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Justin Tucker Delivers 'Legendary' Performance In Win Over Bengals


Justin Tucker walked out to the field before his 57-yard field-goal attempt, brushed off the area of the turf where the ball would get spotted, and told holder Sam Koch, "This is going to be legendary."

Tucker was right. He drilled the field goal with plenty of room to spare, which was one of his four field goals in Baltimore's 19-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The fifth-year kicker was the Ravens' best weapon in Sunday's victory, as he extended his league-leading streak to 34 consecutive field goals and tied an NFL record with three field goals longer than 50 yards in the same game. He is the first NFL kicker to hit three first-half field goals from beyond 50.

"That guy's special," veteran lineman Marshal Yanda said. "That's for sure. What he did today, and he's shown it all year long, that guy's in a zone."

Tucker's confidence is clearly high right now, and there doesn't seem to be any kick too big for him. He's the only kicker in the league who has connected on all of his field goal and extra-point attempts this season.

"I do feel like I'm in the zone right now, but I feel like we are in the zone," Tucker said.

Tucker wanted the pressure of the long kicks, and he even had to do a little persuading to get the go-ahead from his head coach on the 57-yard field goal.

Before that attempt, Tucker ran onto the field to get in position to kick as soon as the offense failed to convert on third down. Head Coach John Harbaugh hesitated before sending the field-goal unit onto the field, so Tucker then yelled over to the sidelines to make it clear he was confident he could connect.

"I don't think there really was much of a conversation. It was more of, 'We're kicking it. And they're going to have to drag me off the field,'" Tucker said. "I feel like that's just the Raven way. You want the ball in your hands, or in my case, at my feet. And this game was no different."

Harbaugh revealed after the game that he was planning to punt in that situation before getting the push from Tucker, Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg and Kicking Coach Randy Brown to try the field goal.

"Tucker, Jerry and Randy were all saying, 'Let's kick it.' So that was easy," Harbaugh said. "That made the call for me."

In addition to the 57 yarder, Tucker also connected from 52 and 54 yards. He had plenty of distance on all three of those kicks, which brought up the question after the game about what his maximum range would have been.

Tucker said he's confident he could connect from about 75 yards, but wasn't too interested in getting into all of those hypotheticals.

"A day like today, what matters is that we made the kicks we were sent out there to make, and I will leave it at that," he said.

Tucker actually almost had an opportunity to become the first kicker in NFL history to hit four field goals longer than 50 yards in a single game. The Ravens were facing a fourth-and-1 from Cincinnati's 35-yard line to start the fourth quarter, but Harbaugh opted to keep his offense on the field. The Ravens picked up the first down on that play, and Tucker ended up hitting a 36-yard field goal later on the drive.

"I think [Tucker] was running out there on that one, too, wasn't he?" Harbaugh said. "We thought about getting to three [points] right there, and that 'Tuck' would make it, but we also wanted to try to get seven if we could."

Players marveled at what Tucker was able to do against Cincinnati, but some also held back on giving him too much praise. Tucker is one of the most vocal players in the locker room, and his teammates joked that nobody will be able to reign in his ego after his performance Sunday.

"He's going to love this," veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said before answering a question about Tucker. "We got the best kicker in the league. There's no doubt about it. But we've got to keep the young kid humble."

Quarterback Joe Flacco joked that "there's no way" for the Ravens to keep Tucker humble, but he's earned that right with the way he's played this year.

The comments about Tucker's ego were all made in fun, and the kicker has good friends throughout the locker room. Punter Sam Koch and long snapper Morgan Cox both came into the media room to hear Tucker's post-game press conference, and they fully expect to have more important moments come their way later this season.

"I have the best snapper, the best holder and punter in football and they make my job so much easier," Tucker said. "To be on this sort of roll that we are on now is good, but it doesn't end today, it hopefully will not end at the end of December or the first part of January. Hopefully this is something that would help carry our team all the way to the playoffs and hopefully to a championship."

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