All Justin Tucker did yesterday was hit the game-winning field goal in the rain and the wind with no time left which established his team as the best in the NFL at the moment.
But he wanted it to be harder.
The veteran kicker told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America that he was focusing on the final spot of the ball, and was a little disappointed when it was at the 31 rather than the 32, meaning his try would be a 49-yarder.
“I try to be chill,” Tucker said. “I focus on the action of the kick, not consequences. Honestly, as the clock ran down, I‘m just hoping the ball’s the spotted at the 32.”
Asked why, he replied: “Fifty’s a nice round number. And there’s slightly more glory making a 50-yarder than 49.”
It’s possible Tucker was kidding. But probably not.
But in the conditions he was kicking in, and given the weight of the kick, he did what players have to do — which is put their jobs into little boxes and check them off one at a time.
“The rain was coming down all day,” he said. “Actually, I changed my shirt at halftime, I was so cold and wet. So the spot we picked out where my plant foot was going to land was rather soft and very wet. Knowing what to do and how to adjust before the kick is one of the important steps before the kick. Gotta make sure I stay up, and I get my studs out of the ground lightly so I don’t slip.
“You feel the moment, of course. You have to embrace it. You can’t run away from it. You process the whole specter of human emotion, from fear to excitement, compartmentalize it, put it away, then realize the only thing that matters is the action, as I said, not the consequence.”
That’s the kind of approach that has made him football’s most accurate kicker, and given the Ravens such confidence in him.