Justin Tucker Changes Ending To Pats-Ravens Story


The last time the Ravens played the Patriots, the game ended with one sideline celebrating the result of a late field goal.

That was once again the case on Sunday, but the Ravens sideline was the jubilant one this time around. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker drilled a 27-yard field goal as the clock expired Sunday night, giving the Ravens a 31-30 victory over the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium.

"I try to make it feel the same, but at the same time, you can't help it, there's a lot of emotion," Tucker said after the game. "There's a lot of history between these two teams. It's just one of those things that you accept, and you've really just got to embrace it and embrace it in the moment."

The kick didn't make it in by much, as it just squeaked through the right upright. Some of the Patriots players and coaches protested the call with the officials after the game.  

"From my angle, it looked very close," Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said. "They have to [review it]. You have to. In a game like this, you have to. They ran off the field, so, it is what it is. I'm not going to sit here and pick a fight with those guys. They have a job to do, we have a job to do. The only thing we can do is play better and try not to be in those situations."

Tucker said that he knew it was in as soon as it left his foot and that it doesn't matter how close it was to being wide right.

"Bottom line is it went in," Tucker said. "That's all I care about. It went in."

The kick improved Tucker to a perfect seven-for-seven on field-goal attempts this season, and it answered the question of how he would respond in a clutch situation with the game on the line. The undrafted rookie once again showed that he's up to the challenge of making pressure kicks.

"It's big," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It's really big. To hit your first game-winner like that, I think that's something that every kicker would cherish."

Since Tucker first arrived in Baltimore, he's prided himself on his ability to make clutch kicks. He beat out incumbent Billy Cundiff for the starting job and has been perfect in game action, including the preseason.

Tucker's confidence has been evident, and as he lined up for the field goal to give the Ravens the victory, a number of teammates said they had no doubt he would make it.

"Tucker's money, man," safety Bernard Pollard said. "Tucker's different from every other kicker. The dude has character. He's loud, he's having fun and we're enjoying him."

Tucker actually made the kick twice because Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick called a timeout to "freeze" him just before the play. The Ravens still snapped the ball as the officials blew the play dead, and Tucker kicked the ball through the uprights.

The kick was waived off and Tucker then had to try it again, which he didn't mind.

"You see that all across football, from high school all the way up to here," Tucker said. "I really just take the opportunity to take a warm-up shot at it. I take it for what it's worth. If somebody wants to do that, it really just gives the guy another opportunity."

As he's done throughout this rookie season, Tucker emphasized after the game that he's not going to get too caught up in celebrating this kick.

"It was pretty cool," Tucker said. "It may not have sunk in yet. I'll give myself a few minutes to think about it while I grab a bite a little later. Then it's on to Thursday."

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