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 victory 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-eight 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.”
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Rookie safety Matt Elam sealed the victory with an interception — Matthew Stafford’s third picked-off pass — after raising eyebrows during last week by calling 28-year-old Calvin Johnson “pretty old” and saying the plan was to make the superstar 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 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.
“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,” said Tucker, who mentioned in a television interview after the game that his six field goals also benefited his fantasy-football team.
Detroit (7-7) has hurt its playoff chances by losing four of its last five.
“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.”