I wrote in Friday's paper that playing the Detroit Lions was like hunting cows - there was no sport to it.

I now wish to retract that statement.

That was an insult to cows, who would probably put up a better fight than the Lions did Sunday in the rain and gloom of M&T; Bank Stadium.

The final score was Ravens 48, Lions 3, and it looked even worse than that in the third quarter, when the stadium was already half-empty and I tried to text NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to enact some sort of emergency slaughter rule so the rest of us could go home.

Poor Jim Schwartz. He's the Baltimore guy who has to coach this mess of a team.

He has eight brothers and sisters, and seven were in the stands to watch this horror show because Schwartz, in an act of unspeakable cruelty, left them all tickets.

One of Schwartz's sisters didn't make the trip because she was snowed-in back home in Nevada.

And people talk about a blizzard as if it's a negative thing ...

For the Ravens, though, this was a terrific day, even given the conditions. They pushed their record to 7-6 and kept their playoff hopes alive.

They finally got their offense going and watched the hapless Lions make running back Ray Rice (13 carries, 166 yards, plus 53 receiving yards) look like Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice all rolled into one.

And they played in a game with so much weird stuff happening, it looked like a sitcom at times.

Let's see ... where to begin with the weirdness?

OK, in a perfect Abbott and Costello moment, you had Lions cornerback Phillip Buchanon and safety Marvin White collide and nearly knock each other out in the second quarter trying to tackle Derrick Mason, who had just gathered in a short pass from Joe Flacco at midfield.

Mason was so stunned, it took him a minute to realize he was now all by himself and could actually run unmolested into the end zone, which he did, capping a 62-yard scoring play that gave the Ravens a 10-3 lead.

Then there were the antics of the officiating crew, led by referee Don Carey, which had problems all game long figuring out where the ball should be spotted and how much time belonged on the clock.

Since those are generally considered two important components for ensuring that a game runs smoothly, this game took on all the calm of a camel auction in Marrakesh.

At one point in the second quarter, with 1:12 showing on the scoreboard clock, Carey implored the scoreboard operator to have the time read 1:08.

He did this three or four times, to no avail. Then when the scoreboard operator finally posted the correct time, Carey was heard on his microphone saying: "1:12 would have been fine ..."

Oh, you can't make this stuff up.

Did I mention Carey had microphone problems all game long?

Who makes these referee microphones, Mattel?

And when the mic wasn't cutting out on him, he was having problems turning it off, so that the entire stadium was treated to the angry cries of the Ravens and Lions as they lobbied the refs for various calls.

Yes, it was that kind of game, and maybe it's the pathetic Lions who bring all this weirdness with them wherever they go.

Certainly it was a delight to sit in the press box next to the Lions' coaching booth Sunday and hear someone scream: "Get up to the [bleeping] line of scrimmage!' "

Coach, if you have to tell your players that, it might be time to look for some new players.

But again, as horrible as the day was for the Lions, that's how uplifting it was for the Ravens. Especially when they discovered their playoff chances were helped considerably by both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos losing Sunday.

At least one of the Ravens even admitted to the ultimate NFL no-no: scoreboard-watching on the sideline.

This would be the irrepressible Terrell Suggs, who finally returned to the lineup after missing three games with a knee injury.

You might have heard that T-Sizzle is having a few off-field legal problems involving a woman and a restraining order, which he says he can't talk about right now.

But at least he talked about what the Ravens were doing on the sideline in the waning moments of their Lions smackdown.

"We started looking at the scoreboard, 'OK, who's doing what, who's winning what?' " he said. "We saw that Miami beat Jacksonville, and Indy beat Denver.

"Those are the two big ones. So all we have to do is handle our pressure first."

And the Lions were kind enough to provide no pressure at all.

You talk about Christmas coming early for the Ravens.

Listen to Kevin Cowherd on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with Jerry Coleman on Fox 1370 AM Sports.

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