Rapid Reaction: Baltimore Ravens
December, 16, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
DETROIT -- A few thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 18-16 win at the Detroit Lions.
What it means: On the wings of Justin Tucker's 61-yard field goal with 38 seconds remaining, the Ravens (8-6) maintained their hold on the AFC's No. 6 seed and closed to one game of the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (9-5). Baltimore can win the division for a third straight season by winning its remaining two games (home against New England and at the Bengals). It marked Baltimore's fourth straight victory, the team's longest win streak since winning four consecutive games in last season's playoffs. This was huge in terms of raising the Ravens' confidence level on the road. Baltimore won its second game away from home this season and its first since winning at Miami on Oct. 6.
Stock watch: Rising: Tucker. The second-year kicker remained automatic for the Ravens, making all six field goals (29, 24, 32, 49, 53 and 61 yards). He has converted 33 straight field goals, which is the longest current streak in the league. It's also four away from breaking Matt Stover's team record (36).
Flacco hurt: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco took a hit on his left knee from linebacker DeAndre Levy with 8:52 left in the game. The knee looked like it got hyperextended, but Flacco never missed a play.
Unlikely turnover: It's no surprise that the Lions turned the ball over. But it was a shock to see who came up with it for the Ravens. Backup defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson, a seventh-round pick from a year ago, came up with his first career interception. After the pass was deflected twice, Tyson tipped it to himself before making the pick at the Ravens' 27-yard line. Baltimore converted the turnover into another field goal, putting the Ravens ahead 12-7 with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
Bad start: The Ravens' defense had a nightmare opening series. Baltimore let the Lions march down the field 78 yards on eight plays, a drive capped by Reggie Bush's 14-yard touchdown. Of the Lions' last 49 yards gained, 32 of them can be blamed on safety Matt Elam, who made headlines last week by calling Calvin Johnson "pretty old." He had an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting a sliding Matthew Stafford in the head and then had a missed tackle.
What's next: The Ravens play their last regular-season home game against the AFC East-leading New England Patriots (10-4) in a rematch of the past two AFC Championship Games. The Patriots are 3-4 on the road this season.