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As kickers struggle, Tucker looks better and better


As kickers struggle, Tucker looks better and better

As NFL kickers shanked and clanked balls off uprights on Sunday, the value of Justin Tucker just continued to grow.

It was a forgettable weekend to be an NFL kicker, starting with Josh Scobee’s misses at Heinz Field on Thursday night. And that was just the beginning:

* Tampa Bay kicker Kyle Brindza missed two field-goal attempts – including a 29-yarder – and an extra-point kick;

* The Eagles’ Caleb Sturgis, who was signed just last week, missed a field-goal try of 33 yards and an extra-point try in a game the Eagles lost by three;

* At Indianapolis, the Jaguars’ Jason Myers missed a 53-yarder in the closing seconds that would have won the game. Then in overtime, the Jaguars played conservatively on a third-and-11, running the ball to set up a 48-yarder by Myers, which he promptly missed. The Colts won on their next possession.

MORE RAVENS: Bengals fast start puts Ravens in deep AFC North hole

* And in New Orleans, Saints kicker Zach Hocker clanked a 30-yarder off the upright at the end of regulation, although the Saints ultimately won in overtime.

Around the league, there were 14 missed field-goal attempts in Week 4 through Sunday, as well as four missed extra-point kicks – including one by Chicago’s Robbie Gould that was blocked.

“The state of kicking in the NFL is not good,” said Eagles coach Chip Kelly, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

At least in Baltimore it is.

Tucker’s 52-yard game-winner Thursday was the longest ever made by an opponent at Heinz Field. It was the eighth game-winner of Tucker’s career, and it came after he had hit a 42-yarder to force overtime.

Overall this year, Tucker is 10-for-11 on field-goal tries, with his only miss coming from 50 yards. He has made 36 straight kicks from inside 50 yards dating to 2013, and his career percentage of .899 (107-for-119) ranks second-best in NFL history.

The NFL wanted to inject more drama into the kicking game this year, and the league has gotten its wish.

In Baltimore, though, Tucker has kept things consistent and dependable and, well, that’s just fine with the Ravens.

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.


“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.