Eight years ago at Ford Field, Tucker made NFL history, won the week for 11,000 ESPN fantasy football owners and lifted the Ravens to an 18-16 victory by hitting a career-long 61-yard field goal with 38 seconds remaining.
Tucker rewatched that winning kick again this week when he saw it on the Ravens social media page, and he couldn’t help but gnash his teeth a little bit.
"My first thought, of course, is hyper critical,” Tucker said. "Man, I caught that one a little thin. I wish I hit that one a little better. That’s why that ball didn’t end up in the middle of the upright or hit the net. I just had that little bit of extra adrenaline rush going, and I came in a little hot with my plant and spun the ball just a little bit. That’s why it drifted to the right and ended up inside that L of the upright.”
And that’s why Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He strives for perfection and sees how he can improve upon a kick only a few in this league would have the confidence to make.
That Monday Night Football game in Detroit elevated Tucker into national prominence. He provided all of Baltimore’s scoring with six field goals. He also became the first NFL kicker to make field goals from 20-, 30-, 40-, 50- and 60-yard range in a single game.
With the Ravens trailing 16-15 late in the fourth quarter, Baltimore completed two safe passes from the Detroit 45-yard line and then ran a draw on third-and-10 that gained two yards.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s decision with 43 seconds was this: Give Joe Flacco a chance to convert a fourth-and-8 or send Tucker onto the field to attempt a kick that was five yards longer than any he’s ever made in the NFL.
"Well, we didn’t have much choice,” Harbaugh said this week. "It really wasn’t a decision; it was the only option we had at that point. Joe and the offense did a great job of getting us in position. Boy, I’ll tell you; that ball just barely made it through, if you remember, right inside the L of the upright. I just remember it being a great moment.”
After the game, Tucker told ESPN’s Lisa Salters: “My fantasy team is benefiting from it as well, so I’m happy about that. Fantasy owners around the world, I hope you guys appreciate the points as well.”
Tucker’s performance totaled 23 points in ESPN standard scoring fantasy football leagues. He affected an estimated 11,000 results in ESPN standard leagues.
The Ravens equipment managers saved the football from Tucker’s winning kick.
"I have it sitting in a storage box in my basement at this point until I can convince my wife to add in some built-in shelving to go next to the golf simulator,” Tucker said.
So, does Tucker expect a flood of memories to hit him when he returns to Ford Field?
"You play long enough, then you get the opportunity to go back to a place where something epic like that happens,” Tucker said. "It’s always fun to reminisce for a moment. You can only let that happen for a moment and then you have to move on and take care of the task at hand. For us, it’s going into Detroit and getting a ‘W’ by any means necessary. Forget about whatever happened eight years ago. It’s about today."