Justin Tucker May Have Kicked Detroit Out Of The Playoffs

DETROIT – It was a kick that most won't ever forget.

It's a rare sight to see a monster kick to win an NFL game at the end, but that's exactly what happened on Monday Night Football.

Justin Tucker's 61-yard, game-winning field goal with 38 seconds to go gave the Baltimore Ravens a stunning 18-16 victory over the Detroit Lions here at Ford Field.

It was one of those I-Can't-Believe-What-I-Just-Saw moments.

It was Goosebump City.

Peeps in Baltimore probably jumped so high in their living rooms that they almost hit the ceiling. And in Motown, either at the stadium or at home, fans slumped or deflated in sheer agony.

It was one of those thrilling moments you will remember where you were because it's something you almost ever see.

We're not talking just a long field goal. We're talking 61 yards, just inside the right uprights. It was a kick for the ages.

"I had no doubt that he was going to make it," Ravens' CB Jimmy Smith said.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz will never forget it as well.

Not because it was a game-winner, but because that kick will probably cost Schwartz his gig after the season if—and, no doubt some Lions fans are saying when—the Lions fail to make the playoffs.

It's like deja vu all over again. It was a 54-yard game-winning field goal by the Chicago Bears' Paul Edinger on December 24, 2000 that changed this franchise for ever.

It made the Ford Family clean house, fire the coaching staff and the front office.

It created the Matt Millen Era, one of the worst times in this organization's history.

Stay tuned. It appears that history will repeat itself.

It seems almost impossible this time around because just a few weeks ago it was a foregone conclusion they were postseason-bound. After all, the Lions were 6-3. Plus, their division rivals both had their star quarterbacks injured—Bears’ Jay Cutler and the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers. In fact, overzealous Lions fans were burning up sports-talk radio, talking about the Lions winning 11-12 games with ease.

It was supposed to be a piece a cake, a layup even a fourth-grader could make.

Enter a national TV audience. Enter a game the Lions had to win after both Chicago and Green Bay both won on Sunday. Enter pressure playing the defending Super Bowl champs, the Ravens, in a must-win for them, too.

This was supposed to finally be the big game the Lions won, shaking off years of losing and letting fans know the division is theirs.


It was the S.O.L. Same Ol' Lions. Another disappointing loss fans won't soon forget.

Schwartz brushed off the question of whether he was given any assurances from ownership about his job.

"We have two games," said Schwartz, whose team has now lost four of its last five games. "The only thing we need to worry about, that's the only thing we need to concern ourselves with right now."

The Lions know they blew a golden opportunity. Did we mention the Ravens had won just one road game all season before this game? It matches when the Lions let lowly Tampa Bay come into town a few weeks ago and beat them as well.

"We're 7-7 now," Lions center Dominic Raiola said. "We have to move forward, we have to bounce back."

"Yeah, this one hurts."

Mostly because the Lions gave up their own destiny. Their playoff hopes are no longer in their hands. In fact, if the Bears and Packers both win on Sunday, the Lions are out of the playoffs. Period. End of story.

"It's something you don't want to do," said quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw three interceptions in the game, bringing his total to 13 INTs and two fumbles in the last seven games. "But you have to move forward from it and go try to win the next two."

Nothing is as easy as it looks for the Lions. The deathly-silent locker room was proof after another debacle.

"Our emotions are important right now," Schwartz said. "This is a setback, no question, because like you said, we did control our destiny until tonight."

Then came that field goal to remember. Not just for the distance, but for the damage it will do – just like Edinger 13 years ago.

Lions fans never forgot it.

NFL fans will never forget Tucker's, either.

Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.