Top defense not in top form against Stafford, Lions (Ravens lose 27-12)

Matthew Stafford went 12-for-17 for 184 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

No matter how good he is, or what kind of weapons he has at his disposal, that seems decidedly un-Ravens-like.

The secondary has had trouble containing Calvin Johnson, and to be fair, so does every other defensive backfield in the NFL.

However, the secondary is supposed to be one of the Ravens’ strengths, one of the team’s deepest units on the side of the ball where this squad makes its money. So far this preseason, that hasn’t played out in game action.

Matt Ryan had his way a week ago, but the Stafford-Johnson duo is making this unit look even more vulnerable.

Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams, Jimmy Smith and company have some time to work out the kinks.

The Lions led 14-6 after putting together a nine-play, 70-yard drive on Stafford’s last possession, which he ended with a 24-yard scoring pass to Titus Young.

The Ravens have since pulled to within 14-9 on a Billy Cundiff 44-yard field goal with 5:25 to go before halftime. (That kicking battle could get intense if they both keep making from deep.)

At least the Ravens can take solace in Stafford being done. Welcome former Maryland quarterback Shaun Hill to the field in relief. What a relief?

Attendance: 70,567.

Update: Outgained 254-180, with 236 yards against coming through the air, the Ravens trail the Lions 17-9 at the half.

The first-team units made it through most of the half to mixed results. The defense came up with big plays at the right moments to stifle Detroit early before Stafford answered by throwing over top and around it.

The offense started fast, moved the ball, looked good and had some rhythm in the passing game early. But because of some key drops by LaQuan Williams and an inability to finish, the Ravens couldn’t find the end zone, settling for two field goals with the first team in and one after the top group left.

It’ll be interesting to hear how coach John Harbaugh evaluates his No. 1s because last week’s review? Not so glowing.

Update II: Some quotes about the first-team units, as provided by the Ravens.

Quarterback Joe Flacco on the No. 1 offense: “We felt pretty good out there today. I think we had a good tempo going. We were able to push it up on them a little bit, but we definitely have to capitalize when we get in the red zone - not make a couple mistakes, come down with a couple things. Other than that, it was a pretty good night. We just need to clean up a few things and get in the end zone.”

Linebacker Ray Lewis on his first preseason game of 2012: “I think we looked good. We went in there early and made a bunch of plays to get off the field. That’s always our thought process; we want our defense to start fast, move around fast. You can never let a drive continue by mistakes or penalties. You correct those things, and that’s what preseason is all about.”

Safety Bernard Pollard on facing Johnson: “The biggest thing with Calvin Johnson is he understands and knows where everybody is at, and he has a quarterback who doesn’t care where anybody is at. He is a talent on the field, and he has a special gift.”

Injury Update: Linebacker Sergio Kindle has a left shoulder stinger and his return is questionable.

Update III: The Ravens and Lions played a scoreless third quarter, and it’s on to the fourth with the visitors leading 17-9.

Update IV: The Ravens couldn’t create pressure, forced just one turnover and were outdone in the moments that mattered to fall 27-12 to the Lions.

Preseason demon Omar Brown continued his big-play tear, recovering a fumble and an onside kick. He now has three fumble recoveries, an interception and the onside kick grab in two games.

But Baltimore fell to 1-1 this preseason after its reserves didn’t come through to save the top offense and defense the way they did in Atlanta.