Justin Tucker Delivers Another Hall-Of-Fame Performance
By John P. Evans III
The legend of Justin Tucker continues to grow.
With his four field-goal performance in Sunday’s 26-23 overtime win against AFC North foe Pittsburgh, Tucker once again played a vital role in a victory, kicking a 46-yard field goal with 10 seconds left to tie the game.
After the Baltimore defense gave the Ravens the ball within Tucker’s range in overtime, he came through with a game-winning 46-yarder. His kick seemed to have a mind of its own, starting out left of the outside post, only to float back to the right and between the posts.
It was the 14th game-winning field goal during his NFL career. With his four-for-four performance for the day, he is a perfect 10-for-10 this season. For his career, he is now 247 for 273 for a 90.5 success rate – the best all-time.
Hall of Fame numbers, for sure.
More than that, his career has become legendary.
"You don’t want to be good one time," Tucker said in the postgame press conference. "You have to be consistently good to be great. You want to be consistently great to have a legendary career. I know that sounds pretty heavy. That’s what I’m thinking about. I also know that it comes one kick at a time.”
The Week 5 win puts the Ravens at the top of the division with a 3-2 mark, and it was another notch in the shoe of the NFL’s most reliable kicker. Tucker gave plenty of credit all around to his teammates.
“I’m excited to be able to come through for a great group of guys. The offense put the ball in position for the kick, the defense came up with the big play. And the special teams had a big game. Everybody did their job,” Tucker said.
Earlier in the game, Tucker was successful on kicks of 26 and 27 yards – chip shots for him.
But to hear Tucker tell it, it’s not as easy as it seems. He said that even for himself, there are moments of “Terror.”
"There’s always nerves, butterflies, whatever you want to call it," Tucker said. "I’d go so far to say, in the smallest bit of time there, terror. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. You can be equal parts nervous, scared, confident, excited and none of it really matters, if that makes sense. All that matters is those 1.3 second between the snap, the hold and when the ball leaves my foot -- just doing our jobs."
Tucker’s day also makes him 24 for 25 at Heinz Field, reputedly one of the toughest surfaces to kick off of in the NFL. He has made 41 of 43 field goal attempts against the Steelers.
But Tucker’s performance on Sunday was even more stellar than usual due to the condition of the Heinz Field turf.
“On a couple of (kicks), my plant leg kind of came out from under me,” Tucker said. “That is part of the reason why this is a notoriously tough place to kick, especially after a game like we saw today where the field is getting trampled. Just at the end of the day, being able to come through, make kicks, and help the team win.”
Ain’t that the stuff legends are made of, after all.
And of a future Hall-of-Famer.
No doubt, one day he’ll join the likes of Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed in Canton.