Former Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover hopes the Ravens' fan base gives current kicker Justin Tucker a pass for his missed extra point on Oct. 21 -- the first PAT misfire of his career -- that would've tied the game with 24 seconds remaining against the New Orleans Saints.
Down seven points with 2:03 left in the fourth quarter, the Ravens drove quickly and scored on a 14-yard touchdown catch from wide receiver John Brown. Tucker trotted out for the extra point without a miss in 222 attempts, a career-long streak. Tucker's kick would've likely sent the game to overtime.
Except it didn't. A gust of wind took the ball and the game-tying drive with it, as the kick drifted wide right for a stunning, 24-23 Saints win. Stover, who spent 13 seasons in Baltimore, wants fans to move on and remember how valuable Tucker has been for the organization in the past.
"I know Justin and the way the team is geared," Stover said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Oct. 22. "Without him, you would be hard pressed to say they would've won Super Bowl 47. He's been a top-10, at times top-five player on the team. And that says a lot about that position."
Tucker currently holds a 90 percent field goal percentage during his career, a mark that bests every other kicker in NFL history. He's been nearly perfect on field goals from any distance, and before playing the Saints, Tucker was actually flawless on extra points.
Even when the NFL changed the PAT distance in 2015 from a 20-yarder to a 33-yard kick, Tucker had remained without a blemish. Even Stover, who holds the second-longest streak of 422 consecutive extra points made, missed four in his career.
Stover recalled a specific extra point that got backed up twice for a pair of holding penalties, which made the kick a 40-yard extra point attempt. He compared that one instance to what every kicker has to endure on a weekly basis now.
"That was one of the top-five hardest kicks I ever had to kick," Stover said. "It's not because of the distance. It was because of the expectation of the stadium and my sideline that it's an extra point and you have to make it."
Stover isn't concerned about Tucker's mindset going forward, confident he'll bounce back like he did many times during his time in Baltimore.
In 2005, Stover missed three consecutive field goals to start the season on "Sunday Night Football," a game the Ravens lost to the Indianapolis Colts. He regrouped and missed just one other field goal for the remainder of the season. He expects the same turnaround from Tucker.
"I went back to work. I couldn't wait to go back to work on Monday," Stover recalled. "I compartmentalized it just like Justin said. The key to Justin, and I know he has this trait, is that he wants the ball. He can't wait for Sunday."
Because Tucker has consistently helped the Ravens wins games with many clutch kicks, Stover believes the team and fans shouldn't dwell on the one miscue. Despite remaining upset with what could've been a big win, support should remain strong for the treasured kicker.
"What makes a great kicker is that he wants the ball," Stover said. "He wants that opportunity to be able to win the game for the team. I know this coming Sunday, Tucker will have that attitude."
For more from Stover, listen to the full interview here:
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