Seriously, how did Justin Tucker not make this year’s Pro Bowl?
The Ravens kicker booted three more field goals Saturday night in the Ravens’ 23-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts, and made some impressive history in the process.
Tucker became the fastest pure kicker in NFL history to reach 800 career points, doing so in his 95th regular-season game.
Only Gino Cappelletti, who was a wide receiver/kicker for the Boston Patriots from 1960-1970, got to 800 faster. He did so in 93 games, but also scored 31 receiving touchdowns in his first six years.
Tucker has connected on 200 of his 222 career field-goal attempts during his six seasons. He’s hit all 202 of his extra-point attempts.
“Points are a team stat as far as I’m concerned,” Tucker said before giving credit to long snapper Morgan Cox, punter Sam Koch and coaches Jerry Rosburg and Randy Brown. “It’s cool to see our hard work come to fruition in such a concrete way – points on the board.”
In addition to that record, Tucker also became just the fourth kicker in NFL history to have at least five seasons with at least 30 made field goals, tied with David Akers, John Carney and Stephen Gostkowski. Tucker hit 29 in 2014.
“I guess that’s a pretty interesting stat,” Tucker said. “Those are great names. Just to be in that club, it’s a pretty cool deal.”
Tucker has gone to two Pro Bowls, but is a first-alternate this year behind Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell. After a pair of long misses earlier in the season and a block, Tucker has hit 17 straight, which is the second-longest streak in the league behind San Francisco’s Robbie Gould (20).
On Saturday night, he exchanged kicks with kicking legend Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts and previously New England Patriots. The two got a picture together before the game.
“I can say as a football fan and as a fan of kickers from before playing professional football was even somewhat of a reality for me, seeing Adam Vinatieri play on Sundays and do his thing and then to be playing in the same league and sharing the field with him, it’s an honor,” Tucker said.
Tucker went on to hit from 30, 39 and 36 yards. Vinatieri connected from 48, 38 and 30, but had a 38-yard attempt blocked and came up just short on a 60-yarder at the end of the first half.
Vinatieri is in his 22nd season while Tucker is in his sixth, so Tucker has a long way to go to match the greats, but he’s well on his way. At the same time, Tucker said he doesn’t ever step back and think about the success he’s had early in his career.
“I’m going to sound like a broken record and bore you to death, but I’m going to take it one kick at a time,” he said. “If we continue to do that, we’ll always give ourselves a chance to be successful and our team a chance to win games like we did today.”