Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker set an NFL field goal record on Sunday, striking true from 66 yards — nearly 200 feet. The football smacked the crossbar and bounced through the goal, sealing a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions with time running out.
"That was awesome," Tucker said at the post-game news conference before any questions were asked.
When he was reminded he had also kicked a 61-yard game-winner against the Lions early in his career, he smiled and said, "Man, I love Detroit. I'm thinking about getting a place here."
Tucker's feat capped a whipsaw ending. One minute earlier, the Lions had seemed poised for their first win of the season, coming from behind to take a 17-16 lead. But the Ravens managed to convert a fourth-and-19 pass play — and suddenly, Tucker stood just outside the Ravens' 40-yard line, several yards behind the holder, with the outcome resting on his right foot.
Staring at a chance to win an NFL game from an unprecedented distance, Tucker made some adjustments to his normal routine, aiming to launch himself at the ball more aggressively — and from farther away — to add more power to his kick. He took an extra step or two back, he said.
"It's something I've actually started doing within the last year," Tucker said. "As I'm becoming more and more of a dinosaur in this league at 31 years old, I've got to do every little thing I can to get the ball to go just a little bit farther."
Tucker also changed his footwork for the record distance.
"Instead of landing on my plant foot, I just basically kick the ball off like it's a kickoff, so I land on my kicking foot," he said, adding that photos would likely make it seem like he was about to fall over due to his momentum.
During pregame practice, Tucker had missed field goals in both directions from 65 yards out, he said.
"Thankfully, we found an extra yard and a half that I didn't have three hours before. And I'm grateful for that."