, and take advantage of the opportunities when they come along.
That was the formula that worked for the offense-strapped Lions in their 35-17 victory over the Ravens on Sunday and -- considering the state of their offense -- they will probably try the same formula next week against the Panthers.
It's doubtful the Panthers will give up the penalty yardage as generously as the Ravens, who were found guilty of 21 penalties for 147 yards, resulting in eight of the Lions' 22 first downs.
But with an offense that has been floundering in the early stages of the season, the Lions can use all of the help they can get from their defense, which had four takeaways -- two interceptions by cornerback Dre' Bly and fumble recoveries by Bly and defensive end Cory Redding -- against Baltimore.
"I think we played well," said Bly. "Coming up short (against Tampa Bay) --
we had three or four turnovers and weren't able to punch it in and get points
out of it -- I think it was motivation for us to come out ... and play with more
energy and fire."
The defense played with energy and fire, and the offense played with calm and composure, refusing to be baited by Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed during the heat of battle when the game was still on the line.
The defense might be even more important in the Carolina game, depending how several offensive players respond after injuries Sunday.
The Lions have been hit particularly hard at the receiver position. Charles Rogers will be out for three more games, serving a four-game suspension under the NFL's substance abuse program; Roy Williams suffered a quad injury and missed the final three quarters of the Baltimore game; rookie Mike Williams spent part of the second half on the sideline trainer's table getting treatment for a sore back and muscle cramps; Eddie Drummond, also the punt and kick returner, suffered a shin injury on the opening kickoff return and missed the rest of the game; and Scottie Vines suffered a sprained ankle.
Not all of them will be out for the Panthers game, but it's obvious they're
going to need all the defense they can get.
The Lions took advantage of their opportunistic defense and the Ravens' total loss of composure to even their record at 2-2 with a 35-17 victory Sunday at Ford Field.
Cornerback Dre' Bly intercepted Baltimore quarterback Anthony Wright twice, the Lions recovered two fumbles and the Ravens kept several Detroit drives alive with 21 penalties for 147 yards. The Ravens also had two players -- defensive end Terrell Suggs and rookie free safety B.J. Ward -- ejected from the game.
Running back Kevin Jones staked the Lions to a 14-0 lead with scoring runs of
14 yards and 1 yard in the first 10:20 of the game. Baltimore eventually got
within four points (14-10) as time ran out in the first half, but the Lions
scored the next two touchdowns on a 1-yard run by Artose Pinner and a 2-yard
pass from Joey Harrington to tight end Casey FitzSimmons.
--CB Dre' Bly prides himself on being a playmaker, and he was at his occasionally reckless best Sunday in the Lions' 35-17 victory over Baltimore. Bly had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. On the first interception, he lateraled to an unexpecting LB Teddy Lehman, who bobbled the ball before recovering it. And on the second interception, Bly tried running it out of the end zone and got only as far as his own 4-yard line.
--QB Joey Harrington keeps struggling to get the ball to his receivers, completing just 10 of 23 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in the Lions' 35-17 victory over Baltimore on Sunday. He was also intercepted twice but made a touchdown-saving tackle against the Ravens' Terrell Suggs.
--WR Roy Williams caught just two passes for 24 yards against Baltimore before suffering a strained left quad muscle and going to the sidelines. He was feeling considerable soreness, according to coach Steve Mariucci, but there was no indication of his possible status for the game against Carolina next week.
--RB Kevin Jones had his biggest work day of the season with 26 carries in the Lions' 35-17 victory against Baltimore, but the yards are still not coming easily. Jones scored on runs of 1 and 14 yards but gained only 58 yards for the day and left the game after getting dinged on a goal-line run in the third quarter.
--KOR/PR Eddie Drummond, the Lions' Pro Bowl returner, didn't get past the opening kickoff return before leaving the Baltimore game with a badly bruised shin. Drummond was tripped up on a 15-yard return, flipped in the air and landed hard, but it was only his shin that was damaged.