Tucker hits the right notes

Tucker hits the right notes
November 24, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Ravens use all three facets to beat Jets

At the start of Sunday's Ravens-Jets game, the temperature at M&T Bank Stadium was 33 degrees plus a 26 mph wind that dropped the wind chill down to 20 degrees. It's the kind of days that can make life very tough for an NFL offense. 

It's the kind of a day the Ravens needed a kicker like Justin Tucker. 

Tucker went 4-for-4 on field goals and has now made 22 in a row. His field goals proved crucial for the Ravens in their 19-3 victory over the Jets, a game that Baltimore desperately needed to win if it wanted to stay in the AFC playoff hunt. 

[RELATED: Ravens 19, Jets 3]

The second-year kicker missed two field goals in the Ravens' second game of the season, but he hasn't missed since. He hit kicks of 30, 26, 33 and then 53 yards. That long kick gave the Ravens a 12-3 lead early in the third quarter, and when Joe Flacco threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with five seconds left in the period, it proved to be enough on this cold afternoon. 

"Those kicks were huge," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Those were tough kicks. They're always tough kicks. Even when the wind is at his back, they're tough kicks because the wind can push the ball one or the other when you're that far out. [He] kicks a very straight ball...[that] carries in the wind really well."

Tucker's 22 straight field goals ties long-time Raven Matt Stover for the second-longest streak in team history. He's now 24-for-26 this season. 

[MORE: Ravens rattle Geno Smith in win over Jets

That's even more impressive considering the tough weather conditions that Tucker's had to deal with in recent weeks. 

"Seems like over the last several weeks conditions have been crazy in general," Tucker said. "A couple weeks ago, here against Cincinnati, it got colder as the game went on, then we went to Chicago and that was crazy. And then what we had today. It was more wind pickup during the game. Just to be able to come through for my guys was great."

Tucker's been important to the Ravens this season because of how the offense has struggled -- a role very similar to Stover's for a few seasons -- and the second-year kicker has been a big reason the Ravens have stayed close in several games. 

"At the end of the day, just getting the job done, that's what it's all about," he said. 

So far, so good.