Oct 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Will Allen (20) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Former Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover became a household name in the NFL during his stint with the Ravens.
He simply made his job look easy, coming up big for the Ravens on so many occasions that it was hard to keep track of back then and it’s even harder now as we can only reminisce of those moments. Whether it was going several weeks without a missed field goal or kicking a game-winning field goal from deep, Stover was always like most would say, “money.”
For years, Stover was basically all the offense the Ravens had, as their tenacious defense had a habit of producing more points than the actual offense. As a matter of fact, there were plenty of games where Baltimore’s offense failed to produce a touchdown, leaving it up to Stover to put points on the board and putting pressure on the defense to hold their opponents to single digits or just a low score in general. For that reason alone, Stover will always be considered ‘money’ if you ask your average Ravens fan.
After all, the guy made 471 of his 563 field goal attempts, scoring over 2,000 points over the course of his illustrious 19-year career, according to NFL.com.
That brings me to Justin Tucker, the new golden foot in Baltimore. He’s had quite the career so far as a young kicker, to the point that his name has come up in the same conversation as Stover’s on many occasions, and rightfully so.
Usually, it’s seen as blasphemy to bring up today’s players in the same conversation as the legends, but that just goes to show how great Tucker has been.
In his four-year career, he’s connected on 107 field goals on 119 attempts for a percentage of 89.9 per espn.com. Those numbers showed their true colors in Baltimore’s rivalry game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night when Tucker saved the 0-3 Ravens, at the time, on two separate occasions.
The first was when he kicked a 42-yard field goal to force the game into overtime at the end of regulation and the other was his game-winning 52-yard field goal in overtime to give the Ravens a 23-20 victory over the Steelers.
Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) celebrates a made field goal with tackle James Hurst (74) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Ravens had gotten themselves into yet another situation where they could have easily ended up 0-4 on the season, but luckily they were able to pull the game out in overtime. And who better to solidify a win like that for you on the road in a tough environment other than Justin Tucker himself, and his quarterback had all the faith in the world in his golden foot.
“Just let him win the game,” Joe Flacco said as the coaches tried to decide what they were going to do on fourth down before Tucker’s game-winning kick.
There hasn’t been the usual talk surrounding Baltimore’s special teams unit since the departure of Jacoby Jones, in terms of any real excitement goes, but Tucker changed all of that in Pittsburgh when he was once again money down the stretch.
While Ravens fans are hoping that the season doesn’t come down to just a good running attack or relying on special teams, if for some reason the offense can’t produce like Ravens fans witnessed before the Joe Flacco era, it’s good to know that they have arguably the best kicker in the league wearing their uniform.
Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) kicks a field goal as Ravens punter Sam Koch (4) holds the ball during the third quarter against the New England Patriots in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
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