Detroit — Justin Tucker did it again.
Eight years after burying the Detroit Lions with a 61-yard field goal, the Baltimore Ravens kicker hammered home a record-breaking, game-winner at Ford Field on Sunday, bouncing a 66-yarder over the cross bar to help the Ravens escape with a 19-17 victory.
The kick negated an impressive comeback from the Lions, who erased a 13-point second half deficit after being held scoreless in the first half.
The Lions’ offense, which had been clicking on all cylinders in the first half of last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers, went scoreless through the first two quarters against the Ravens, blowing a couple of early opportunities to grab an early lead.
And the Lions had no early answer for the Ravens’ aggressive third-down defense as quarterback Jared Goff threw incompletions or was sacked multiple times when blitzed, resulting in a punt on all seven of the team’s possessions.
The Ravens vaunted offense also didn’t have much success against an opponent that came into the day struggling. The Ravens punted twice and missed a long field goal prior to breaking the scoreless tie five minutes into the second quarter when kicker Justin Tucker knocked home a 39-yard field goal.
Following another punt by the Lions, the defense appeared primed to hold the Ravens to another field goal after quarterback Lamar Jackson’s touchdown run was called back due to a holding penalty. But facing third-and-18, Jackson found receiver Devin Duvernay open in the back of the end zone when Lions safety Will Harris and nickel cornerback AJ Parker got their signals crossed in coverage.
The Lions caught a pair of breaks at the end of the half when speedy Ravens receiver Marquise Brown dropped not one, but two long throws that likely would have resulted in touchdowns if he made either grab.
Instead, the Ravens’ settled for the 10-point advantage at the half, which they quickly extended to 13 with a 51-yard Tucker field goal early in the third quarter.
The Lions finally got on the board thanks to running back D’Andre Swift, who caught three passes for 44 yards on the ensuring drive before punching it across the goal line on a 2-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to six, 13-7.
For the fourth time in five drives, the Ravens would put points on the board, but once again were limited to a field goal after a 24-yard pass to tight end Mark Andrews set the offense up with a fresh set of downs in the red zone.
The Lions, as they’ve done much of the season, stuck with filtering their offense through their running backs. Swift and Jamaal Williams touched the ball 10 times on a 12-play touchdown drive. After Swift was knocked out of bounds at the 1-yard line, Williams charged across the goal line to make it 16-14 with 8:18 remaining.
As they had done the previous five possessions, the Ravens worked their way across midfield, only to run into a Lions defense prepared to tighten the screws. After linebacker Alex Anzalone dropped Jackson for a sack on second down, the Lions’ pass rush again brought heat on third down, forcing Jackson to force a downfield throw into tight coverage that was intercepted by cornerback Amani Oruwariye.
With the home crowd buzzing, quarterback Jared Goff faked the handoff, rolled out and found Darren Fells for a 24-yard gain out near midfield. Two plays later, Goff connected with a sliding Kalif Raymond for another 19-yard gain in Ravens territory.
After Swift was stuffed for a loss, Raymond came up big again, taking a short throw from Goff and weaving through the Ravens defense for 22 more yards down to the 14-yard line as the clock wound down to the two-minute warning.
The Lions couldn’t find the end zone and settled for a short Ryan Santoso field goal to take the lead with 1:08 remaining.
The defense nearly finished it off, sacking Jackson twice to put the Ravens in a fourth-and-19, but the quarterback found Sammy Watkins, who slipped behind the coverage of Harris, for a 36-yard gain that set up Tucker’s game-winner.
With the loss, the Lions fall to 0-3. The Ravens move to 2-1 on the season with the win.
Our special thanks to:detroitnews.com