Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
National Football League
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

Ravens beat Lions 18-16 on Tucker's 61-yard FG

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

DETROIT (AP) 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.

"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.

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 coincidently, 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.

"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.

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.

NOTES: 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.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Updated December 17, 2013

127 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

Ducks RB Tyner ready for his closeup


(AP) No more rookie excuses for Thomas Tyner. Oregon's sophomore running back is ready to live up to the expectations that were heaped on him when he joined the Ducks . . . more.

offense sharp as Eagles beat Steelers


(AP) This was more like last year's Eagles. Nick Foles threw one touchdown pass and led Philadelphia's starting offense to three first-half scores in a 31-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers . . . more.

Oregon State's Gwacham goes from WR to DE


(AP) Obum Gwacham wants one more chance to make an impact at Oregon State. Having struggled at wide receiver his entire college career, the 6-foot-5 senior is switching . . . more.

Eagles acquire Kenjon Barner from Panthers


(AP) The Philadelphia Eagles have acquired running back Kenjon Barner from the Carolina Panthers for a conditional seventh-round draft choice in 2015. More.

Jim Kelly's follow-up exam shows no sign of cancer


(AP) Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly received encouraging news in his battle with cancer. An initial physical exam showed no evidence of sinus cancer three months after the former Buffalo Bills quarterback . . . more.

C Grasu is the anchor of Oregon's offense


(AP) Oregon senior center Hroniss Grasu never would have played football if his parents had their way. Steve and Mariana Grasu, immigrants from Romania . . . more.

Browns name Hoyer starter over Manziel


(AP) Brian Hoyer barely held on to the starting job. Johnny Manziel may have let it slip off his finger. Hoyer will open the season . . . more.

Buckeyes QB Miller out for season


(AP) Ohio State says quarterback Braxton Miller will miss the 2014 season after reinjuring his throwing shoulder. More.

Durant: Leaving US tough, needed break


(AP) While Kevin Durant takes a step back, the U.S. national team is moving forward. Durant stunned the Americans when he decided to withdraw after . . . more.