Sports

The NFL’s Best Kicker Attempts an Extra Point. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next.

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 21: Kicker Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens runs off the field after New Orleans Saints wins 24-23 at M&T Bank Stadium on October 21, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
A kicker’s lament.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Before the last kick of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker had never missed an extra point attempt. He was a pristine 222 for 222. Tucker is historically good from everywhere on the field, and he currently holds the record as the NFL’s most accurate kicker ever.

It’s a little weird that I’m listing all these accolades, no? Doesn’t it feel as though I’m setting Tucker up for something here?

With just over 2 minutes remaining in the game, New Orleans kicked a field goal to take a 24-17 lead. Joe Flacco responded with an incredible Ravens drive that culminated with the quarterback finding John Brown in the back of the end zone. It was the kind of comeback players dream of and coaches pray for, and all that was needed was the perfunctory extra point to send the game to overtime. This situation would make most fans a little nervy, but Baltimore is blessed. Tucker has a leg like the blade of a wind turbine. He could kick a 33-yarder under water if he had to.

This adulatory exposition is suspicious, to say the least. I’m either wasting your time or being needlessly cruel. Is one better than the other? Let’s find out!

A made field goal can be the difference in overtime, so the Ravens were sitting pretty heading into the extra period. Tucker just needed to do what he’s done hundreds of times before and they’d be in business.

It’s obvious by now that he’s going to miss, right? I mean, the real switcheroo would be if he made it. That’d be wild! This whole thing would be flipped on its head. What a journey. OK, just watch the highlight and the charade will end … or will it???

You may be surprised, but no one looked more shocked than the man himself.

There are roughly one million terrible ways to lose a football game, and an unfair number of those involve kickers … even Justin Tucker.