Matt Prater came up short and paid the price, not once but twice. His attempt to break his own record for longest field goal in NFL history – a 64-yarder in Denver’s thin air eight years ago – backfired Sunday when a former teammate returned his missed 68-yard attempt in Jacksonville’s heavy air a record-tying 109 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the first half.
Prater’s third-quarter field goal from half that distance ignited the Cardinals’ comeback from a 13-7 halftime deficit that sent the Jaguars to their 18th consecutive loss.
But his record fell anyway. A thousand miles north, in Detroit’s climate controlled Ford Field, where Prater plied his craft for the last seven seasons, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in league history, lined up at his own 40-yard line with three seconds left. His holder was at the Ravens’ 44, and the snapper at the Lions 48 after some heroics by Lamar Jackson and a little help from the officiating crew.
Tucker´s attempt from 66 yards out bounced over the crossbar as time expired to send the Ravens to an electric 19-17 win over the Lions.
“That one was more like a kickoff,” said Tucker, who hop-stepped on his way to blasting the ball from his own 44. “It´s like you´re a competitor in a long-drive contest. You just let it rip and hope it stays straight.”
Prater´s league record that had stood for 2,850 days came crumbling down. Although he no longer holds the record for longest field goal, a 64-yarder against the Titans on Dec. 8, 2013, Prater does own the longest field goal for three franchises: Cardinals (62 yards), Lions (63) and Broncos (64).
Kickers have never been this clutch this early, but Kliff Kingsbury having Prater attempt a 68-yarder in Florida was a stretch.
Jamal Agnew returned the miss 109 yards for a touchdown, breaking two tackles and eluding another before sweeping past Prater over the final 10 yards.