Bad turf and troublesome paratroopers wreak havoc with Justin Tucker

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker had troubles with the ground below him at Levi's Stadium as well as some surprising visitors above him.

Tucker missed only his fourth career kick on the road in Sunday's 25-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers when his foot caved in the much criticized field. His 45-yard attempt hit the right upright early in the fourth quarter, when the Ravens trailed 19-13. The usually automatic kick -- he had hit 37 in a row under 50 yards -- was disrupted when Tucker's plant foot sunk into the field and caused him to tumble to the ground.

"I never experienced anything quite like that," Tucker said. "The foot just dug so deep into the ground. It really is no excuse though because we've made kicks where I've totally fallen down."

Tucker won't soon forget his first visit to Levi's Stadium. As part of the halftime entertainment, three paratroopers landed on the Ravens' half of the field, which caused Tucker to adjust his routine. He spent as much time looking in the sky to avoid getting hit as he did focusing on the goal posts.

"There were indeed people coming out of the sky, literally," he said. "We still had plenty of kicks. There is really nothing to point to, other than myself needing to come through for my teammates and our coaching staff at a critical point in the game."

While the paratroopers were a different wrinkle, the turf at Levi's Stadium has been a frequent topic of conversation. Plans to hold a public training camp practice at Levi's Stadium were scrapped two months ago due to poor playing conditions on the grass field. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed concern about the turf at the 2-year-old stadium during the preseason before apologizing.

Tucker refused to put the blame on Levi's Stadium, even though he was lucky to avoid injury on that missed kick.

"It was something maybe with that particular spot," said Tucker, who had made 60 of his previous 63 field goal attempts on the road (95.2 percent). "One spot out of 100 yards by 53 1/3 that I happened to plant on and it just went out from under me."