Having a clutch kicker is a luxury that most NFL fans will die for. In today’s NFL, there’s really only one best player that people trust to get the job done while the game is on: Baltimore’s Justin Tucker. Sure, there were years when the likes of Adam Vinatieri, Harrison Butker, Stephen Gostkowski, Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers could have been named in the same company as Tucker, but none of them could compare to the efficiency. as ruthless as Tucker.
While he’s never had a perfect season, Tucker has a career scoring rate of 91.3 (all-time best, 25 min minimum). As the game progresses, Tucker is the most reliable person to freeze the game. No one is on his level.
Well, I’d like to nominate Striker Daniel Carlson’s free kick. While his career rates may not be on par with the likes of Tucker or even Butker, Carlson has slowly progressed and officially earned his “clutch” face value.
Let’s start with the most obvious case of Carlson, his 38 consecutive goals. With the Raiders saying goodbye to Week 6, Carlson will be away for nearly a full calendar year from his last goal was missed. Since then, he answers calls whenever asked.
The NFL record for most consecutive grass goals scored is 44 of Vinatieri, then Colts, in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The longest record of Tucker’s career is just 35 years old, placed between December 13, 2015and December 4, 2016. While Tucker is currently on a 28-game streak, he’s still a long way from breaking his record or even catching up with Carlson’s current record.
Not to mention, Carlson is automatic from the worm. Since the start of the 2020 season, both Carlson and Tucker have scored exactly 15 goals from more than 50 yards. Carlson is 14 years old. Tucker was 13 years 15 years old, and in view, Butker was 12 years 14 years old in that time period.
Through five games, Carlson is on track to lead the NFL in both on-field goals and goals scored for the second straight season. Justin Tucker has only one such season: 2013. Through the 27-year-old season, Tucker has had three seasons with an on-field scoring rate greater than 90%. Carlson is catching up on that now. However, in the 27-year-old season, Tucker has had 70% of his career scoring from more than 50 meters. Carlson is currently at 85%.
Tucker is superior in terms of pluses. The man is hitting a staggering 98.8 percent for his career, and 98.3 percent since the extra points move back to 2015. Carlson has a 94.6% plus rate. Still, that’s an amazing success rate by NFL standards. It is better than Butker (94%), Nick Folk (92.3% as of 2015) and Vinatieri (92.1% from 2015 to 2019). This is one of the most reliable strikers in the league and Carlson has surpassed them both in terms of scoring and extra points.
Above all, Carlson has instilled faith in the fans of Strike, and that says a lot when it comes to assuming that Striker loses games in a brutal fashion. In a team where anything can happen, the Raiders’ on-field goal seems as certain as death or taxes today. As the Raiders attempted to march down the pitch during their two-minute drill during last night’s game, some of the Raid fans I joined felt great about their chances. Not because they trusted Derek Carr to move them down the field, but because they knew that if Carlson had the chance, he would. That confidence is not an overstatement.
Is Carlson as good as Tucker? I’m not ready to differentiate. Tucker has been playing at the elite level much longer than Carlson, but Carlson should be part of that elite level with Tucker. He’s definitely the second best kicker in the NFL right now, and he’s hell.