Faith in Justin Tucker is never misplaced.
After the game, Calais Campbell admitted that even as Tucker trotted onto the field for the 43-yard game winner, he felt nervous. By this point, with Tucker hitting 61 straight field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter or overtime, and with now 19 game winners under his belt, it’s practically AutomaTUCK, as they say.
But he’s still human, and humans screw up sometimes. Well, maybe it’s time to pinch Tucker just to make sure. Not only was Tucker’s game-winning kick good; it was perfect. If the uprights were only a half-yard wide, it still would have gone through.
Even Head Coach John Harbaugh, who has witnessed every single one of Tucker’s 334 career field goals (plus postseason) go through the uprights, said it was a “hard one” to decide to send Tucker out for a 58-yard field goal in the third quarter while facing a fourth-and-4 from the Bengals’ 40-yard line. That’s absolutely in that cloudy go-for-it range. “But in the end, the scale tipped toward Justin,” Harbaugh said. Tucker drilled it, then his linemen bowed down before him.
The scales tipped that way again when, with the Ravens leading by three points, Harbaugh decided to send Tucker out for the chip-shot 25-yard field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 3-yard line. . Harbaugh knew that even if the Bengals scored a touchdown on their next drive, which they did, his offense would have enough time to put Tucker in position for the game winner. Sure enough, Tucker made the decision to pay off. I don’t know what the analytics suggested in any of those scenarios, but the chances are always good when you bet on Tucker.