5 reasons for the Ravens' loss

1. In an alarming breakdown of discipline and composure, the Baltimore Ravens lost it emotionally during a 35-17 debacle of a loss to the Detroit Lions. The Ravens (1-3) committed a franchise-record 21 penalties for 147 yards, including four unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Two of those fouls spelled the ejections of rush end Terrell Suggs and safety B.J. Ward for making contact with the officials.

 It was an ugly display compounded by the Ravens' inability to steady themselves and stop committing the penalties. Whether it was cornerback Chris McAlister throwing the football at former teammate Kevin Johnson after intercepting a pass or nose guard Maake Kemoeatu flipping off the crowd with his middle finger or wide receiver Derrick Mason, normally the voice of reason, throwing the football at the wall below the stands or Suggs bumping and jawing at referee Mike Carey after being flagged for roughing the passer, or Ward getting thrown out while trying to hold back safety Ed Reed from going after Lions tight end Casey FitzSimmons, it was a lack of self-control. In Ward's case, it appeared to be an unjustified ejection because he was holding back Reed from going after FitzSimmons. Reed pointed his finger at FitzSimmons, upset about a cut block and inadvertently brushed against the official while Ward tried to hold him back. Again, the Ravens' lack of sportsmanship cost them dearly.

2. The Ravens' ire was raised in the first quarter when Carey ruled after an instant-replay review that Lions quarterback Joey Harrington fumbled because the football was loose in his hands prior to being hit and wasn't in the act of a forward pass. The Ravens stopped playing even though there was no whistle. Running back Kevin Jones alertly picked up the ball and scooted to the Ravens' 2 for a 27-yard run. Two plays later, Jones scored his second touchdown and Detroit led 14-0.

3. Quarterback Anthony Wright hindered the Ravens' cause greatly by throwing two interceptions to Lions Pro Bowl cornerback Dre' Bly. First, Wright forced the football into coverage trying to get the ball to Mason in the first quarter. Three plays later, Jones was in the end zone with a 14-yard touchdown run on a play where safety Will Demps got blocked by Roy Williams and McAlister lost contain outside. Wright's second interception was disastrous, too. With the ball at the Lions' 11 after Suggs' interception return, Wright tried to go to Randy Hymes, who was covered. Bly picked it off again. Wright completed 20 of 37 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns for a 68.5 passer rating.

4. Fullback Ovie Mughelli fumbled after catching a swing pass with Baltimore trailing 14-0 in the first quarter. He would have given the Ravens possession at the Lions' 35. Mason lost a fourth-quarter fumble. It was recovered by a familiar name: Bly.

5. A strong rushing effort by Jamal Lewis, who gained 95 yards on 19 carries, and Chester Taylor (46 yards on nine carries) was squandered as Baltimore only converted half of its red-zone tries. Similarly, the defense's lack of discipline spoiled an eight-play goal-line stand and kept them from exploiting the ineptitude of Lions quarterback Joey Harrington. He was 10 of 23 for 97 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a 34.1 rating. Yet, somehow Baltimore found a way to lose inexplicably and remain in last place in the AFC North.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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