Ravens' Justin Tucker's clutch kicking can't be understated

Justin Tucker kicked his fourth career game-winning field goal against Cincinnati this past Sunday. - Patrick Smith

Tucker added another game-winning field goal to his resume.

Did anyone actually worry when Justin Tucker trotted onto the field to attempt a game-winning kick in overtime against the Bengals?

Tucker has spoiled Ravens fans in the season and a half he's been with the franchise. Tucker once again kicked a game-winning field goal, this time from 46 yards out to give Baltimore a 20-17 win in overtime. Tucker has been almost automatic, making 48 of 53 field goal attempts in his young career.

His two misses in 2013 came in one off day against the Browns. Tucker hasn't missed in any other game this year.

The kick to beat the Bengals was Tucker's fourth game-winner. He'd already posted end-of-game kicks in 2012 against New England, San Diego and Denver (in the 2012 postseason).

It can't be understated how important a clutch kicker is at this level. Think back to the 2011 AFC Championship (or actually, don't). A more recent example would be to look at the Saints-Cowboys game from Sunday night. Though the Saints won big, kicker Garrett Hartley missed at least one field goal for the third consecutive week.

The Ravens haven't had to worry about Tucker hitting a long-term slump.

And it appears Tucker knew he was going to have a chance to win another game for the Ravens. When Cincinnati cut the lead to 17-10 in the second half, Tucker turned to kicking consultant Randy Brown, who told him the game would likely come down to the second-year kicker's leg.

"As soon as they scored their first touchdown to bring them within seven, Randy smiles at me, and I smile right back at him," Tucker told reporters after the game. "He says, ‘You and I are the only two people in this stadium that know exactly what's up right now.' Sure enough, the game comes down to three points in overtime. We feel like we're a team that's built for these types of games. That's how all of these AFC North games tend to be, in my limited experience in them. They tend to be dog fights. At the same time, I think they're the most the fun games to be a part of."


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