Matt Prater came short and paid the price, not once but twice.
His attempt to break his own record for the longest field goal in NFL history — 64-yards in the thin air of Denver eight years ago — backfired on Sunday when a former teammate hit Jacksonville. He returned his 68-yard effort to a record 109 yards in the heavy wind. For a touchdown on the last game of the first half.
Prater’s third-quarter field goal from half-distance ignited the Cardinals’ comeback from a 13-7 halftime deficit that sent the Jaguars into their 18th consecutive defeat.
But his record fell anyway.
A thousand miles north, at Detroit’s climate-controlled Ford Field, where Prater wielded his craft for the past seven seasons, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in league history, hit his 40-yard line with three seconds remaining. But stood.
His holder was at the Ravens 44, and after some heroics by Lamar Jackson and a little help from the caretaker, the Lions was the snapper at 48.
Tucker’s attempt from 66 yards bounced over the crossbar as time ran out to send the Ravens to an electric 19-17 victory over the Lions.
“That was more like a kickoff,” said Tucker, who stepped on his way to destroy the ball with his own 44. “It’s like you’re a competitor in a long drive competition. You just rip it off and hope it stays straight.”
Prater’s league record held for 2,850 days was broken. Although he does not hold the record for the longest field goal scored against the Titans on December 8, 2013, 64 yards, Prater does have the longest field goal for three franchises: the Cardinals (62 yards), the Lions (63) and the Broncos. (64).
Kickers have never been this clutch so quickly, but Cliff Kingsbury had a 68-yard prater attempt in Florida.
Jamal Agnew returned 109 yards for a touchdown, breaking two tackles and removing another before passing Prater for the final 10 yards.
“It’s almost as much a moment of adversity as you can face in an NFL football game, something that happens just before half,” Kingsbury said after the Cardinals improved 3-0 for the first time since 2015. “Guys didn’t blink. Even when we went down two points, people still didn’t blink. I was really proud of that effort.”
Three other games were decided on last-second field goals in addition to Tucker’s record-breaker in Week 3.
– Daniel Carlsen, whose missed extra point allowed the Dolphins to send the game into overtime, won it with a 22-yarder as time ran out to keep the Raiders unbeaten and with Denver topsy-turvy AFC Tied up with West.
– Youngho Koo’s 40-yard clock hit zero as the Falcons sent him to the Winless Giants at MetLife Stadium, where he played high school ball in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
– The day the Kickers ruled the NFL came to a close Sunday night when Green Bay defeated the 49ers 30-28 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., after Mason Crosby’s 51-yard deadline ended Won victory.
In total, there have been 10 go-ahead field goals in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime this season. This is the highest in the third week since the 1970 merger.
Although not game-winners, Denver’s Brandon McManus (14 points), Cleveland’s Chase McLaughlin (14 points) and Minnesota’s Greg Joseph (12 points) also put up monster performances on Sunday.
Even in this day and age of prolific passing sports, a good chunk of games each week come down to the biggest toes on the turf.
And a little luck.
Here’s the rub for the Lions – and for Prater – before back Judge Tucker’s record-breaking field goal missed a delayed game penalty on the snap, which backed the Ravens for 5 yards and pushed Tucker out of his bounds .
After throwing a 36-yard pass to Sammy Watkins on his 16th and 19th, Jackson left the ball seven seconds to stop the clock. TV footage suggested that the play clock ended about 2 seconds before the snap on the next play, an incomplete one.
Lions first-year coach Dan Campbell said, “We’ll apologize and it doesn’t make any sense.”
Tucker – who scored a 61-yard kick to defeat the Lions in the previous Detroit trip to Baltimore eight years ago – then came out and scored a record-breaking field goal.
“I love Detroit,” Tucker said. “I’m thinking about getting a place here.”
AP Pro Football Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville and AP Sports Writer Larry Ledge in Detroit contributed to this report.