Ravens kicker Justin Tucker missed just one field-goal attempt last season, but even that had a caveat: His string of 35 straight makes, an NFL best, ended when New England Patriots linebacker Shea McClellin leapt over long snapper Morgan Cox to block a 34-yard attempt Dec. 12.
His last misfire before then, including extra points, came Dec. 6, 2015, in Miami, when a potentially game-winning 55-yard field goal sailed wide right with less than three minutes remaining against the Dolphins.
Tucker’s 58-yard miss near the end of the first half Sunday against the Cleveland Browns proved not nearly as significant, but it was “not a good feeling” just the same, he said Wednesday. After all, it had been a while.
“The hallmark of being a good pro kicker is being able to bounce back and be consistent in your approach,” said Tucker, who’s 3-for-4 overall and 5-for-5 on extra-point attempts this season. “Yeah, I missed a kick for the first time in a while. … But you’ve got to do your best to just shake it off and go out and make the next kick, and that’s what we did the rest of the day. We made the rest of our kicks. That’s the most important thing.”
Asked how Tucker has handled the rare miss, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said he was like any Raven: happy to have won, 24-10.
Later, asked again about Tucker, Rosburg was more philosophical.
“The most important thing for any kicker is the next kick, and that’s been said time and time again,” he explained. “That’s certainly true if you make a kick. The most important one is the next one. It’s certainly true if you miss one. Justin came and played very well the rest of the ballgame. He had outstanding kickoffs, so his performance was not affected by the fact that he missed a 58-yarder.”
A high school band director gave Justin Tucker a choice: pick playing the trumpet or go play football. Both wasn’t an option.
“I was kind of put on the spot at a pretty young age,” Tucker told Yahoo Sports’ Tony Siragusa. “I was 15, and I basically had to make the decision right then, right there.”
He chose football, which was a wise choice considering Tucker is now one of the best kickers in the NFL, currently under a four-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens valued at $16.8 million.
But Tucker, 27, never dropped his love of music, which includes singing opera. Take a look in the video feature above at how that musical discipline influences the Ravens star on and off the field.