Why you should care

Because as the Baltimore Ravens gear up for another potential playoff run, their second-year kicker may be just as much of a difference maker as their marquee field players.

Being a place kicker may well be the toughest job in the game of football. You play just a few quick seconds each game, but those fleeting moments often can turn you into either the hero or the goat — usually the latter (just ask poor University of Alabama kicker Cade Foster). This past Monday, however, the Baltimore Ravens’ second-year man, Justin Tucker, kicked his way into NFL lore with the sort of game that downtrodden kickers everywhere fantasize about.

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that Tucker scored ALL of the Ravens’ 18 points in their win over the Lions.

Tucker, a former standout at the University of Texas, hit field goals measured in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s in terms of yardage from the goal line over the course of the Monday Night Football clash against the Detroit Lions. He capped it off with a 61-yard field goal that squeaked in the lower right corner of the upright with 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter, winning the game for the Ravens 18-16. It was his 33rd successful field goal attempt in a row, the longest active streak in the NFL. And according to Elias Sports Bureau, the official statisticians of the NFL, it was the third longest behind-to-ahead field goal in NFL history. It also set the Ravens’ franchise record for length and was the second longest field goal ever kicked in a Monday Night Football game.

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that Tucker scored ALL of the Ravens’ 18 points in their win over the Lions. Whether that says more about Tucker, the Ravens’ offense or the Lions’ entire team is for you to decide. Regardless, it was a huge win for the Ravens, putting them in a good position to secure one of the AFC’s wild-card slots for the playoffs. The defending Super Bowl champions may need some more of Tucker’s heroics this Sunday against the New England Patriots.

The icing on the cake was the post-game interview, in which a giddy Tucker gave a shout-out to fantasy football owners around the world. Said Tucker, ”To sum it up in one word, pandemonium.” Indeed.

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