Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, already the most accurate kicker in NFL history with a 90.4 field goal percentage, set another record Sunday in a career on pace to be full of them.
Tucker became the fastest kicker in NFL history to kick 100 field goals with his first quarter kick from 21 yards out on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, his 50th NFL game.
Though that kick came off grass, he and the special teams battery of punter/holder Sam Koch and long snapper Morgan Cox prepared for the baseball field at O.Co Coliseum in a unique way.
In addition to the worn field at the team's practice field at San Jose State, which he said will prepare him for difficult kicking surfaces like Pittsburgh's Heinz Field and FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, the school's other athletics facilities came in handy, too.
"It's definitely different, it's definitely a challenge, but we were able to prepare for it early in the week," Tucker said. "We also took the opportunity to head over to the baseball and softball fields right next to the football fields. We took the opportunity to sneak away and go hit a few off the [infield] dirt, just trying to hit the ball at a light pole just to see what the footing would be like.
"I'm glad that we did because it definitely helped us prepare for exactly the situation we were in in the fourth quarter. We needed to make one from the dirt that was pretty important."
Tucker hit that from 37 yards, just on the edge of the infield dirt to pull the Ravens within a touchdown. His other three field goals that day came from the grass, but that type of preparation for every possibility is just one reason why they're one of the best groups in the league.
As for the milestone, Tucker took notice. The previous record was held by Norwegian Jan Stenerud, the only player in the Hall of Fame solely as a kicker. He made his 100th field goal in his 53rd game.
"It's definitely cool to have the feathers that you can put in your hat, but obviously the most important ones are team accomplishments," he said. "For us, getting that first win is the most important thing to everyone around here. It's also the most important thing to me right now, too."