Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has a simple goal for the 2013 season: Never miss.
“It’s not unrealistic to say that I can have a perfect regular season kicking field goals and extra points,” Tucker told the team’s website. “It’s just a matter of, no pun intended, putting in the leg work right now.”
As a rookie last season, Tucker went 30-for-33 on field goals and 42-for-42 on extra points in the regular season, then went 4-for-4 on field goals and 16-for-16 on extra points in the playoffs. Tucker says he remembers exactly what he did wrong on the three kicks he missed, and he said he thinks he’s a better player now than he was when he arrived in Baltimore as an undrafted rookie last year.
“Every single day is the same,” Tucker said. “When I got here a calendar year ago, I was thinking the exact same thing I’m thinking now: how can I get better and contribute to the success of this team?”
Perfect regular seasons don’t always end well, as both Gary Anderson and Mike Vanderjagt found out the hard way. Anderson went 35-for-35 in the regular season for the 1998 Vikings, but he missed a crucial kick in the NFC Championship Game, costing Minnesota a trip to the Super Bowl. Vanderjagt went 37-for-37 for in the regular season for the 2003 Colts and also made all his kicks in the playoffs after that season, but Vanderjagt’s streak ended with a costly miss in a 27-24 loss to the Patriots the following year, and he may be best remembered for missing a field goal in the final minute of a playoff loss to the Steelers, in what turned out to be his last game as a Colt.
Ravens fans would gladly let Tucker get away with a miss or two in the regular season if he stays perfect in the playoffs.