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Tucker’s record field goal named NFL’s “Best Moment of the Year”

The conclusion of their 2021 season may have been as forgettable as it gets with the Ravens losing six in a row to miss the playoffs, but their biggest highlight of the year was recognized at the NFL Honors show in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

Justin Tucker’s NFL record 66-yard field goal in Detroit in Week 3 was named the league’s Best Moment of the Year. Former Ravens middle linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis presented the award to Tucker, who was in attendance to accept. The game-winning kick bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights at Ford Field as time expired to give Baltimore an improbable 19-17 victory over the Lions and break the old record by two yards.

In addition to recognizing his many teammates involved in the winning try and the critical plays leading up to the record field goal, Tucker said there had to be some “divine intervention” working in the Ravens’ favor that afternoon.

“When you talk about what goes into a big play, there’s always an element of you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time,” Tucker said. “Beyond that, you have to have the right people involved in that moment. For us, we’re not even thinking about attempting that field goal if it’s not for Lamar Jackson and Sammy Watkins and our offense getting us in position on fourth-and-19 with seconds left.”

The most accurate kicker in NFL history, Tucker was named to his fifth Pro Bowl this season after going 35-for-37 on field goals, which included a perfect 6-for-6 from 50 yards and beyond.

Former Baltimore Star elected to Canton

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Though a pair of onetime Ravens came up short as Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists this year, a former Baltimore Star finally received the nod posthumously.

Linebacker Sam Mills made five Pro Bowls with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, but he first gained professional notoriety in the United States Football League from 1983-85. The Philadelphia Stars officially relocated to Baltimore in 1985, but the team played its home games in College Park and maintained its operations in Philadelphia that season. Regarded as one of the USFL’s top players, Mills helped lead the Stars to championships in 1984 and 1985 before the league folded the following year.

In 1986, former Stars coach Jim Mora was hired to coach the Saints and was joined by Mills, who led their famous “Dome Patrol” linebacker corps for years. Revered in New Orleans and then Charlotte over his 12-year NFL career, Mills died from intestinal cancer at age 45 in 2005.

Four-time Pro Bowl right tackle Willie Anderson (who played for the Ravens in 2008) and four-time Pro Bowl return specialist Devin Hester (who played for Baltimore in 2016) didn’t make the Hall of Fame cut after being named finalists in late December.

Two other Ravens nominees come up short

Though center Bradley Bozeman was the Ravens’ nomination for Walter Payton Man of the Year for the second straight season, Los Angeles Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth won the honor, which recognizes a player for excellence on and off the field. Bozeman was recognized on stage with the other nominees from the 32 NFL teams.

Retired Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson was a finalist for the Salute to Service Award, but Denver Broncos fullback Andrew Beck was named the winner.

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