KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker attempted a tricky dropkick in the team's Week 3 loss to the Chiefs, and while the play gets high marks for creativity, it received a thumbs down from the NFL.
With 2:01 remaining in the game and trailing 33-28, Tucker attempted a rarely used dropkick on the kickoff. In a dropkick, the kicker drops the football and must kick it as it strikes the ground or immediately afterwards.
Tucker, however, allowed the ball to hit ground and bounce upwards. That provided him the opportunity to get more elevation on the kick. The NFL rulebook says the kicker must contact the ball "as, or immediately after, it touches the ground."
That's not legal, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub said.
"It's not considered a drop kick because you have to kick it simultaneously as it hits the ground," Toub said.
Toub said he understood the Ravens contacted the NFL for an interpretation on the rule before trying it against the Chiefs.
"But you don't really know exactly what it is until you see it," Toub said. "So they ran it, the NFL looked at it and they said that it's not a drop kick. Can't do it anymore."
Some theorized the Ravens tried the play in attempt to force a fair catch from the Chiefs and use the 2-minute warning as essentially an extra timeout. That was the effect, but Ravens players confirmed the play was designed to create a jump ball just as an onside kick would do. But Tucker kick the ball too deep for the Ravens to make a play on it.
Other components of the also sparked questions about whether it conformed with the rules. Tucker attempted the kick once but balked when the ball didn't land as he hoped. The rule book doesn't specify anything about what happens in that situation.
On the second try the ball landed beyond the 35-yard line. Replays appear inconclusive in showing whether the ball spun backwards and Tucker made contact beyond the 35-yard line. If he make contact beyond the line, a 10-yard penalty should have been accessed and the kick retried, unless the Chiefs declined the penalty.
Teams might consider using a dropkick in onside situations again, but executed in the style the Ravens did won't fly next time.