Justin Tucker’s sixth field goal of the night — a 61-yarder with 38 seconds left — lifted Baltimore to a key 18-16 NFL win over the Detroit Lions on Monday.
Tucker’s exploits helped the reigning Super Bowl champions post their fourth straight victory and move to just a single game behind Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North division.
In addition, the Ravens maintained their tie with Miami for the second and final AFC wild-card spot, with Baltimore holding the tiebreaker over the Dolphins.
The Lions needed the victory just as much, but their fourth defeat in their past five games dropped them to 7-7 and into third in the NFC North, behind Chicago and Green Bay.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco connected on 20 out of 38 passing attempts for 222 yards, while Jacoby Jones caught six passes for 80 yards.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said a touchdown or two would not have gone amiss, but that with the regular season winding down, he was not going to argue with the victory.
“It’s a big win, you take them any way you can get them right now and that was big for us,” the Baltimore boss said.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was again plagued by turnovers. He was intercepted three times, including twice in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t play my best game by any means,” said Stafford, who directed a scoring drive on Detroit’s first possession.
“I felt like we had a good opening drive, put seven [points] on the board. For one reason or another, the rest of that half — and even into the third quarter — it was tough for us to get a rhythm,” he added.
Tucker’s game-winner was not quite as far as the NFL record 64-yarder booted by the Broncos’ Matt Prater earlier this month.
Flacco said he would have liked to get Tucker closer for the attempt, but added that he was not surprised that it was good.
“I had all the confidence in the world in him,” Flacco said. “We see him get those kind of kicks every day in practice.”