The Baltimore Ravens took the field for their second game of the 2012 NFL preseason, falling to the Detroit Lions, 20-12, on Aug. 17 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.

Here’s how preseason Game Two against the Lions played out…

Baltimore’s starters make-up for last week’s slow start
The Ravens’ starting units, both offensive and defensive, did a better job of producing plays early in the game, in comparison to how they started Game One of the preseason last week vs. the Atlanta Falcons.

Starting quarterback Joe Flacco made some nice passes down field, including a 20-yard pass to veteran receiver Anquan Boldin that helped set up a field-goal converted by veteran kicker Billy Cundiff. Flacco completed only 7-of-12 passes for 79 yards when he left the game in the first quarter, but he had the Ravens up 6-0 upon his departure. Boldin left the game with two catches for 31 yards.

Ravens fifth-year running back Ray Rice played during only the first two possessions of the game, rushing for 12 yards on five carries while catching two passes for 11 yards.

“We were able to move the ball, the first group, but touchdowns are always better than field goals. Joe did a good job of running the offense at the line. That is something we are working on regularly,” said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Ravens second-year starter and former University of Maryland receiver Torrey Smith sat out with a minor injury so backup receiver and Baltimore native LaQuan Williams, who also played for Maryland, started in Smith’s place. Williams made a couple of impressive catches against the sidelines that also helped the Ravens get into scoring territory.

Baltimore’s starting defense also played well, keeping Detroit’s starting offense scoreless in the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter against the Ravens’ first-string defense, Lions’ starting quarterback Matthew Stafford completed only 4-of-7 passes for 17 yards and a 69.9 passer rating. But the Lions kept their offensive starters in the game much longer than Baltimore did, leaving them in until the four-minute mark of the second quarter.

Detroit all-pro receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson went on to dominate Baltimore’s second-string defense, finishing with 5 catches for 111 yards and an 18-yard touchdown pass. Stafford eventually finished completing 12-of-17 passes for 184 yards, two touchdowns and a game passer rating of 145.2.

Ravens’ backups make an impression
Baltimore’s second-string defense had a hard time competing against Detroit’s starters throughout most of the second quarter, but they played much better once the Lions inserted their own back-ups. Detroit’s reserves were held to just six offensive points scored for most of the last three quarters, but the Lions scored a touchdown on a 73-yard run with only 43 seconds left in the game.

On offense, backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, one of the few African-American quarterbacks in the league, made some productive plays for the Ravens. He’s excited fans with his elusive mobility, running for 60 yards on seven carries. But he also proved he needs a lot more work before he becomes a consistent passer as he completed only 8-of-21 passes for 65 yards. Taylor will have to improve his accuracy hitting receivers on intermediate passing routes, but he’ll have plenty of time to advance his game as a backup for Flacco.

Rookie backup kicker Justin Tucker also made an impression in his second game played as a Raven. He came in after Cundiff and nailed a 50-yard field goal with plenty of room to spare, and also converted a 45-yarder late in the fourth quarter. The rookie from the University of Texas also kicked an onside kick late in the fourth quarter that the Ravens were able to recover for a late shot at a comeback. Tucker is the current backup to Cundiff, but there’s a great chance that he will end up winning the starting spot by the start of the regular season. Tucker has out-kicked Cundiff throughout the entire Ravens’ training camp so far.

The Ravens (1-1 preseason) will be back at M&T Bank for their third of four preseason games on Aug. 23. Kickoff time scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor