BALTIMORE — Justin Tucker's kick almost didn't go in.
The kick went off the rookie's foot and started moving up and to the right. And just as it got to the right upright, it sneaked in, but just barely. History would not repeat itself, and the Ravens came back to defeat New England 31-30.
"It may not have sunk in yet," Tucker said. "I'll give myself a few minutes to think about it while I grab a bite a little later on."
Tucker had to make the kick twice, as the Patriots called a timeout just before the Ravens snapped the ball with two seconds left on the clock. His first kick went through without a problem, right down the middle.
It's not something that bothered Tucker, though he made the second kick look a lot tougher than the first one.
"You see that all across football, from high school all the way up to here," Tucker said. "I really just take the opportunity to take a warm-up shot at it. I take it for what it's worth."
The fact Tucker was in position to make a game-winning kick was remarkable in itself. New England went up 30-21 with 14:19 left in the game after Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 20-yard field goal.
The Ravens drove down to the New England 33 yard line but were stifled on a fourth down play with one yard to go. The Ravens took Ray Rice out of the game and checked in backup running back Bernard Pierce and offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie in. After showing one formation with McKinnie as a fullback, the Ravens shifted into another with him as a tackle-eligible tight end.
Pierce received the handoff and was stopped for a one-yard loss.
But the Ravens defense forced a punt to get the ball back. Quarterback Joe Flacco led the Ravens on an eight-play, 92-yard drive, capped with a five-yard touchdown throw to Torrey Smith.
Smith, playing with a heavy heart after finding out his brother was killed in a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning, finished the game with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
"I didn't want to hurt my team," Smith said. "I came here, and the more I was around (my teammates), the more comfortable I was. I'm glad I came back up here."
The Patriots picked up three first downs on their next drive, with two coming on Baltimore penalties. But the Ravens managed to force another Patriots punt with 2:01 remaining in the game.
Flacco took to the air immediately, beginning the drive at the Ravens 21. He completed a pass to Jacoby Jones that was good for 24 yards. His next two passes went to tight end Dennis Pitta for gains of three and 17.
Three plays later, the Ravens faced a third-and-9 from the Patriots 24 and caught a much-needed break. Flacco looked deep to Jones again, but Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty interfered with the receiver. The penalty placed the ball at New England's seven yard line. Flacco then took a two-yard loss to center the ball for Tucker's game-winning kick.
Flacco finished the game 28-39 for 382 yards for three touchdowns and one interception.
"It was a little up and down there," Flacco said. "We kind of went on some streaks as an offense. We scored here, had a couple lulls. I think we did a good job from the second quarter on."
Flacco arguably outperformed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the second consecutive time, except this time Flacco got the win. Brady completed 28 of 41 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown but could not put the game away down the stretch.
Baltimore got off to a slow start in the first quarter as New England jumped out to a 13-0 lead. Twice, it erased two-possession leads before coming away with its second victory of the season.
"What would be a better story than the one you just saw?" coach John Harbaugh said.
Tucker hits game-winning FG to beat Pats
Ravens Insider Top Stories
Fantasy Football PK and DEF Target PointsSenior Fantasy Football Expert Shawn Childs looks at the strategies behind the often forgotten kickers and defenses in the Fantasy Football world.
Week 4: Fantasy Football SleepersEach week, the Former No. 1 Fantasy Football Owner in the World Mark Deming will provide legitimate sleepers to get into your lineups.
Scout FantasyYesterday at 1:00 PM
Week 4: FAAB & Blind Bidding GuideFantasy Football Expert Armando Marsal recommends players to consider adding and how much of your FAAB budget to use heading into Week 4 of the Fantasy Football season!
Scout FantasyYesterday at 11:09 AM
Star DevelopmentYear after year, several SEC programs "out-recruit" Mississippi State landing big-time 4-star and 5-star recruits, yet the Bulldogs still manage to compete with the heavy hitters…
Gene's PageMonday at 12:08 PM