Death, taxes and Justin Tucker field goals. Maybe not so much the last one.
Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, missed two field-goal attempts in the first half of the Ravens’ 17-3 divisional-round loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night. He made a 34-yard attempt with four seconds left before halftime to tie the game at 3.
His first attempt, from 41 yards, bounced off the left upright. Tucker’s second attempt, from 46 yards, looked to be good initially but hit the right upright and was no good. Entering Saturday night’s game, Tucker was 11-for-11 on field-goal attempts inside 50 yards in the postseason.
Bills rookie kicker Tyler Bass also missed his second attempt, from 43 yards, wide right, and later missed a 44-yard attempt wide left in the fourth quarter.
“The wind was very impactful; you could see it for both kickers,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after the game. “The wind … It was a tough, very challenging wind out there, really in both ends, but especially into the end away from the tunnel.”
According to CBS Sports, it was the first time Tucker missed back-to-back field-goal attempts since Dec. 14, 2014. Per ESPN Stats & Information, he last missed two field goals in a 2018 game in Week 16 against the Los Angeles Chargers, but both were from 50-plus yards. This was the first time in his NFL career that Tucker has missed multiple field-goal attempts inside 50 yards in the same game.
Tucker, a four-time All-Pro selection, also missed a 52-yard attempt in last Sunday’s 20-13 wild-card-round win over the Tennessee Titans. According to Pro-Football-Reference, this is the first time since 2015 that Tucker has missed a field-goal attempt in consecutive weeks.
The wind at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, was expected to be a factor. Winds speed reached 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Punter Sam Koch also struggled with his first kick, a 23-yarder that set up the Bills at the Ravens’ 38-yard line.
Center Patrick Mekari, who took over as the starter midseason after Matt Skura’s snapping problems, had his own woes Saturday, snapping two passes over the head of quarterback Lamar Jackson and another that had to be picked up off the ground.
When asked if the wind played a factor in Mekari’s struggles, Harbaugh said: “I’m sure the wind was part of that, and I’m sure there were other issues, too, that I’m not sure if I can comment on at this time. I was on the sideline; I wasn’t out there [on the field].”