PITTSBURGH -- If there was any lingering doubt, Justin Tucker showed why he is in a class by himself among kickers on Sunday.
The footing was unstable. The wind was swirling. The most challenging end of any stadium in the league was staring him in the face.
Once again overcoming a daunting degree of difficulty, Tucker managed to push the 46-yard, game-winning kick just inside the left upright, lifting the Baltimore Ravens to a critical 26-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The reason why the Ravens (3-2) are atop the AFC North right now instead of third place is the most reliable leg in NFL history, a title that Tucker constantly has in his sights.
"You don’t want to be good one time," Tucker said. "You want to be consistently good to be great. You want to be consistently great to have a legendary career. I know that sounds pretty heavy. That’s what I’m thinking about."
Tucker then smiled and added, "I also know that comes one kick at time. I probably should slow my roll here and think about making the next kick in practice on Wednesday."
Tucker has earned the right to speak in "legendary" terms. His greatness comes at a time when so many teams are still searching for competence at kicker. On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys' kicker Dusting Maher missed two field goals and Tennessee Titans kicker Cairo Santos missed four.
Tucker, meanwhile, is the most accurate kicker of all-time, converting 90.4 percent of his field-goal attempts (247-of-273). Since Tucker entered the NFL, the average success rate is 84.4 percent (with minimum of 100 tries). At Heinz Field, Tucker has made 24-of-25 (96 percent) of his field goals while visiting kickers have a mediocre 79.3 percent success rate there since it was built in 2001.
When Tucker took the field in overtime, quarterback Lamar Jackson said he had "100 percent" confidence in him.
"That’s the best kicker in the game," Jackson said. "Everyone has to pray but I didn’t get on my knees. I knew he was going to make that."
Safety Earl Thomas, who is in his first season with the Ravens, asked defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt if Tucker was going to make it.
"Bro, this is the best kicker in the NFL," Hewitt responded.
Before Tucker's 14th game-winner of his career, the situation looked bleak at times Sunday for the Ravens. Jackson threw a career-worst three interceptions, and the Baltimore defense gave up big plays to the Steelers' second- and third-string quarterbacks.
The rock of the team remains Tucker. He tied the game with a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining in regulation, and he won it in overtime with a kick that looked like it was going wide left before veering inside the post.
Tucker's father shot him a text after the game: "I think an archangel might have just blown that ball inside the upright just a little bit."
What the Ravens love about Tucker is how he embraces high drama. That’s what happens when your kicker can sing opera in seven different languages -- English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin and Russian -- and has done car commercials where he’s doing a spot-on impersonation of Matthew McConaughey.
About an hour after his latest clutch kick in Pittsburgh, Tucker went back onto Heinz Field, where he celebrated again and relived the emotions of the moment.
"There’s always nerves, butterflies, whatever you want to call it," Tucker said. "I’d go so far to say, in the smallest bit of time there, terror. But at the end of the day, none of that matters. You can be equal parts nervous, scared, confident, excited and none of it really matters, if that makes sense. All that matters is those 1.3 second between the snap, the hold and when the ball leaves my foot -- just doing our jobs."