If one was to compile a list of players that could cost the Baltimore Ravens a victory, it would include many, but not Justin Tucker. As if the game was an episode of the twilight zone, however, Tucker ultimately fell as unreliable in the final moments of the game. The most accurate kicker in NFL history, who had never missed on a point after touchdown in his life, failed to convert the one that would tie the game, and force overtime. This came as a shock to everyone. It was simply assumed that after Flacco found John Brown for the last minute touchdown, that Tucker would tie the game. With that botched kick, however, the most reliable kicker, and overall player in the NFL folded.
Whether or not the missed kick was entirely Justin Tucker’s fault is up for debate. The kick appeared to start perfectly, aimed straight down the middle of the uprights. Then, the ball starts to turn right and does not stop on its new trajectory. Either Tucker hit it poorly, or the football gods were rooting for the Saints. Nevertheless, a miss is a miss, and a loss is a loss. While Tucker’s missed PAT prevented the Ravens from tying the game, it was not the sole reason a win escaped the Ravens. Baltimore played well against one of the elite teams in the league but ultimately made too many mistakes. Perhaps if Jimmy Smith had actually covered Michael Thomas, or if the Ravens scored on their first late-game touchdown attempt, the outcome may have been different.
Although unthinkable, Justin Tucker’s missed PAT is no sign of an impending rapture. The NFL’s most reliable kicker was bound to miss one eventually. No one, not even Justin Tucker, is perfect. The Ravens still have full confidence in him and have every reason to believe in him. Tucker has made kick after kick when not only the game was on the line, but when the outcome of the season depended on him as well. Tucker will bounce back, as he always does. When the Ravens need him next, he will be there, ready to redeem himself, and win the game.