Flacco, Collins account for 4 TDs as Ravens rout Lions
BALTIMORE —Linebacker Terrell Suggs gathered his teammates on the sideline and implored them to get back to playing Baltimore Ravens football, which means hard hits, turnovers and constant pressure.
The pep talk worked as Baltimore turned a close game back into a rout.
Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes and Alex Collins also ran for a pair of scores to lead the Ravens past the Detroit Lions 44-20 on Sunday.
Baltimore has won three consecutive games and improved to 7-5, boosting its chances for a spot in the postseason. The Lions, meanwhile, fell to 6-6 and will need some help to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“We just played a really good team game,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “It was a team victory all across the board. When things didn’t go well in one area, the other stepped up and got the job done. Just a really good team win.”
Detroit trailed 20-0 at the half, but Matthew Stafford completed 20 consecutive passes to help the Lions creep back in the game.
Detroit got on the board on the first drive of the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Theo Riddick. Another 6-yard scoring run by Tion Green cut the margin to 23-13 after Matt Prater missed the extra point.
Baltimore responded with a nine-play, 74-yard drive, capped by a 7-yard run by Collins. However, the Lions roared back on the next possession and Stafford pulled them to within 27-20 with a 1-yard pass to Nick Bellore, who is usually on the field as a linebacker.
A 51-yard field goal by Justin Tucker gave the Ravens some breathing room with 6:54 left in the game. The Ravens then pulled away after rookie Marlon Humphrey’s interception at the Lions’ 31. That set up a 6-yard run by Collins, increasing the lead to 37-20.
“The offense really picked up today,” Humphrey said. “That was the best offensive performance we’ve had all year. I don’t think many people were expecting that.”
Stafford suffered an injury to his right hand on the play and did not return. He completed 24 of 29 passes for 292 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Backup Jake Rudock entered the game and threw an interception to safety Eric Weddle, who returned the ball 45 yards for the score.
“We just need to execute better,” said Stafford, who doesn’t expect to miss any time with the injury. “We were down 20-0 at the end of the half and fought tooth and nail to get back into this game. I thought we were in a position to win it, but we didn’t get it done.”
Flacco was 23 of 36 for a season-high 269 yards. Mike Wallace caught five passes for 116 yards.
The Ravens tied a team record with 24 points in the fourth quarter.
“When you score touchdowns, you can feel the energy in the stadium,” Flacco said. “A game like this can do a lot for our confidence.”
Tucker gave Baltimore the early lead with a 38-yard field goal. Prater missed a 43-yard attempt for the Lions. It was his first miss from inside 50 yards this season.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. “We just didn’t do a very good job, starting with the missed field goal. A couple of drops here and miscues in scoring territory. We fought our way back in it. We get within one score and the bottom falls out. I just have to do a better job.”
Prater’s miss proved to be costly as Flacco hit Wallace with a 66-yard pass on the next play. Flacco then found tight end Benjamin Watson on a 1-yard touchdown pass for a 10-0 lead with 11:52 left in the half.
On the ensuing possession, Weddle forced a fumble on a sack of Stafford and defensive tackle Willie Henry recovered the ball on the Lions 36. Baltimore has forced 27 turnovers this season.
Flacco then found fullback Patrick Ricard for a 3-yard score, boosting the lead to 17-0 with 6:54 remaining in the second quarter.
Collins suffered a significant migraine after the game and team doctors suggested he shouldn’t do any post-game interviews.
NOTES: Baltimore suffered a blow when starting CB Jimmy Smith suffered a season-ending torn Achilles injury late in the second quarter. Smith is the Ravens’ top player in the secondary. ... The Lions’ running attack took a hit when Ameer Abdullah (neck) was inactive. He leads the team with 505 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Detroit finished with 78 yards on the ground. ... Ravens WR Breshad Perriman, the team’s first-round pick in 2015, was a healthy scratch for the second time in three weeks.