Sunday night’s NFC grudge match between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks ended in a 6-6 tie because neither Chandler Catanzaro or former Raven Stephen Hauschka were able to convert chip shot field goals in the waning minutes of overtime. In other Week 7 action, the Patriots perennial Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski shanked an extra point for the second time in two weeks, but the miss did not help the Steelers since their kicker Chris Boswell missed two field goals of his own in the game.
Tampa Bay spent a second round pick on Roberto Aguayo in the draft. Aguayo is 6 for 11 on field goals so far this season. The Cowboys Dan Bailey made the Pro Bowl last season, but has missed two field goals within 50 yards in 2016. Cody Parkey earned Pro Bowl selection in 2014, but he has missed three field goals of less than 50 yards this year for the Browns.
In summary, every team in the NFL wishes Justin Tucker was their kicker. Tucker is a perfect 18 for 18 on field goals and 9 for 9 on extra points in 2016. In Week 7, he drilled a 50-yarder, a 49-yarder and a 44-yard field goal, all three knifed through gusting wind. In Week 2, Tucker nailed a pair of 40-plus yard attempts in the fourth quarter to give the Ravens a five point victory over the Browns. In Week 3, Tucker split the uprights for a 53-yard field goal with barely more than a minute remaining in the game, providing the Ravens with a two point victory.
Perhaps the only feat more impressive than Tucker’s accuracy and ability to consistently crush long distance field goals is his ability to perform in crunch time. Time and again, Justin has come through for the Ravens when they needed him most. The most memorable example occurred during his rookie season. In 2012, the Ravens were in the midst of a magical playoff run. After taking the Broncos to double overtime in Denver after several miraculous plays, Tucker punched the team's ticket to an AFC championship game rematch by ending the game with a 47-yard field goal in frigid conditions.
Justin Tucker has been the Ravens best player this season, hands down. Four and a half years removed from latching on with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent from Texas, he currently stands within a single percentage point of becoming the most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL. And he does not kick in a dome, at an elevation, in a tropical climate or for a coach who is apprehensive about attempting long kicks. As an added bonus, his creative celebrations have given Ravens fans something to smile about during a depressing period in team history.
Seven games into a $16.8 million contract that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2019 season, resigning Tucker appears to be the best decision the Ravens front office has made in a long while.