Sunday, April 20, 2014

Field-goal barrage lifts Ravens

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 match-up with major post-season implications.

Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh chose to let Tucker try the longest kick of his career—by five yards—instead of going for it on fourth-and-eight from the Detroit 43.
Matthew 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 two-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,” he admitted.
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.
The Ravens won their fourth-straight game and maintained control of an AFC wild card as they seek their sixth-straight post-season berth and a chance to defend their Super Bowl title.
Detroit (7-7), meantime, 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,” said Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz.
“We had control and now we need help.”

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