Short from 65 yards in pregame warmups, Justin Tucker nails game-winner from 66

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker barely made a league-record, 66-yard, crossbar-bouncing field goal on Sunday to beat the Lions. Before the game, he didn’t have that same range.

“In pregame, I was short from 65 [yards] going each way, just — just barely,” Tucker told PFT by phone after the victory.

So was he thinking about that when it was time to try the kick?

“It’s kind of there, but the thing is it doesn’t matter what my feelings are or what my emotions may be,” Tucker said. “In a given moment, I could be feeling so many different things. I could be feeling excited for the opportunity, I could be feeling grateful, I could be feeling confident, I could be feeling nervous or outright scared.”

So what was he feeling in today’s moment?

“All of those things,” Tucker said. “And then just eager for the opportunity to get a much-needed catalyzing type of win for this team. To just to be able to come through for my guys, man. These just aren’t my friends or my teammates, this is like a family. I think every single member of this organization — players, coaches alike — will tell you the exact same thing. Believe it or not, I’m thinking about that too. None of that matters. The only things that matter are seeing the ball snapped. Nick threw back an excellent snap with twelve o’clock laces. Seeing the ball spotted. Picking out the dimples on the ball that I’m going to match up my bone on my foot, matching up my foot to the sweet spot of the ball. Just trusting my technique. On that one, you kind of have to abandon some of the technical things and just swing for the fences. That’s exactly what we did. Kind of the perfect storm of all of those things. My feelings and emotions, they don’t matter in that moment, but my feelings and emotions will be a lot better if I’m able to focus in on one or two, three technical things that will actually help me make the kick.”

Did he think it was going to make it after he kicked it?

“I knew I was going to have the chance,” Tucker said. “It felt really, really good coming off my foot. Anytime you’re on the other side of midfield, there’s a little bit more of a question mark even if you smoke the ball. Is it going to get there? I saw it hit the crossbar and then bounce through and then I just felt like I was floating.”

Before the float, there was a moment of panic; he thought (like many others did) that the ball would bounce backward.

“My stomach dropped,” Tucker said. “I thought it was just going to bounce straight up and then fall short.”

Obviously, it didn’t. And so the Ravens picked up their second win in three nail biters that could have gone either way. More than 40 years later, these direct descendants of the Browns are already developing a Kardiac Kids vibe.