8:30 PM ET, December 16, 2013
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
DETROIT -- Justin Tucker's powerful leg kicked the Super Bowl champions into playoff gear.
Tucker made six field goals, including a franchise-record 61-yarder with 38 seconds left that lifted the Baltimore Ravens to an 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions in a Monday night matchup with major postseason implications.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh chose to let Tucker try the longest kick of his career -- by 5 yards -- instead of going for it on fourth-and-8 from the Detroit 43.
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"If they send me out there, they have reason to," Tucker said. "It's because they think I can make the kick."
Rookie safety Matt Elam sealed the victory with an interception -- Matthew Stafford's third of the night -- after raising eyebrows during the week by calling 28-year-old Calvin Johnson "pretty old" and saying the plan was to make the star receiver uncomfortable by getting physical with him.
Stafford threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Fauria with 2:21 left, putting Detroit up 16-15. But the Lions were unable to make a 2-point conversion and couldn't prevent Baltimore (8-6) from setting up its sensational kicker for his 33rd successful field goal in a row.
Tucker's kick went just inside the right upright and barely had enough distance -- eight days after Denver's Matt Prater broke the NFL record with a 64-yard field goal.
"I definitely felt like I got a lot of leg into it, but it jumped up so high I thought I might have gotten under it," Tucker said.
Tucker, who hasn't missed a field goal attempt since he was 0 for 2 in Week 2 at Cleveland, has the NFL's longest streak since Matt Stover made 36 in a row for the Ravens from 2005-06, according to STATS.
"What can you say about Justin Tucker?" Harbaugh said. "When we got the ball there, I think at the 45-yard line, I said, 'Hey, are we kicking this?' ... He said, 'I got it.' "
He sure did.
Moments after his clutch kick, Tucker mentioned in a television interview that his big night also benefited his fantasy football team.
More importantly, his real club won its fourth straight game and maintained control of an AFC wild card as the Ravens seek their sixth consecutive postseason berth and a chance to defend their Super Bowl title.
Kicking It Up A Notch
Baltimore's Justin Tucker became the fourth kicker in NFL history to hit a go- ahead field goal of 60 or more yards in the final minute of the 4th quarter.
Detroit (7-7) has hurt its playoff chances by losing four of five, falling out of sole possession of first place in the NFC North to third behind the division-leading Chicago Bears and Green Bay.
"This is a setback, no question," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "We had control and now we need help. We have to get two wins and let the rest shake out."
Stafford's three interceptions followed a troubling trend for the franchise.
He has 12 turnovers, including two fumbles, in his last five games. Not coincidentally, the Lions have been able to overcome those miscues well enough to win only one game during the slump.
Joe Flacco, meanwhile, didn't turn the ball over and made enough subtle moves in and around the pocket to get sacked only once. He has been sacked a career-high 42 times this season, but he stayed upright enough to move the ball into position for Tucker's big kick.
Flacco was 20 of 38 for 222 yards, including a 27-yard pass to Jacoby Jones to convert a third-and-15 from the Baltimore 28 on the game-winning drive. Jones had six receptions for 80 yards, and returned Detroit's last kick to the Baltimore 33.
Stafford was 18 of 34 for 235 yards with a TD and three interceptions -- increasing his five-game total to 10 -- for a season-low 48 quarterback rating.
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"This was certainly not my best game," he acknowledged.
Johnson had six receptions for 98 yards and dropped two possibly pivotal passes thrown his way in the first half.
"We just put every guy on him to try to stop him," Elam said. "It was no disrespect meant to Calvin. He's the best in the league, so why would I challenge him? Words just got stirred up."
The Lions started strong, with Reggie Bush running for a 14-yard touchdown on the opening drive.
Detroit, though, got in its own way as it often has this year.
Johnson dropped a pass that would've converted a third-and-15 deep in Ravens territory.
On the ensuing drive, Tucker kicked his first of three field goals in the first half -- two of which were set up by penalties against Detroit.
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Tucker's next field goal was set up by a pass-interference call against safety Don Carey.
Johnson couldn't catch another pass in Baltimore territory thrown at him late in the first half.
The Ravens took advantage of that mistake and one by Detroit's defense on the next drive.
Flacco threw an up-for-grabs pass on third-and-8 from the Lions 44 after avoiding a sack, and the incomplete pass was negated by Louis Delmas' helmet-to-helmet hit on Marlon Brown with 16 seconds left in the first half. That flag put the Ravens 15 yards closer to Tucker's field goal that gave Baltimore a 9-7 lead at halftime.
Detroit drove to the Ravens 31 on its first possession of the second half, but Stafford threw a pass behind Bush that was picked off by defensive end DeAngelo Tyson.
Baltimore went ahead 12-7 on the next drive on Tucker's 49-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.
The Lions scored on the ensuing drive -- on David Akers' 40-yard kick -- for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. The field goal came after Stafford's pass into the end zone fell incomplete. A replay showed Detroit receiver Kris Durham had his arm held on the play by Lardarius Webb, but there was no penalty flag for pass interference.
Tucker's 53-yard field goal -- matching his previous season high -- put the Ravens ahead 15-10 with 8:06 left.
Detroit responded with its best drive since its first one. The Lions might have caught a break from the officials when Brandon Pettigrew's catch was upheld after review.
Tucker's 56-yard field goal last year -- as an undrafted rookie -- matched the previous franchise record set by Wade Richey in 2003. ... Bush had 101 yards of total offense.
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 16: Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the game...(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.1||5.5|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-3||2-2|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||10:57||Reggie Bush 14 Yd Run (David Akers Kick)||0||7|
|FG||12:49||Justin Tucker 29 Yd||3||7|
|FG||02:32||Justin Tucker 24 Yd||6||7|
|FG||00:00||Justin Tucker 32 Yd||9||7|
|FG||08:00||Justin Tucker 49 Yd||12||7|
|FG||01:49||David Akers 40 Yd||12||10|
|FG||08:06||Justin Tucker 53 Yd||15||10|
|TD||02:21||Joseph Fauria 14 Yd Pass From Matthew Stafford (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed)||15||16|
|FG||00:38||Justin Tucker 61 Yd||18||16|
Joe Flacco was 4-of-14 for 45 yards with a sack when the Lions sent five or more pass rushers Monday. Flacco has averaged 5.4 yards per attempt against added pressure, the lowest among qualified quarterbacks this season.
- The Lions have committed at least three turnovers in five consecutive games. The only team with a longer streak this season is the Giants (Week 1-6). - The Lions have committed 48 defensive penalties, including five on Monday. That total is tied with the Rams for the most in the league this season. - Calvin Johnson had two drops Monday, giving him a career-high nine on the season. The Lions have 44 drops this year, 12 more than any other team. - Joe Flacco was 6-of-15 (40%) on passes traveling 15+ yards downfield. Flacco's 15 deep attempts are tied for the most he has had in a game in his career. Coming into the game, he had completed 29% of his deep passes, third-lowest among qualified quarterbacks.
Matthew Stafford now has 3 4,000-yard passing season, the 3rd player to do that within his first 5 NFL seasons. The others are Peyton Manning (4) and Dan Marino (3).[+]
Justin Tucker made a franchise-record six field goals Monday night, including the game-winning 61-yarder. Tucker has made six field goals of at least 50 yards this season, tied for the most in the league. - The Ravens won despite not scoring a touchdown, becoming only the second team this season to do so (the New York Giants won 15-7 against the Eagles in Week 8). - According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tucker's 248 total yards on his field goals was the fourth-highest total in a game in NFL history. - The Ravens' field goal unit has added 28.6 expected points this season, most in the league. For context, the Seahawks and Jets each have better field-goal percentages this season but have added 15.8 and 18.9 expected points, respectively. The Saints' field goal unit, which missed twice Sunday, is last in the league with -4.9 expected points added this season.[+]
Highest Field Goal EPA, This Season
The Lions were 6-3 and in 1st place in the NFC North entering Week 11, since then they have lost 4 out of 5. They have beaten themselves, dropping the most passes, throwing the most picks and committing the most turnovers in the NFL since then. Tonight epitomized that, they dropped 3 passes, threw 3 interceptions, committing at least 3 turnovers for the 5th straight game.[+]
Lions This Season
Matthew Stafford has a 12.1 Total QBR in the 4th quarter of the Lions last 5 games. Only Brandon Weeden has a worse 4th-quarter Total QBR over that span (2.8).[+]
Matthew Stafford 4th Quarter Passing This Season
Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions in the 4th quarter Monday night, and has now thrown the most 4th-quarter interceptions this season when the score is within five points. Stafford joined Tony Romo (Week 15) and Geno Smith (Week 2) as the only quarterbacks to throw multiple 4th-quarter interceptions in the same game when the score is within five points this season.[+]
Matthew Stafford threw two fourth-quarter interceptions, including one with 38 seconds left to seal the game. Stafford has completed 15-of-47 (32%) pass attempts in the fourth quarter in the Lions' last five games, the lowest fourth-quarter completion percentage since Week 11. - During the last three seasons, Stafford is 3-8 in December, a 27% win percentage. Only Ryan Fitzpatrick has a lower win percentage in December (25%) among quarterbacks with at least 10 starts during that span.[+]
Matthew Stafford, Last 5 Games*
Joe Flacco has been under pressure on 144 dropbacks this season, already the most in a season for his career.
Matthew Stafford was 0-4 on passes more than 10 yards downfield in the first half.
Torrey Smith has yet to catch a touchdown on a pass thrown more than 15 yards downfield this season. Smith had at least five such touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.
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