Though the Baltimore Ravens beat the Detroit Lions 19-17, there’s probably a part of the team’s coaching staff that understands deep down just how lucky the team was to escape with a win and a 2-1 record.
Most of the afternoon, the Lions outplayed the Ravens, even amid a slow start that saw the team down 10-0 at halftime and 13-0 early in the second half. When Detroit roared back, it appeared they were poised to win until Justin Tucker drilled a record 66 yard field goal to send the home fans away dejected again.
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Even in spite of that turn of events, though, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh took time out immediately after the game to credit the Lions for playing a tough game and battling. As he also said, he thinks Dan Campbell is doing a good job coaching the team, and he remains impressed with the Lions.
“I want to salute the Lions on the football game they played. They played a winning football game, they did. They played a really great football game in the second half,” he said. “They did what they needed to do and I’m very impressed with that football team. I’m very impressed with what Coach (Dan) Campbell is doing with that football team.”
Impressed is not often a word used for 0-3 football teams, but the Lions seem to have broken that mold a bit in 2021. Through the first three weeks, they’ve been close in all of their games and shown solid fight throughout. That’s got the attention of those around the league as the team tries to build things for the future.
Harbaugh Responds to Potential Delay of Game Penalty
If his own team’s big win seemed more than a bit controversial to the home folks, Harbaugh also did his part to try and explain why he didn’t believe there was a missed call that perhaps puts an asterisk by the victory in the minds of some.
As Harbaugh explained, he didn’t believe there was a delay of game penalty missed thanks to how things operate on the field of play.
“That’s not going to be a delay of game because of the way they operate. There’s always leeway on that. It happens all the time when we’re on defense,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a mechanic that the officials go through. They look to see if the ball is up, then they go to the clock. So, it’s not like they’re looking at the clock and they can’t see both things at once. They’ve got a way that they do that, and the mechanic would not have made that a delay of game.”
Nothing definitive has come out from the NFL after the fact, save for referee Scott Novak’s pool report in which he admitted he had “no idea” about whether a call was blown or not. Still, fans are feeling more than a bit miffed after watching the play clock tick down to nothing without a stoppage or penalty, and many believe the team was ripped off in the loss.
Dan Campbell: Lions Must Keep Pushing
Campbell, for his part, admitted while he is always upset with losing, he also believes the team is trending in the right direction for the future thanks to how they are performing early on in the 2020 season. As he told the media after the game on September 26, he believes the pressure the team is facing now will only make them much better later on.
“If you really want a sharpened sword, if you want something elite, you gotta put it under a lot of pressure and that’s what we’re under right now. I think we’re going to come out the other end pretty good out of this,” Campbell said. “We just can’t get discouraged and we can’t stop continuing to believe and fight, because I see where it’s going. I can see it. I feel like things became a little more clear today and I love the grit of this freaking team, I do.”
Clearly, Campbell’s peers realize the work he is doing and how positive it looks early on.