DETROIT — Most of the Detroit Lions didn’t watch it and none of the Baltimore Ravens needed to.
Kicker Justin Tucker capped off a historic night with a 61-yard field goal with 38 seconds left to lead the Ravens to an 18-16 victory over the Lions.
Not only was it the third-longest game-winning field goal in history, it was Tucker’s sixth of the game and 33rd straight without a miss, the longest current streak in the NFL.
Asked if he thought the field goal would be good, Lions center Dominic Raiola said, “I don’t know. I didn’t watch it.”
Ravens cornerback Corey Graham didn’t have to watch it.
“He’s unbelievable in practice, he’s hitting 60, sometimes 65, 70-yarders,” Graham said. “His range is unbelievable. You could tell by the confidence the team had in him by running the ball and just trying to get a couple yards because we know how he can kick the ball. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has also seen Tucker’s long-distance prowess in practice.
“I would have liked to have gotten a little bit closer, but we didn’t do a good enough job there,” Flacco said. “I did have confidence once we were running off the field that he was going to hit that kick.”
After an uneven start, the Ravens appear to have found their groove, winning four straight and five of their last six to improve to 8-6.
“The word ‘can’t’ is not one that we’re about, especially in this month of December,” Tucker said.
Because the Cincinnati Bengals lost, the Ravens can win the AFC North if they win out.
The Lions are seemingly headed in the other direction, having lost four of their last five to fall to 7-7.
Normally when a defense holds the other team’s offense to just field goals, that defense’s team wins the game.
“Six field goals, that’s a lot of field goals,” Lions safety Glover Quin said. “Then the dagger at the end, 60-something-yarder, whatever it was. You just gotta tip your hat to him and hey, he made the kick. He just made the kick.”
The other two kickers with longer game-winning field goals were New Orleans’ Tom Dempsey, who kicked a 63-yarder against — who else — the Lions in 1970, and Tampa Bay’s Matt Bryant, who kicked a 62-yard field goal against Philadelphia in 2006.
But Tucker is the first kicker in league history to make a field goal from distances in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
And on the two previous occasions, social media either didn’t exist or was not as prevalent as it is now.
“I’ve been getting hit up actually quite a bit on the Twittersphere leading up to the game for a couple days _ people in their fantasy playoff matchups,” Tucker said. “I’m glad to come through, of course, for my team here — my reality team.
“But also for all my fantasy owners, a big thank you for picking me up. It means a lot to me, and hopefully I can contribute to the successes of your respective teams.”