Monday Ravens notes: Ravens squander chances

DETROIT -- Even though the running game regained its stride and timing, the Baltimore Ravens couldn't avoid losing their fifth road game in a row in a streak that dates back to last year. Despite running back Jamal Lewis rushing for a season-high 95 yards on 19 carries as Baltimore (1-3) registered a season-high 159 yards on 30 carries, the Ravens faltered in the red zone.

They scored on only half (2 for 4) of their red-zone opportunities as quarterback Anthony Wright threw an interception in the end zone to Dre' Bly in the second quarter when he stared down Randy Hymes.

Plus, fullback Ovie Mughelli and wide receiver Derrick Mason both fumbled in Detroit territory.

"Anytime you're in the red zone, we should be able to capitalize," Lewis said. "It kind of hurt us. We let one get away. They couldn't stop us. We're supposed to capitalize on those opportunities and we didn't."

The Ravens had 387 yards of total offense on 68 plays, averaging 5.7 yards per snap and producing 26 first downs.

It wasn't enough, though, as 21 penalties and four turnovers doomed them to a loss.

"The turnovers and penalties are going to get you beat every time, every single time," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

When problems arose, the Ravens didn't do a good job of handling adversity.

"We need to do a better job of reacting to it," said tight end Todd Heap, who caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in the second half. "We shot ourselves in the foot and we can't have that happen."

HARD-NOSED: Lions running back Kevin Jones wasn't intimidated by Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis, and it showed in his performance and demeanor.

Jones gained only 58 yards on 26 carries, but posted two touchdown runs. He ran over Lewis once, knocking him down on a missed tackle and stiff-armed safety Will Demps twice.

"If you come out and play soft against the Ravens, they're going to get you," Jones said. "They're a physical team and you have to play physical when you play against the Ravens."
Jones imitated Lewis' trademark introductory dance after his first touchdown in an abbreviated carbon copy of what Terrell Owens did last year in mocking Lewis. This rivalry, though, despite considerable trash talking remained respectful.

"He's a great linebacker," Jones said. "I give him a lot of respect. He told me to just keep that burst after the game. He loved the way I played and I loved the way he played."

Added Lewis: "I told him he was good. He was dominating. This is a very good kid. I had spoken to Kevin Jones before and I told him, ‘Just keep your head up.'"

PUTTING IT OFF: Clearly stunned by what transpired, Billick declined to elaborate much on his team's multiple issues.

"I am afraid I'm not going to be much help to you right now," Billick said. "I am not prepared to give you a lot of observations until I absorb this and look at the film and decide what happened and how we are going to go forward."

STRUGGLING: Wright threw two interceptions, two touchdowns and completed 20 of 37 passes for a 68.5 passer rating.

On both of his interceptions to Lions cornerback Dre' Bly, Wright appeared to stare down his primary read.

"A new quarterback to get going is going to throw to his best receivers," Bly said. "I knew I was going to get opportunities to make plays."

COMEBACK HALTED: The Ravens were only down 14-10 at halftime, but the comeback quickly came undone.

Baltimore punted to open the half, and then Detroit took a 21-10 lead after an 18-play, 73-yard drive that lasted 9 minutes and 38 seconds.

"That was very pivotal, very important," Billick said. "Obviously, you can't let a team control the ball that way."

NOT BACKING DOWN: Several of the Lions said they refused to be intimidated by the Ravens.

That group included former Baltimore receiver Kevin Johnson, who was limited to three catches for 25 yards.

"K.J. got a couple of licks on Ray Lewis," Bly said. "I think after the first time Ray tackled him, he got in his face. After that, K.J. popped him and Ray didn't say anything else."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens intercepted their first two passes of the season after having none in their first three games. Terrell Suggs and Chris McAlister picked off Joey Harrington for his sixth and seventh interceptions of the year. ... It was Mughelli's first NFL fumble. "As an individual, I'm not happy with my performance," he said. "I feel absolutely horrible." … Mughelli broke his thumb, but returned. .. Mason incurred a mild shoulder stringer and returned. The Detroit native caught six passes for 65 yards. … After a franchise-record 21 penalties, the Ravens have committed 42 penalties for 284 yards in four games. … The Ravens deactivated quarterback Kyle Boller (toe), wide receiver Patrick Johnson, fullback Alan Ricard (calf injury), center Jason Brown, offensive tackle Adam Terry, wide receiver Devard Darling, tight end Terry Jones and defensive end Tony Weaver (toe).

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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