Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Tucker kicks Ravens to victory

DETROIT - If the Baltimore Ravens make it to the postseason, they'll owe Justin Tucker a huge thank you. The second-year kicker hit the longest field goal in team history, a 61-yarder with 38 seconds remaining to give the Ravens an 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions before 64,742 at Ford Field on Monday night.
Tucker hit six field goals, also a team record, to account for all the scoring. Those field goals gave Baltimore its fourth straight victory.
The win keeps the Ravens (8-6) just ahead of Miami, who beat New England on Sunday. The Dolphins are also 8-6, but Baltimore has the tiebreaker over Miami thanks to their win over them in October.
The Ravens, who host the Patriots on Sunday, trail Cincinnati (9-5) in the AFC North, but should they win their final two games, they'll capture the division.
After the New England game, they finish the regular season against the Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium.
Baltimore couldn't score a touchdown against Detroit, but thanks to Tucker, who has now hit 33 straight field goals, got the win.
"The conditions were ideal," Tucker said. "I definitely felt I got it."
Tucker told coach John Harbaugh that once the team reached Detroit's 45-the drive started on their own 33-that he could make it.
"I got it," he told Harbaugh.
"He ordered me to let him kick it," Harbaugh said. "I was confident."
Harbaugh allowed that his team was playing well when it needed to.
"We're playing our best football," he said.
Matt Elam, who dismissed the terrific Calvin Johnson as old during the pregame buildup, had an awful few moments, but later made a big interception. After Detroit's Matthew Stafford had slid for five yards, Elam piled on and the Ravens were penalized 15 yards, and instead of fourth down, it was first down on the Baltimore 31.
On the next play, Elam's missed tackle on Nate Burleson gave the Lions a first down on the 14. Reggie Bush's touchdown run on the next play gave Detroit a 7-0 lead barely four minutes into the game.
After starting their second drive on their own 8, the Ravens drove 89 yards, but had to settle for Tucker's 29-yard field goal. After the six minute, 25 second drive, the Lions led 7-3 with 12:49 to play in the second quarter.
Johnson didn't catch a pass on the first three drives, dropping one when he was wide open and nabbing one out of bounds to help bring an abrupt end to Detroit's third one.
Jacoby Jones' 24-yard punt return gave the Ravens their best field position, beginning at their own 46, but they could do nothing. Long snapper Morgan Cox was called for a holding penalty, enabling the Lions to start at their own 28 midway through the second quarter.
Johnson caught his first pass of the game on Detroit's next play giving him 5,000 yards in the last three seasons, the first NFL receiver to accomplish that. After catching a one-yard pass immediately after the two-minute warning, Johnson dropped another one.
Flacco had lots of time to throw in the first half, and it paid off as they drove 76 yards, thanks to a 22-yard catch by Torrey Smith and two huge penalties, a face-mask on Smith's catch and a 24-yard pass interference call on the Lions' Louis Delmas that put the ball on the 10.
The drive stalled at the 6, and Baltimore had to settle for Tucker's second field goal from 24 yards, and they trailed 7-6 with 2:32 left in the first half.
Baltimore was aided late in the first half when Marlon Brown was hit by Delmas and the Lions' safety was assessed a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. That gave the Ravens the ball on Detroit's 29.
After Flacco threw to Dennis Pitta for 15 yards, and badly missed on a throw to the end zone, Tucker hit his third field goal of the half as time expired, giving Baltimore a 9-7 lead at halftime.
DeAngelo Tyson picked off a pass from Stafford at the 27 to end a promising Lions drive to start the second half.
Ray Rice ran for 15 yards, his second-longest rush of the game, and Brown caught a 24-yarder. Tucker hit his fourth straight field goal, this time from 49, and the Ravens extended their lead to 12-7 with eight minutes to play.
Johnson caught a 37-yarder on the ensuing drive. Eventually Detroit got to the Baltimore 22 before David Akers hit a 40-yarder. Baltimore led 12-10 with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter.
Daryl Smith picked off Stafford's pass with just over nine minutes to play, and Tucker hit a 52-yarder to give the Ravens a 15-10 lead.
Baltimore couldn't hold Williams and the rest of the offense down forever. The Lions scored on a 14-yard pass from Stafford to Joseph Fauria with 2:21 to play, and after a failed two-point conversion, the second prevented by the Ravens in the past two games, and Detroit led 16-15.