DETROIT, Mich. – Justin Tucker, the placekicker for the Baltimore Ravens, is the best in the game at his position. Not many players in the NFL can say that, but his numbers say it all; since 1938, no kicker in NFL history has a better field goal percentage than Tucker (90.741% over 10 seasons).
On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens leaned on their veteran once again. Trailing by just a point with three seconds left in the game, coach John Harbaugh asked Tucker to do the unthinkable; line up from 66-yards away and win the game with one kick.
The 31-year-old veteran nailed an NFL record-breaking 66-yard field goal to give the Ravens (2-1) a miraculous 19-17 victory. It was one of four field goals made by Tucker on the day as he accounted for 13 of the Ravens’ 19 points.
The Detroit Lions (0-3) stay winless after being just moments away from their first victory of the year.
How the Kick Got Set Up
Once the two-minute warning hit, it seemed like the Lions had all the control and momentum in the game. Baltimore had only one timeout, and the Lions were deep in Baltimore territory, trailing by just two points. A few plays later, a 35-yard field goal from Ryan Santoso put the Lions ahead by one with under a minute left.
The Ravens got the ball back with no timeouts to work with and deep in their own territory. The first three plays of their drive only made their chances worse as quarterback Lamar Jackson took two sacks and threw an incompletion, setting up a 4th down and 19 to go. At that point, ESPN’s win probability gave the Lions a 99.9% chance of escaping with a victory.
However, a conservative defensive play call allowed Jackson to connect with Sammy Watkins for 36 yards and a first down to the Lions’ 48-yard line. A spike and an incompletion from Jackson set the stage for Tucker’s jaw-dropping kick.
Tucker Loves Ford Field
Tucker has had his fair share of game-winning kicks, but perhaps no stadium has treated Tucker better than Ford Field. In 2013, Tucker set multiple career-highs in a win over Detroit. He drilled a franchise-record six field goals, including his career-long (at the time) of 61 yards for another game-winner. He scored all 18 points in that game as the Ravens got a very similar win to the 2021 game.
Now, Tucker holds the claim to the NFL record for the longest field goal at 66 yards. The previous record came from Matt Prater, who kicked a 64-yard bomb in 2013 as a member of the Denver Broncos.
Tucker has hit 13 of 14 field goals (92%) attempted against Detroit in his career.
Lamar, D’Andre Swift Shine
It was another solid statistical output against the Lions for former MVP Lamar Jackson. He tore up their depleted secondary, throwing for 287 yards and a TD while running for another 58 yards. He and his favorite target, tight end Mark Andrews, knew exactly how to attack the Lions’ secondary. Andrews finished with 5 receptions for 109 yards in the winning effort.
Lions’ running back D’Andre Swift was the leader of a surprisingly solid Lions’ offense. The second-year man from Georgia carried the ball 14 times for 47 yards and a TD while grabbing 7 receptions for 60 yards.
Quarterback Jared Goff was solid, completing a high percentage of passes (22-30, 73.3%) and avoiding any mistakes. However, he also did not throw a touchdown pass and seemed to lack the ability to connect on the deep ball. The connection between a new QB and brand new wide receivers will be tough to build up, but it is something Detroit has to figure out if they want teams to respect their passing game.
Ravens @ Broncos, Sunday, October 3, Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.
Lions @ Bears, Sunday, October 3, Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.