Someone should give the keys to the city of Baltimore to Justin Tucker.
The second-year kicker out of Texas kicked six field goals in the Ravens' comeback 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions. Tucker's sixth field goal of the game was the most important and came from a new career-long of 61 yards. At this stage of the season, has there been a more important player to this year's team than Tucker?
Tucker made the field goal with 43 seconds left in the game. Tucker got just enough leg on it and the ball barely cleared the right upright. Tucker's other field goals came from 29, 24, 32, 49 and 40 yards out, respectively. Tucker is now 35-37 kicking this season, with his only two misses coming in Week 2 against Cleveland.
The 61-yarder is, obviously, a new team record.
This was yet another game that saw the Ravens in a close one. Early in the year they lost those. Now they're winning them.
The Ravens' defense limited the Lions' offense for most of the game, until Detroit's second to last possession of the game. The Lions held the ball for almost six minutes and scored on a 14-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to tight end Joseph Fauria. This put the Lions up 16-15 with just over two minutes left to play.
But the Cardiac Ravens were at it again. Quarterback Joe Flacco, standing on an injured knee, hit Jacoby Jones for a 27-yard gain on third-and-15 from the Ravens' 28. From the Lions' 45, Ray Rice took a carry on third-and-10 for two yards.
At first, the Ravens appeared to be going for the first down with the offense. But John Harbaugh decided to give Tucker a chance and called a timeout. It payed off in a huge way.
The game itself was a bizarre one, in a way. It wasn't the shootout a lot of people thought would happen. After the Lions moved down the field on their first possession, capped with a Reggie Bush rushing touchdown, both offenses sputtered throughout. The game featured a lot of defense and quite a few mistakes — with the typical ones coming from the Detroit side of things.
Calvin Johnson dropped two easy passes, one that would have been a huge gain in the first half. He also had a drop on the two-point conversion that would have put Detroit up 18-15 in the fourth quarter. In a sense, that turned out to be the difference.
After an exchange of words, unintentionally or not, between Johnson and Matt Elam this week, Johnson finished the game with six catches for 98 yards. Given what Johnson's capable of, the Ravens did a good job defending him, with Jimmy Smith shadowing him throughout.
The win now positions the Ravens back into the final Wild Card spot in the AFC at the moment. They also maintain control of the AFC North division. Two more wins and the Ravens are division champs once again.