Add another clutch kick to Justin Tucker’s long list of them.
Tucker’s 46-yard field goal in overtime lifted the Ravens to a 26-23 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, ending a thriller in Baltimore’s favor.
Tucker, who made a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, loves kicking in clutch situations. But he particularly loves doing so in Pittsburgh, even though Heinz Field is regarded as one of the toughest venues for field goal kickers due to swirling winds and footing that can be treacherous.
As the most accurate field goal kicker in history, Tucker usually sees most of his kicks sail safely through the uprights. But on his kick in overtime, he had to hold his breath for a second. The kick was directly at the left upright, but sliced right at the last second to split the uprights.
“My dad sent me a text right after the game saying, 'I think an archangel might have blown that ball inside the upright, just a little bit,'” Tucker said.
“As it came off my foot, I knew it had a chance. Just given the conditions, that swirling wind, my left foot kind of sunk into the grass a little more than I would expect and it caused me to hit the ball slightly more off than I would prefer. But it went in. That’s all that really matters.”
Tucker’s teammates and coaches appreciate being able to rely on him in the clutch. They lifted him on their shoulders on the field in celebration.
“He talks more than kickers should, but we’re all good with it,” defensive end Matthew Judon said. “Because we know he’ll do his job when we need it. Great kick.”
To do it in Pittsburgh meant even more to Tucker. Head Coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers won the coin toss and chose the direction they wanted to go in overtime rather than taking the ball first because they know kicking into that side of the stadium is more difficult. Tucker still put it though regardless.
“Hell yeah,” Tucker said. “This is a great place to kick man. Any place you can kick footballs for a living is a great place to do it. But here especially so. The fans are great, it’s a loud environment, tough conditions. To be able to win on the road against your rival in a game that has a history to it? It’s pretty special.”