Tucker’s record performance sends Ravens past Lions

The Ravens like to do things the hard way. Anyone who covers this team knows that Justin Tucker has incredible range. Kicks from 60-plus yards are routine in practice and warmups. And now he had a chance to show it in a game.

Tucker’s 33rd straight field goal was a career-best and team-record 61-yarder with 38 seconds remaining that proved to be the game-winner in an 18-16 victory over the Lions.

Tucker was amazing in the contest, setting a Ravens record with six field goals, including two from 53 yards and beyond. He was a perfect 6-for-6 in the contest, and because of that, Baltimore managed to pick up a massive win in Detroit despite being unable to find the end zone.

That made it four consecutive wins and five in six contests for Baltimore, which improved to 8-6 to move back into the AFC’s sixth playoff spot and take complete control of its postseason fate.

The Ravens will win the AFC North if they win their last two games and will take the conference’s second playoff seed if the Patriots lose their last two.

Baltimore was able to put itself in that position because of Tucker, three interceptions and an incredible defensive showing against the NFL’s second-ranked offense. The defense was physical with Calvin Johnson all night, but he still finished with six catches for 98 yards after being held without a reception on the Lions’ first three possessions.

The Ravens were outgained 349-305, but held Detroit to its fourth-lowest total of the year and forced turnovers when needed.

Quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 222 yards with Jacoby Jones (six catches for 80 yards) and Torrey Smith (four for 69) being his top targets. Tailback Ray Rice added 56 of Baltimore’s 90 rushing yards.

Flacco endured a scare in the fourth quarter when he took a helmet to his left knee that bent it inward. But he didn’t miss a snap after being examined by medical staff, and told reporters he felt fine after the game.

Linebacker Daryl Smith had a huge game with a sack and an interception. Safety Matt Elam had a game-high 10 tackles and his first career interception. Defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson also had his first career pick.

And thus, the Ravens’ march toward the playoffs continues. Baltimore keeps winning the close ones, and this time showed it could do it on the road. The Ravens improved to just 2-5 away from M&T Bank Stadium and won their third straight game decided by three points or fewer.

The Ravens are finding ways to win even if they can’t run the ball or hold a team down from beginning to end. Because of that, they’re in total control heading into the last two weeks of the regular season.