|Ravens' Justin Tucker has been money in the clutch. (US Presswire)|
Justin Tucker was drenched.
His teammate, Terrell Suggs, was sidelined with an Achilles injury, but Suggs was healthy enough to dump two Gatorade bottles filled with water on the head of the Ravens' rookie kicker, who had just squeaked in a 27-yard field goal to defeat the Patriots, 31-30.
Tucker, a native of Austin, Texas, hasn't grown accustomed to the cool September weather in Baltimore, so the water was unwelcome.
“I'm going to have to get adjusted real quick,” Tucker said. “It can be 80 degrees and sunny during Christmas time in Austin. I get a little water poured on me and it's what, 70 degrees Sunday night. I was going into the locker room shivering.”
To be fair, Tucker was being generous to the September weather. The temperature had dipped into the low 60s by the time the game was over. And it's not like Tucker minded the celebratory shower Suggs gave him. It was a big moment that likely rivals what he accomplished in college at the University of Texas.
In what might have been the final meeting between rivals Texas and Texas A&M last November, Tucker nailed a 40-yarder through the middle of the uprights, giving the Longhorns a 27-25 win. Texas A&M is now a member of the SEC and doesn't have Texas on its schedule in the near future.
Tucker has become a rising star in Baltimore, having temporarily erased the memory of Billy Cundiff missing a 32-yarder in last year's AFC Championship against New England, which would have sent the game into overtime.
“Tucker's money, man,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “Tucker's different from every other kicker. The dude has character. He's loud, he's having fun, and we're enjoying him.”
Somewhat surprisingly, his personality has meshed well with his Ravens teammates. Long snapper Morgan Cox said he hasn't met a kicker with Tucker's individualism.
“You don't often see goofy kickers,” Cox said. “One way to describe him is he's goofy.”
Here's an example: A popular game inside the Ravens locker room is cornhole, where participants toss bean bags onto a slanted wooden plank with a hole drilled in it near the top. If the bean bag lands on the plank, it's a point. If it lands inside the hole, it's three points. Two cornhole sets sit in the middle of the locker room, and teammates competitively play each day.
Tucker drafted a power rankings for the group, stating each player's strengths and weaknesses. His top ranked player is punter Sam Koch. His description of Suggs, ranked last, was the funniest.
“Undoubtedly the worst Cornholer in the building,” Tucker wrote. “Displays horrible fundamentals. Sloppy delivery only leads to problems. Simon Cowell of American Idol and X-Factor has said of Sizzle's technique: “Appalling with a capital ‘A.' Positively dreadful.”
Tucker has already won over his teammates with both his kicking ability and his personality.
The initial plan was for the Ravens organization to keep Cundiff, now with the Redskins, though they would bring in another kicker to push him. Tucker turned out to be that kicker, and what he did surprised everyone. Outside of the Lone Star State, Tucker wasn't a well-known commodity.
Then Tucker made well over 90 percent of all of his kicks in practice this preseason and out-performed Cundiff to earn a roster spot.
Now Tucker has his first NFL game-winner. To make the kick, he had to try twice, with his first attempt going down the middle but not before the Patriots signaled for a timeout. His second attempt gave the Ravens a scare. After leaving his foot, it began moving to the right.
It just cleared over the right upright, which is good and not reviewable. Tucker added some drama to the kick, though that won't matter in the long run.
“Bottom line is it went in,” Tucker said. “That's all I care about. It went in.”
No fine for Harbaugh: The NFL decided not to fine coach John Harbaugh after he was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty in the fourth quarter against New England.
Harbaugh leaned in next to a referee and signaled a timeout, accidentally bumping the official in the process. The replacement referee threw a flag and awarded the Patriots a free 15 yards. The NFL stated Harbaugh didn't violate any rules.
Injury report: OL Jah Reid (calf) is questionable for Thursday's game against Cleveland. CB Lardarius Webb (knee) and LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (knee) are listed as probable.
Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter: @CBSRavens and @JasonButtCBS.