Ray Rice’s feet delivered in the clutch with an improbable First Down, but it was kicker Justin Tucker who accomplished a bigger feat, boosting the Baltimore Ravens past the staggering San Diego Chargers.
Tucker’s 38-yard field goal with 1:07 left in overtime completed the Ravens’ rally for a 16-13 victory over the Chargers on Sunday before 57,882 at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Ravens (9-2) came back from a 13-3 deficit, which the Chargers built midway through the fourth quarter, to extend their winning streak to four games. They also increased their lead to three games in the AFC North over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
The Chargers (4-7) had a chance to clinch the win in the final two minutes of regulation. They forced Baltimore into a fourth-and-29 situation at the Ravens’ 27-yard line. However, Joe Flacco hit Rice for what appeared to be a 30-yard gain and a first down at the Chargers’ 33 with 1:37 left.
Three plays later, Tucker booted a 38-yard field goal at the end of regulation to knot the score at 13 and produce overtime.
The Ravens’ game-winning drive in overtime started at their own 11-yard line and was highlighted by a Flacco’s 31-yard completion to Torrey Smith that moved the ball to the Chargers’ 16. Tucker’s field goal ended it.
The Chargers never trailed until Tucker’s game-winning boot in overtime. They took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 21-yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd, capping a nine-play, 78-yard drive.
San Diego made it 10-0 on a 47-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 3:04 left in the second quarter.
The Ravens scored on their opening drive of the second half. A 54-yard pass by Flacco to Smith gave Baltimore a first down at the San Diego 27-yard line, but the drive stalled at the 25 three plays later. The Ravens settled for a 43-yard field goal by Tucker, cutting the Chargers’ lead to 10-3 with 12:19 left in the third.
Another Baltimore drive stalled deep in San Diego territory later in the quarter, but this time the Ravens came away empty. On a fourth-and-one at the Chargers’ 14, Rice was thrown for a two-yard loss by defensive end Corey Liuget with 30 seconds remaining in the third.
The Chargers got a 30-yard field goal by Novak with 7:51 left to increase their margin to 13-3, but they would never score again.
The Ravens sliced the deficit to 13-10 on a four-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to tight end Dennis Pitta with 4:19 remaining.
Baltimore now heads home to host the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday afternoon at 4:25.