Tucker put on a spectacular show last night. I missed most of the game, but I did not miss that fourth quarter.
Tucker hit six field-goals in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s range! The first kicker to ever do so, and the 61-yard field-goal was the longest in a dome and in Ravens’ history, according to my Twitter football feed. Tucker also has now converted 33 field goals in a row.
If I were to summarize the game in as few words as possible, I would do it as: Justin Tucker.
Then, if I were to summarize the Ravens’ season in as few words as possible, it would be resilience.
The Ravens may be putting games on the line, causing their fans to have anxiety attacks, but the Ravens are coming out clutch. Their wins are not always pretty, but they are getting the wins.
After starting 4-6, the Ravens are now 8-6 and in full control of their destiny in the division. There is not much else to describe it but as resilient.
Tucker is a second year kicker, and John Harbaugh asked him if they should go for it on fourth down or have him attempt the 60+ field-goal (as Harbaugh said in his interview). Harbaugh said Tucker responded simply:
“I got this. Just give me two more yards.”
Before I heard Harbaugh speak, I was confused when Ray Rice ran up the middle for three yards on 3rd down and 10. You throw the ball every time with a 60+ field-goal coming up, because those are not easily made.
There was no confusion on my part after Tucker knocked it through. The dome presented the perfect conditions to kick such a long field-goal, and Tucker did not let it go to waste. Though Tucker played well, the rest of the team has yet to find their grove.
The Ravens are not playing the same as they did last year, because they have had key losses on offense and defense. But what some people may not realize, the Ravens are two wins from having the same record as they did last year: 10-6.
The way the Ravens are getting to this record is completely different. Last year, the Ravens lost four out of the last five games heading into the playoffs. This year, it seems the Ravens are going to do the opposite, now having won four straight games.
I have mentioned this before. The Ravens’ mental toughness and the immeasurable spirit of the team is driving them forward. I won’t throw out all the stats, but there is something about this team that won’t quit no matter what the stats may say.
Matt Elam talked a whole lot before game about Calvin Johnson, and I’m not saying it got to Johnson, but something happened to him. Elam backed up his talk with good game play, while Johnson couldn’t live up to his “old man strength.”
In the first half, Johnson only had two catches for eight yards along with two drops. I watched him drop a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter that would have changed the game drastically.
The defense is keeping the Ravens’ in the playoff race. When the Ravens’ offense gets back on track, the Ravens will be a huge threat. The spirit the Ravens’ have is being fueled by the defense right now.
I may have even done it myself, but when the defense gives up a late touchdown, they are all of a sudden terrible. But the previous quarters of the game, they are keeping the Ravens in the game. With a few exceptions, the defense has kept the Ravens in the games they have played.
If the offense can explode, the defense is going to look much better. Right now, the Ravens are asking a lot from the defense.
The fact the defense held off the Detroit Lions, so the Ravens could win with no touchdowns, is an amazing achievement. The Lions can explode at any moment on offense, but the defense held them down.
The offensive line also kept Flacco safe from the Lions’ defense most of the game according to the stats I read. We all know that was a big issue with the dangerous front line of the Lions.
The New England Patriots will be a tough opponent next week, but playing at home, I think the Ravens can beat them if the defensive and offensive lines hold up.
If the Ravens can ride this wave of mental toughness and this undeniable spirit for the last two games, the playoffs are well in sight. But let’s not get too far ahead, the Ravens need to take it game-by-game.
Also, since I’m sure you’re all wondering, if you haven’t heard it yet, Flacco seems to be just fine after being hit below the knee during the game. No worries Ravens’ Nation, no worries.