Tucker’s 61-yard FG boosts Ravens over Lions
DETROIT -- Justin Tucker was certain he would make the game-winning field goal Monday night. It didn’t matter that the Baltimore Ravens were barely past midfield.
With the Ravens facing third-and-10, coach John Harbaugh asked his placekicker if the team was close enough for a field-goal try.
”We got the ball there at the 45-yard line, and I said, ‘Hey, are we kicking this or are we going to try to go for it on fourth-and-10?“ Harbaugh said. ”He said, ‘I got it.’
“He kind of ordered me. Then we got 2 more yards, so that was a plus.”
After running back Ray Rice advanced the ball to the 43, Tucker blasted a franchise-record 61-yard kick, his sixth field goal of the game, with 38 seconds left to give the Ravens an 18-16 victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
“I was confident,” Harbaugh said. “I thought we had a real good shot at it.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 222 yards for Baltimore, which won its fourth straight. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones caught six passes for 80 yards as the Ravens (8-6) remained firmly in the playoff hunt while pulling within a game of the first-place Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
Baltimore’s defense intercepted Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford three times in the second half.
“We’re a team that keeps believing,” said Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith, who had one of the interceptions and a sack. “We never quit. I don’t really have any more words for it other than that.”
Jones hauled in a 27-yard pass on third-and-15 to move Baltimore into Detroit territory prior to Tucker’s winning field goal.
Safety Matt Elam had the last pick to clinch the Ravens’ victory.
Stafford completed 18 of 34 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown.
“I think some of the stuff that happened to us was just kind of self-inflicted, whether it be a drop or a sack or a missed pass,” the Detroit quarterback said.
Stafford’s 14-yard scoring pass to rookie tight end Joseph Fauria with 2:21 remaining gave Detroit the lead.
Lions running back Reggie Bush produced 86 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson had six catches for 98 yards.
Detroit (7-7) dropped behind the Chicago Bears (8-6) and Green Bay Packers (7-6-1) in the NFC North standings. The Lions lost for the fourth time in five games, blowing a fourth-quarter lead in each of the defeats.
“We are the No. 2-ranked offense, and we didn’t play like it today,” Bush said. “We didn’t play like we wanted it today on both sides of the ball. There were plenty of opportunities out there for us to win the game and make plays, and we just didn’t come up with it on both sides of the ball.”
Even so, the Lions looked as if they might pull out the win when Fauria caught his touchdown over the middle on third-and-9. He has seven touchdowns on 12 receptions this season.
Stafford completed passes of 21 yards to Johnson and 18 yards to tight end Brandon Pettigrew during the 11-play, 80-yard drive. Stafford’s two-point pass attempt to Johnson was incomplete, leaving Detroit clinging to a one-point lead.
Tucker’s 49-yard field goal with eight minutes left in the third put Baltimore on top 12-7.
That followed defensive end DeAngelo Tyson’s interception of a deflected Stafford pass in Ravens territory. David Akers’ 40-yard field goal late in the quarter cut Baltimore’s advantage to two.
Smith’s interception at the Detroit 34-yard line set up Tucker’s fifth field goal, a 53-yarder with 8:06 left for a 15-10 Ravens lead.
NOTES: With a 7-yard reception during the second quarter, Lions WR Calvin Johnson became the first player in NFL history to record 5,000 receiving yards in a three-season span. ... QB Matthew Stafford surpassed the 4,000-yard mark during the opening quarter, making him the first Lion to have three 4,000-yard passing seasons. ... Ravens WR Torrey Smith surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the season during the first half, the first time he reached that mark in his three-year career. ... Baltimore won the teams’ last meeting 48-3 at home on Dec. 13, 2009. The Ravens last played at Ford Field on Oct. 9, 2005, a 35-17 Lions victory. ... Detroit fell to 10-10 all-time at home in Monday night games. ... The Lions were missing starting CB Chris Houston (toe) and reserve CB Darius Slay (knee). ... Detroit completes its home schedule against the New York Giants on Sunday, then finishes the regular season against the Vikings in Minnesota on Dec. 29. Baltimore plays two division leaders in its remaining games: the New England Patriots at home and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road.