Justin Tucker Oct 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens place kicker Justin Tucker (9) reacts after kicking a second half field goal Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If Justin Tucker isn’t the greatest kicker in NFL history, he’s easily on the Mt. Rushmore. Tucker has been a star since he signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of Texas in 2012. Prior to the 2022 season, he became the highest-paid kicker in league history — and good luck finding someone who would say he’s not worthy.

Tucker earned that money for the Ravens at the end of Sunday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore trailed by a point late but Lamar Jackson led the Ravens down the field, setting Tucker up for a 43-yard field goal attempt to win the game. The kick came moments after his counterpart, Evan McPherson, had put the Bengals up with a narrowly made extra point.

Tucker’s kick, though, was not dramatic in any way. It easily cleared the bar and was nearly right exactly between the uprights.

In and of itself wasn’t too noteworthy. Sure, it was a game-winning field goal. But Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history and made the longest kick in the history of the league in 2021 — a 66-yarder as time was expiring. Was there really any doubt that he’d be true from 43?

Following the game, Tucker described his mindset when lining up those field goals. He did share that he feels “a little bit nervous” but then went into what he called “the nuts and bolts of what’s going to make the kick.”

“What matters is seeing the ball snapped with 12 o’clock laces from Nick Moore, seeing the ball spotted cleanly from Jordan Stout — his first career game-winning hold. From there, I’m just a system kicker. The ball kicks itself at that point. All we’re really thinking about is those things that are going to make the kick. All the feelings and stuff, we can enjoy them after the fact.”

“Game-winning hold” and “system kicker” are not phrases heard a lot. But the NFL world loved the sound of them.

While Tucker may see himself as a “system kicker,” his quarterback doesn’t see it that way. When the game was over, Jackson said, “We know we’ve got the GOAT at kicker.”

At this point, it’s hard to agree. While “system kicker” may make for a better T-shirt, “GOAT kicker” is a more accurate label.

[CJ Folger on Twitter]

About Michael Dixon

About Michael:
-- Writer/editor for thecomeback.com and awfulannouncing.com.
-- Bay Area born and raised, currently living in the Indianapolis area.
-- Twitter:
@mfdixon1985 (personal).
@michaeldixonsports (work).
-- Email: mdixon@thecomeback.com
Send tips, corrections, comments and (respectful) disagreements to that email. Do the same with pizza recommendations, taco recommendations and Seinfeld quotes.