The Ravens heard the roar.
The Detroit Lions came into Sunday’s game against Baltimore with just one loss, averaging 28 points per game and having racked up at least 350 yards of offense every week. They also arrived at M&T Bank Stadium with headlines and hype as one of the best teams in the NFL.
It wasn’t lost on Ravens players.
“I’m from the ‘show me’ business,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “A lot of things happened here and there, but you have to show me once we’re on the field. I don’t believe in all the things you hear and say. Like I said, that team hadn’t been tested just yet, so that’s what it was.
“I think the score is the judge, as well as … They got cheap yards at the end, but hats off to just the way we played as a team, and I’m just proud to be a part of it.”
That score, a 38-6 drubbing, was a statement — of a Ravens offense finally delivering the kind of explosive performance it hadn’t come close to this season, and of a defense that continues to find ways to sack the quarterback, create turnovers and stifle opposing offenses.
The Ravens came into the ballyhooed showdown with the Lions having given up 15.2 points per game. That number is now 13.8 after the Ravens allowed a meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown when the outcome was all but decided.
Was this a statement win?
“[It was] a statement for the outsiders who don’t quite know exactly what we’re about,” Smith said. “As far as the guys in the locker room, we had faith all week. Once we got back from London we knew exactly what were had at hand and we went out and handled business from Monday to Sunday.”
Smith also had a message for his teammates in the pregame huddle, a role he has taken on this season.
“I was telling those guys it was our house at the end of the day,” he said. “They say it was lions and they were coming to the bank. It wasn’t a den. I talked to team security and told them lock the doors and we’ll decide when we want to let ‘em out.”
They heard him.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a score. Running back Gus Edwards had 14 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown along with one catch for 80 yards. Tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Zay Flowers had four catches apiece, for 63 and 75 yards, respectively, with Andrews scoring twice.
“We definitely heard [the noise],” Edwards said of the Lions. “They are a good defense, but we came to play today. During practice all week we did keep that chip on our shoulder, of the type of game it was going to be. … They played a good game, but we played better.”
Defensively, the Ravens held quarterback Jared Goff to 2 passing yards in the first quarter and 99 in the first half. They also sacked him five times and intercepted him once.
The Lions’ vaunted run defense, which entered giving up an NFL-low 64.7 yards per game, was gashed for 146 Sunday. They also didn’t record a sack on Jackson, barely pressured him all day and allowed Ravens receivers to run free.
“We knew we were gonna play a tough team, and they are a tough team,” Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley said. “Credit to them for the games that they’ve won [but] I think everyone in here knows we’re not worried about the talk about the teams we play. We’re just trying to play to our potential and be the best team we can be.”
Last week’s trip to London, in which the Ravens beat the Tennessee Titans, 24-16, but needed six field goals to do so, perhaps helped.
“To be there for a week, our hotel was kind of out of the way, there’s not a lot of technology. We kind of built some camaraderie and more chemistry,” Stanley said. “Come back and you have everything at your disposal you feel a little bit rejuvenated.”
Edwards said players were “flying around practice” this week. He also noted accountability, from receivers doing extra work after there were seven dropped passes two weeks ago in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, to finishing off drives this week against the Lions after failing to do so against the Titans.
“This is an important part of our season and we reacted well coming off a long trip to London,” Edwards said. “I feel like we bounced back great, but we haven’t reached our full potential yet.”
Up next: A trip to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals (1-6).