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.
* 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.