With so much mocking and complaints about NFL kicking this season, give the league’s best his due, too.
Justin Tucker became the first player in NFL history to make three field goals from at least 50 yards in the first half Sunday, helping the Baltimore Ravens beat Cincinnati Bengals 19-14.
Those three kicks – from 52, 57 and 54 yards – and a 36-yard conversion in the second half improved Tucker to a perfect 27-of-27 on field-goal attempts this season, with seven of his makes from 50-plus. He also made an extra point early against the Bengals and is 15-of-15 on those kicks.
The Bengals cut the Ravens’ lead to 16-9 with a touchdown just after halftime … and Mike Nugent pushed the extra point wide right. Nugent missed two extra points last week, in which all kickers missed a record 12 PATs.
The Ravens designated Tucker, 27, their franchise player in the offseason and re-signed him at the July 15 deadline to a four-year, $16 million contract, which looks like a bargain right now for a team struggling to find a rhythm offensively.
Tucker is just under 90% on field-goal attempts in his five-year career and has still never missed an extra point, despite the rules tweak that pushed that kick back last season, leading to messes like last weekend, when NFL kickers combined to miss 12 extra points.