Justin Tucker kicked six field goals, including a game-winning 61-yarder in the final minute, as the Baltimore Ravens beat the Detroit Lions, 18-16, on Monday Night Football.
Matthew Stafford threw for 235 yards and an apparent game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes remaining, but Tucker bested him in improbable fashion:
Afterwards, he made sure to acknowledge all of his happy fantasy owners out there, via SportsCenter's Twitter feed:
"Fantasy owners around the world, I hope you guys appreciate the points as well." - Ravens K Justin Tucker (6 FG)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 17, 2013
The Lions struck first with an eight-play, 78-yard march on the game's first drive. Reggie Bush, who was questionable all week, looked as spry as ever, capping the offensive assault with this 14-yard touchdown run:
Detroit's other four drives of the half, though? Just 73 combined yards, as the Lions got away from Bush, who had zero touches in the second quarter, while Calvin Johnson had two drive-killing drops.
That opened the door for Joe Flacco and the Ravens, who put together three 70-yard drives. Each of those fizzled out in the red zone, however, and they took a 9-7 lead into halftime after a trio of short field goals from Tucker.
Sustained drives were few and far between in the second half, as well.
The Ravens turned two Stafford interceptions into Tucker field goals, and with a David Akers field goal mixed in for the Lions, Baltimore took a 15-10 lead late into the fourth quarter.
After a mostly miserable night, though, Stafford redeemed himself with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, resulting in a 14-yard scoring toss to Joseph Fauria to give the Lions a 16-15 lead with 2:21 remaining.
It was the only catch and only target for Fauria, which is normal, as Pro Football Focus' Mike Clay and ESPN's Chris Sprow noted:
Joe Fauria now 6-of-13 (good) on end zone targets. Caught his 7th on the 1 yard line. #Lions— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) December 17, 2013
Joseph Fauria with your typical 12-catch, 7-TD season so far.— Chris Sprow (@SprowESPN) December 17, 2013
Flacco led the Ravens right back down the field, however, and after some questionable play-calling, John Harbaugh turned to Tucker, who drilled the 61-yarder to make it 18-16 with less than a minute remaining.
Stafford then threw his third interception of the game to seal the win for the Ravens.
Joe Flacco, Ravens: B
Against a terrific pass rush on the road, Flacco displayed some impressive composure.
You have to give credit to Baltimore's offensive line and Ray Rice for protecting the 28-year-old QB for most of the night, but Flacco did several things well. He stepped up in the pocket confidently and made some really nice throws, he tucked the ball and ran when necessary and he threw the ball away at the right times.
There were certainly plenty of bad throws and odd reads mixed in, as well, but on an ugly offensive night, Flacco managed the game well enough and led a game-winning drive.
Matthew Stafford, Lions: C+
Stafford's final line is pretty ugly, but it's not quite indicative of his overall performance.
He suffered from drops, and his first interception—although not a great throw—was a result of the ball being tipped straight up into the air by Bush.
Still, while he wasn't as bad as the numbers suggest, Stafford looked uncomfortable in the pocket for much of the night, rushing his throws and not allowing plays to develop.
Justin Tucker, Ravens: A
Tucker made all six of his field-goal attempts, accounted for all of the Ravens' points and drilled a ridiculous 61-yarder for the win. And he did it all on the road. He also did something no kicker has ever done according to the ESPN Sportscenter feed:
Justin Tucker is the first player in history to kick FGs in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, in terms of yardage. (via @EliasSports)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 17, 2013
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke put it simply:
Justin Tucker should have won the Heisman.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) December 17, 2013
Superstar. That is all.
Reggie Bush, Lions: A-
Bush was undoubtedly the most explosive offensive player on either side of the field on Monday night.
He clearly wasn't feeling any ill-effects of the injury, as he displayed an impressive blend of acceleration and elusiveness. He racked up 5.1 yards per carry and the Lions offense looked far more dangerous whenever he was on the field.
The Ravens return home for a crucial contest with the New England Patriots on Sunday, while the Lions host the New York Giants.