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Justin Tucker Explains His Two Missed Kicks in Windy Buffalo

K Justin Tucker
K Justin Tucker

Justin Tucker wasn't interested in ranking where Saturday night's windy conditions in Buffalo ranked among the toughest conditions he's ever kicked in, but just know that they were difficult.

Tucker explained his perspective on what happened on his two misses in the first half of the Ravens' 17-3 divisional playoff loss. It was the first time in Tucker's career that he missed two kicks inside 50 yards in the same game.

Tucker said there were 15-20 mph winds inside Bills Stadium and gusts on top of that.

"On the field, the wind was definitely swirling around. It was pretty consistent. And then you would get a sudden gust that made it quite difficult to kick a ball," Tucker said.

"I think it was quite apparent that it was difficult to get a ball to go where you wanted it to go – kicking or throwing the ball. Any time you're putting the ball up in the air and subjecting it to the wind when it's that significant, it's simply just going to have an effect. Sometimes, you don't know what that effect will be."

As always, Tucker said he tested the winds before the game at Bills Stadium to see how the ball would react from each hash mark, at various distances and from both ends of the field. But with such gusts and unpredictability, all the planning can fly out the window.

"What's even more frustrating is that when the ball leaves my foot, typically I know in that instant whether or not the kick is going to be good. As soon as the ball left my foot on the two misses I had last night, it was exactly that," Tucker said.

"I felt like the ball came off my foot really, really well and the ball just didn't go through. At the end of the day, almost doesn't cut it. Putting points on the board is important. Failing to do so certainly had an impact on the game early on last night."

Tucker wasn't the only one struggling with the wind. All three quarterbacks had trouble, particularly on deep passes, and Bills kicker Tyler Bass also missed field-goal attempts from 43 and 44 yards.

Tucker said that in those conditions, "you just have to try to crush the ball and hope it works out for you."

"I frankly wouldn't have changed anything technically that I did on both of those field-goal attempts," Tucker said. "But that doesn't make me feel any better about not putting those points on the board early in the game and certainly not any better about failing to win the football game."

Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, which sets the bar extremely high. He was voted to his fourth Pro Bowl this season after connecting on 26 of his 29 field-goal attempts and 52 of 53 extra points. Three playoff misses, including one in the win over the Titans, will push Tucker to continue to hone his craft in the offseason.

"Accountability is key," Tucker said. "My job is to make the kick in whatever circumstance."

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