Harbaugh: Justin Tucker knew he could make it
Before Justin Tucker could trot out onto the field and put his seemingly automatic right leg to work, somebody had to put the Ravens in something resembling field-goal range.
And Jacoby Jones did that. Twice, in fact.
Jones is more of a threat as a return specialist, but his work as a receiver at Detroit was a huge factor, directly leading to last-minute field goals in both halves of the Ravens' 18-16 win.
Jones had the biggest play of the game by a Raven not named Tucker, as he made a leaping grab for a 27-yard gain on third-and-15 that put the ball at the Lions' 45-yard line at the two-minute warning.
Four plays and 2 yards later, Tucker hit the game-winning, 61-yard field goal.
Jones finished with a team-high six catches -- the most he's had as a Raven and the same number as Calvin "Megatron" Johnson -- for 80 yards.
Trailing 7-6 late in the first half, the Ravens took over at their own 15-yard line with 1:20 left. Rather than play it conservatively, Joe Flacco came out firing. He hit Jones for 18 yards on the first play, and then hit him for 21 more yards down the left sideline on the next play.
Just like that, the Ravens were in business, and it led to a 32-yard field goal by Tucker and a 9-7 lead as the first half ended.
But Jones and Tucker certainly saved the best for last.
After the Lions jumped back ahead 16-15 with 2:21 left, Jones returned the ensuing kick to the Ravens 33-yard line.
But a pair of incompletions and a false start by left tackle Eugene Monroe left the Ravens staring at third-and-15 with 2:04 left. With the Ford Field crowd deafening, Flacco stepped up and found Jones down the middle near midfield. The ball was high, but Jones, who has never been known for great hands as a receiver, extended every bit of his 6-foot-2 frame to haul it in on the run.
"They were playing a pretty soft defense so you knew there was going to be a lot of room behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties," Flacco said.
Jones, Flacco said, ran "a 20-yard crossing route and I had the confidence that he was gonna be there. He made a nice catch and got a few yards after it too."
In fact, Jones cut across the field and got to the Lions' 45-yard line. It put the Ravens on the cusp of Tucker's range.
The Ravens only got 2 yards after that, but with Tucker's leg, that proved to be just enough.