BALTIMORE — On a day when he set a team record with 20 straight completions, Matthew Stafford had nothing to show for it. Except a bruised and bandaged right hand and a lamentable defeat.
Stafford put on a quite a show against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in an effort to lead the Detroit Lions back from a 20-0 halftime deficit. Tossing one successful pass after another, the Detroit quarterback twice cut the margin to seven points.
But he couldn’t complete the comeback, and the Lions absorbed a 44-20 defeat — their most lopsided loss of the season.
“Guys stepped up and made some great catches,” Stafford said. “Obviously, we just didn’t do enough of it to get it done.”
His streak of 20 straight completions ended with a fourth-quarter interception by Marlon Humphrey. The previous mark was 13, set by Stafford last season in a game against New Orleans.
Surely, the record would have meant a lot more to Stafford if it came in a victory.
To add to his misery, Stafford had his hand pierced by cleats soon after the throw and left for the locker room.
“I couldn’t really feel it too well, to tell you the truth,” he said. “I had some burning nerve pain in there, so I didn’t know what it was going to be. But X-rays were negative.”
Though Stafford went 24 for 29 for 292 yards and a score, he also had that interception and lost the ball on a strip-sack. The fumble was particularly galling because it put Detroit in a gaping 17-0 hole.
“That’s on me. I got to make sure I do a good job of getting the ball out of my hands,” Stafford said. “They had nobody covering Golden Tate, so I think they may have miscommunicated on their defense, too. The look I was getting, I didn’t think I could get what I got.”
Regardless, the Lions (6-6) have dropped two straight and probably have to win out to have a shot at reaching the playoffs.
“Obviously, we need to do great from here on out to give ourselves a chance,” tight end Michael Roberts said.
Stafford had a couple of turnovers, but he certainly wasn’t the only one to have a bad day. Backup Jake Rudock threw a pick-6, Matt Prater missed two kicks, and the Lions gave up 370 yards to the league’s 31st-ranked offense.
“Wasn’t pretty. I can tell you I didn’t do a very good job,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “We just didn’t go a good job: missed field goal, a couple drops here.”
With Stafford leading the way, the Lions closed to 20-13 in the third quarter and were at 27-20 with 10:20 left.
“We fought our way back in it. Third quarter was a pretty hot quarter for us,” Caldwell said.
Over the final 13 minutes, however, Baltimore put up 24 points.
“We’ve got to get this together,” Tate said. “There have been crazier things have happened, but we’ve got to get this thing popping.”