1) Can a kicker be the MVP of a playoff contender? Apparently so.

The most absurd MVP vote of my lifetime handed the NFL award to Redskins kicker Mark Moseley after the strike-shortened 1982 season. Longtime fans will remember that Moseley won despite missing three extra points in nine games. 
I couldn't be more skeptical of awarding MVPs to kickers, baseball closers or any other class of athlete who see the field a miniscule percentage of total game time.<BR><BR>
And yet, with the Ravens now 8-6 and in control of their fortune in the AFC wild-card race, I'd be hard-pressed to give the team MVP to anyone other than Justin Tucker.<br><br> 
It'd be awfully tough to oversell Tucker's performance at this point, after he scored all 18 points in the Ravens' crucial, gut-churning win in Detroit. It seemed impossible that Monday's drama could match the previous week's five touchdowns in two minutes and four seconds at snowy M&T Bank Stadium. But darned if Tucker didn't make a go of it, winning a game with the longest indoor field goal in NFL history.<br><br> 
He made a wreck of Twitter and countless fantasy playoff games. He boosted his consecutive field-goal streak to 33. <br><br>
Remember the second game of the season, when he missed two field goals? Neither does anyone else.<br><br>
There's a part of me that still wonders if it's absurd to call Tucker the top dog. But if you look at Pro Football Focus, where the analysts grade every snap taken by every player in the league, Tucker entered Monday's game with the highest rating of any Raven. It's not just the field goals; he's a force on kickoffs as well.<br><br> 
When we look back on 2013, we might remember this as the most preposterous run of victories in team history. For the record, we've now endured the Hail Mary game, the Mike Tomlin game, the snow game and the Tucker game, all since the bye week. So perhaps it's fitting that a kicker has shone brightest.

( Karl Merton Ferron, The Baltimore Sun / December 16, 2013 )

The most absurd MVP vote of my lifetime handed the NFL award to Redskins kicker Mark Moseley after the strike-shortened 1982 season. Longtime fans will remember that Moseley won despite missing three extra points in nine games. I couldn't be more skeptical of awarding MVPs to kickers, baseball closers or any other class of athlete who see the field a miniscule percentage of total game time.

And yet, with the Ravens now 8-6 and in control of their fortune in the AFC wild-card race, I'd be hard-pressed to give the team MVP to anyone other than Justin Tucker.

It'd be awfully tough to oversell Tucker's performance at this point, after he scored all 18 points in the Ravens' crucial, gut-churning win in Detroit. It seemed impossible that Monday's drama could match the previous week's five touchdowns in two minutes and four seconds at snowy M&T Bank Stadium. But darned if Tucker didn't make a go of it, winning a game with the longest indoor field goal in NFL history.

He made a wreck of Twitter and countless fantasy playoff games. He boosted his consecutive field-goal streak to 33.

Remember the second game of the season, when he missed two field goals? Neither does anyone else.

There's a part of me that still wonders if it's absurd to call Tucker the top dog. But if you look at Pro Football Focus, where the analysts grade every snap taken by every player in the league, Tucker entered Monday's game with the highest rating of any Raven. It's not just the field goals; he's a force on kickoffs as well.

When we look back on 2013, we might remember this as the most preposterous run of victories in team history. For the record, we've now endured the Hail Mary game, the Mike Tomlin game, the snow game and the Tucker game, all since the bye week. So perhaps it's fitting that a kicker has shone brightest.

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