The Norman Transcript

National Sports

December 17, 2013

Ravens barely escape Lions

DETROIT — The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens moved a step closer toward having a shot at defending their title.

Justin Tucker had a lot to do with that.

Tucker’s franchise-record 61-yard field goal with 38 seconds left lifted Baltimore to an 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions in a Monday night matchup with major playoff implications.

Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam sealed the victory with an interception — Matthew Stafford’s third of the night.

Stafford threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Fauria with 2:21 left, putting Detroit ahead 16-15. But the Lions were unable to make a 2-point conversion and couldn’t prevent Baltimore from setting up its sensational kicker for his sixth field goal of the game and 33rd 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.

“Didn’t get all of it, got enough of it,” Tucker said. “Just glad to get out of here with a victory at a time when the team needed one.”

Tucker, who hasn’t missed a field goal 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.

Detroit (7-7) has hurt its playoff chances by losing four of its last five, falling out of sole possession of first place in the NFC North to third place behind the division-leading Chicago Bears and Green Bay.

Stafford’s three interceptions followed a troubling trend for the franchise.

He has 12 interceptions 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.

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