OWINGS MILLS -- After missing two field goal attempts Sunday, then making the game-winner as time expired, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is determined to be more consistent during the final six games.
With their offense ravaged by injuries, the Ravens can’t afford to leave points on the table. Tucker has been one of the NFL’s best kickers, especially in clutch situations. However, with 1:18 left in Sunday’s game, Tucker missed a 51-yarder that would have broken a 13-13 tie. He had already missed from 51 yards in the first quarter.
Tucker redeemed himself quickly. After linebacker Courtney Upshaw’s strip sack got the ball back for Baltimore, Tucker booted a 47-yard game-winner to cap a 16-13 victory. But afterward in the locker room, Tucker had mixed emotions.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this upset or mad after hitting a game-winner, but this is kind of unchartered territory for me,” Tucker said. “To be able to bounce back like that though, it’s definitely satisfying.”
Conditions were windy at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, but Tucker may face challenging conditions again Monday night when the Ravens visit the Browns. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who was a special teams coach for years with the Eagles, has noticed a difference in Tucker’s mechanics at times this season. Tucker has made 22 of 28 field goal attempts, but the six misses are a season-high for his four-year career.
“To my eye, and I shared this with Justin, it’s his swing,” Harbaugh said. “When he swings the way he’s supposed to, when he swings the way he’s capable of -- the fundamentally correct way to do it as he does in practice 99 times out of 100 -- he hits a straight ball. When he doesn’t swing the right way for whatever reason, you’d have to ask him what happens.
“There’s a lot to it. There’s the hold, the snap, the whole thing goes together. There’s the wind. There’s the footing. All those things are a factor, no question, but the swing mechanics are the main thing.”
The Ravens will need a smooth swing from Tucker the rest of the way. Close games seem to be the only kind of games the Ravens play this season.