Justin Tucker Erases Images Of Cundiff Past

Jeff Gross

Baltimore Ravens rookie placekicker Justin Tucker has made the image of former kicker Billy Cundiff's wide left field goal attempt in last year's AFC Championship Game a distant memory.

During the week leading up to this Sunday's AFC Championship Game rematch between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, you will be forced to regurgitate the dropped pass as well as the shanked field goal from last year's game.

These is nothing anyone here in Baltimore can do to avoid it as much as every Patriots fan will replay it with glee as often as possible. The margin of error in the NFL is one or two plays and after last week's incredible upset victory over the Denver Broncos, the Ravens have seen it from both sides.

The more Ravens fans see current placekicker, Justin Tucker, bang his kicks through the uprights with such consistency, the dimmer and dimmer the memory of Billy Cundiff becomes in our collective minds. In fact, everyone would be thrilled to see the image be lost forever when he wins the game by the exact same way come late Sunday night.

The rookie has been one of the more automatic kickers in the league this year, hitting 30 of 33 attempts (91%), including all four of his shots from 50+ yards. In the post season, he has only been called on for two kicks, but nailed one in each of the two games, including the biggest in his short NFL career. So far.

He's put seven of his 11 kickoffs too deep into the end zone to return and the one that Broncos returner Trindon Holliday took back 105 yards for a touchdown certainly wasn't his fault.

As the Ravens get ready to exact revenge on the Patriots, they knew they should have won that game last year and proved it to a point earlier this season when not only did they beat New England in Baltimore, but Tucker nailed the 27-yard kick to win the game in the closing seconds.

With the knowledge that they have a deadly accurate kicker in their ranks, the thought of this game once again coming down to the final play sits well and perhaps even excites fans and players alike. Justin Tucker is a long way from the University of Texas, but knows he is an NFL player, confident and ready to become and NFL star.

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