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Justin Tucker’s weird, rugby-style onside drop kick is now illegal in the NFL

That was short lived.

We got to see something unusual at the end of Ravens vs. Chiefs in Week 3— a rugby-style onside kick attempt.

I hesitate to call this “rugby-style,” only because Justin Tucker’s form is that of a seven-year-old trying to learn to drop kick for the first time. In theory, the idea of a short, lofting kick creates opportunities for jump balls and 50/50 chances — but once again, he kicked it like a child.

And he’ll never get another shot at it. Weeks later, the NFL banned the onside dropkick — which may or may not have been legal to begin with, depending on who you ask.

When Tucker tossed the ball in the air like he did the kick was already dead in the water. He lost all possible control of the kick, needing to adjust his approach and gait, rather than being able to put the ball where he wanted it. The result was this dead, pseudo-punt that didn’t really achieve anything.

If you look at a rugby player drop kicking, they’re always making contact at the second the ball hits the ground. The drop is part of their approach, allowing them to put the ball where they want it. Furthermore, a rugby player will direct the kick towards the sideline to close off the field and increase the number of bodies in a small area.

Now, there is a chance this is exactly what the Ravens wanted to do. They could have been angling to force a fair catch from the Chiefs, which essentially gave them a free timeout since the clock was stopped at 2:01, and the two-minute warning was looming. Still though, I think there’s potential here for the rugby drop kick to become a better onside kick.

You know, if it were still legal.

Huge credit to Mecole Hardman of the Chiefs on this play. He was aware enough to call for a fair catch in the situation, which isn’t something players are accustomed to on an onside kick. While it did give the Ravens that free timeout, it also ensured that Tucker’s lofting, weird drop kick didn’t become a bigger problem.

The Chiefs closed out the 33-28 win on the ensuing possession.