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Thursday, January 16, 2014
Ten plays that shaped Lions season -- No. 2

By Michael Rothstein

Over the next two weeks, we will look at 10 critical plays that shaped the Detroit Lions season in one way or another.

Not all of them will be bad and certainly, with the way the Lions cratered to a 7-9 finish, they will not all be good. And some may be have just been fantastic plays.

As always when it comes to these sorts of lists, this is subjective and are plays, for good or bad, that stuck out to me when I made this list. Agree or disagree vehemently, let's chat about it. Oh, and we'll be going in reverse order from 10 to 1.

Past plays: No. 10 -- PI in Arizona; No. 9 -- Reggie Bush's screen vs. Minnesota; No. 8 -- Calvin Johnson gets the drops; No. 7 -- Jeremy Ross' snow-covered return; No. 6 -- Matthew Stafford's pick-six; No. 5 -- Mike Nugent's game-winning field goal; No. 4 -- The kneel to end regulation in Giants-Lions; No. 3 -- Stafford's fake spike

Today, we present Play No. 2

When: Dec. 16, 2013

Justin Tucker
The Ravens' Justin Tucker effectively sunk the Lions' season with his 61-yard field goal on Monday Night Football.
Where: Ford Field, where the Lions lost to Baltimore, 18-16, on Monday Night Football.

What happened: It wobbled and hung in the air for what felt like a minute even though it was a few seconds in reality. But Justin Tucker's 61-yard field goal gave Baltimore a win on Monday Night Football in a game in which the Lions' offense was impotent for the most part and the defense held Jim Caldwell, now theirnew coach, without a touchdown. The Ravens didn't need it, though, as they made six field goals and won the game.

What they said about it: Matthew Stafford: "Off the foot, I thought it was going to be short just because it had so much height. Obviously, they have a lot of confidence in their kicker. He's done a great job for them all year."

Safety Glover Quin: "[Tucker] made a great kick. He was their whole, I mean, he hit what, six field goals tonight?"

Former head coach Jim Schwartz: "The only assurance we need is we have two games to play and we're one down in our division. That's the only thing we need to worry about. That's the only thing that we need to concern ourselves with right now. We need to find a way to come back with a win against the Giants, go on the road and beat the Vikings and let the dust settle and see where that takes us."

Tucker: "I'm glad to come through of course for my reality team but also for all my fantasy owners."

How the Lions' season was impacted: For the first time in two months, Detroit no longer controlled its playoff fate -- something the Lions had heading into the game. It was another in a string of fourth-quarter collapses for Detroit, although this one had all the implications of sending a season in trouble into disarray. By losing this game, the Lions had to win out in order to make the playoffs. Instead, they lost out and Jim Schwartz was fired, opening the position for Caldwell to take this week. Of all the plays that happened this season for Detroit, this one appeared to be the most crushing for its players because of the implications involved and how well the Lions' defense had played for most of the game.