As soon as Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker hit the ball, he veered left hoping he wouldn’t come up short like he did on a few of 65-yarders in pregame warm-ups. But, after the ball bounced high off the crossbar and thru the uprights, Tucker sprinted down the sector , where he was swarmed by teammates and lifted up in celebration. Tucker’s 66-yard field goal — the longest in NFL history — lifted the depleted Ravens to a dramatic 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. “Thankfully, we found an additional yard-and-a-half that I did not have three hours before,” said Tucker, who held the ball from the winning kick in his hand. “I’m grateful for that.” Tucker’s 66-yarder eclipsed Matt Prater’s 64-yard field goal in 2013 because the longest in NFL history.
Tucker is quite the record holder for the longest kick and therefore the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He’s also the foremost clutch. Tucker improved to 16-for-16 in his NFL career on field goals within the final minute of regulation. “He’s the simplest kicker in history,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “When you’ve got a kicker like that, you would like to offer him a chance like that. For him to return through like that’s just historic.” It was a reminder for Tucker, whose 61-yard field goal won the Ravens’ last game at Ford Field eight years ago. That had been his previous career-long. There are only seven go-ahead field goals of 60-plus yards within the final minute in NFL history, and Tucker is that the only kicker with multiple ones, consistent with the Elias Sports Bureau. Both have come to Ford Field for Tucker.
“I love Detroit,” Tucker said. “I think I’m getting to buy an area here.” Tucker made history due to a change he made within the past year. On the longer kicks, Tucker takes a couple of more steps back than usual and approaches the attempt sort of a kickoff. It’s less about technique and more about power. Asked how far back he positioned himself relative to his typical kick, Tucker said, “I honestly need to check out it. i used to be quite having a touch little bit of like an experience for a moment .” Tucker’s winning kick was found out by Lamar Jackson converting a fourth-and-19 with a 36-yard pass to Sammy Watkins, which wasn’t the first plan. Baltimore had another play called, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman changed it after the Lions called timeout with 26 seconds remaining.
Jackson still wasn’t sure it had been getting to be enough for his four-time Pro Bowl kicker who had made 48 straight fourth-quarter kicks, the longest active streak within the league. “I’m looking and see what percentage yards it’s. I’m like, ‘Dang, this is often different right here. I’ve never seen him during this predicament,'” Jackson said. “I hoped to urge him closer. it had been like, ‘If we get enough air, he’s getting to make it.’ He came through.”
After Tucker’s kick, fans exited Ford Field slowly in disappointment once more as this latest loss adds to the laundry list of other dramatic endings in Lions franchise history. Lions quarterback Jared Goff said the team will “remain true” and resilient going forward since the narrative could’ve changed completely had the ball bounced on the opposite side of the crossbar. “About as big of a gut punch as I’ve ever been a neighborhood of,” Goff said. “And, I assume I’ll start this off by saying this team and this city has been through tons obviously in recent years and has had these gut punches.”
For the Ravens, they escaped with a victory after losing four defensive players to COVID-19 protocol just two days before this game. In total, Baltimore was without 13 players who counted a minimum of $1 million against the cap due to injury or COVID-related issues. After the sport, Harbaugh trapped with Tucker on the sector and told him, “We’re getting to remember this for the remainder of our lives.”