John Harbaugh Pinpoints Problem On Justin Tucker's Misses


Justin Tucker was more subdued than usual after hitting Sunday's game-winning field goal.

He had just booted his third game winner of the season – all three of the Ravens' victories have come off Tucker's right foot in walk-off fashion – but he was still stewing over a pair of misses earlier in the day.

"I'm pretty upset with how I kicked the ball today," Tucker said just minutes after the 16-13 victory over St. Louis. "But at least we got the winner."

Tucker sent a 47-yard field goal through the same goal posts where he had missed a pair of 51-yard attempts earlier in the day wide right.

The misses continued a frustrating trend for Tucker on kicks beyond 50 yards this year. He is now 2-of-7 on field-goals attempts of at least 50 yards. He is 20-of-21 on all other field goals, and has nailed all 20 extra points. His six misses this season are a career high.

Head Coach John Harbaugh explained that the misses come down to fundamentals.

"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, and he hits a really good ball."

The missed attempts in Sunday's game came on a blustery afternoon in Baltimore where the wind gusts reached more than 20 miles per hour. The winds also tend to swirl inside M&T Bank Stadium, which can make life difficult on kickers.

"There's a lot to it. There's the hold; there's the snap; the whole thing goes together. There's the wind. There's the footing," Harbaugh said. "All those things are a factor, no question, but the swing mechanics are the main thing, and it's not hard to see when the swing mechanics aren't what we would be looking for or what he would be looking for. To my eye, that's what happened in the game yesterday."

Tucker has struggled with the long kicks at M&T Bank Stadium this year, as five of his six misses have come in Baltimore. The fourth-year kicker didn't make any excuses, and his successful game winner Sunday showed he's able to bounce back in clutch moments.

"I've been doing this long enough now to know our stadium," Tucker said. "I've just got to hit a – we like to call it a 'Dog Pound' ball, like we're kicking into the 'Dog Pound' in Cleveland. It's a slightly different ball that you've got to hit, you just get it up over the line and make sure it goes straight. That's basically what I've got to do moving forward, regardless of the distance of the kick.

"The fact that I've missed a couple in our own stadium for 50-plus, it's just a number to me. At the end of the day, I'm just trying to make the next kick. I'm just trying to make the kick that is there at that present time."

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