When running back Ray Rice plunged into the middle of the line on third-and-10 for a gain of 2 yards just before Tucker's dramatic boot, it didn't seem particularly significant.
But given that kucker Justin Tucker's kick narrowly cleared the crossbar by a few yards, every bit of Rice's yardage was necessary.
"I ain't going to take no credit for the kick, but my 2 yards probably helped out a little bit," Rice said of the longest kick in a dome in NFL history. "I think it was a good call, a safe call. We were at least able to get Tucker a chance."
Initially, it looked like the Ravens were considering having quarterback Joe Flacco go for it on fourth-and-8 at the Lions' 43-yard line with 43 seconds remaining. After a timeout, though, Tucker went out and connected on his sixth field goal of the night and his 33rd in a row.
Head coach John Harbaugh said kicking the field goal was always the Ravens' plan.
"What we wanted to do was run up there and make it appear that we were going to run a play, perhaps, and try to get the clock run down as low as we possibly could," Harbaugh said. "Joe did a good job of acting there a little bit. I got a little antsy and called a timeout because I just wanted to make sure that we didn't flinch or anything like that. We wanted to take as much time down as we could. When you have an offense like that out there, that was going to be important for us."
How the Ravens operated late in the game is a testament to how much confidence they have in Tucker, who routinely has made kicks from 70 yards during practice.
"He's a great kicker, but he's an athlete, too," wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "Who knows where we would be without him? We're thankful for him. He's clutch. We've seen him make longer kicks than that all the time."
One of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's three interceptions ended in the hands of an unlikely defender.
Defensive end DeAngelo Tyson recorded his first career interception in the third quarter when the 6-foot-2, 315-pounder picked off a tipped pass intended for running back Reggie Bush, leading to a 49-yard field goal by Tucker.
Drafted in the seventh round last year out of Georgia, Tyson has a career-high two sacks this season as a rotational defensive lineman.
"How about DeAngelo Tyson with the sweet hands?" Harbaugh said in a video of the Ravens' postgame locker room posted on the team's website.
Middle linebacker Daryl Smith and rookie free safety Matt Elam both had interceptions in the fourth quarter.
"Just dropping into coverage, and I barely got a glimpse of the ball, so I knew it was coming," Smith said. "He throws it hard, but I got my paws on it and was able to hold onto it."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun