Justin Tucker Won't Use Sinkhole As An Excuse


Justin Tucker's missed field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday gave new meaning to the term "turf monster."

Tucker's 45-yard field-goal attempt hit of the right upright after his plant foot dug deep into the soft sod at San Francisco's Levi's Stadium, creating a sinkhole and causing him to slip to the ground as he kicked.

"I've never experienced anything quite like that," Tucker said. "My foot just dug so deep into the ground. It really is no excuse though.

"It's a critical point in the game, and I got to make that kick, and I got to come through for everybody in this room. The fact of the matter is I just didn't. The only thing you can do is just go out there and try to make the next kick."

The turf at Levi's Stadium has been a point of contention during the stadium's first two seasons. The current surface is the fifth layer of sod in just 15 months, and the 49ers have acknowledged issues with the turf. The 49ers even had to halt in training camp practice at the stadium last year because of concerns over the players' safety practicing on the field.

The reputation of the surface is well documented, so Tucker and the kicking unit spent pre-game warmups getting a feel for the grass. Tucker booted field goals from all over during warmups, which is part of his normal routine, and said he didn't have any issues.

Tucker also drilled field goals of 22 and 36 yards, and hit both of his extra point attempts.

"It's was something that maybe that particular spot – one spot out of 100 yards, and 53 1/3 yards – that I happened to plant on and it just went out from under me," Tucker said. "We try to eliminate any room for error, and we do that by our preparation in pre-game. Maybe it's on me to be even that much more thorough.

"We're a very detailed group, but that one is on me to maybe take it to that next step. Without overthinking it, you still have to come into the ball aggressively, which I felt like I did, and it just didn't work out for me. It didn't work out for us."

Tucker has established himself as one of the best kickers in the NFL, but he's actually missed field goals in back-to-back weeks. He also missed a 51-yard field goal against the Browns when he slipped on the artificial surface at M&T Bank Stadium.

He is now 13-of-16 on field-goal attempts this year.

"There's really nothing to point to other than myself needing to come through for our teammates, and our coaching staff and everybody here, at a critical point in the game," he said. "At this point, we'll just bounce back like we always do."

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