the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NFL Week Six: Overtimers, Uprights & Frustrating Winds

Two kickers got the opportunity to win their respective games in overtime on Sunday. Both made their kick. Both resulted in 23-20 victories for their team. Stephen Gostkowski's 35 yard field goal gave the Patriots a win over Baltimore.
"All I am thinking about is making good, clean contact. The hardest thing about kicking a kick at the end of the game or end of the half is not letting your excitement get the best of you. I am not going to get out there and celebrate before the kick is made. A lot of times guys have the tendency to try to kick it too hard or over-kick it. Just like a golf swing, the harder you try to hit it the less chance you have at it going straight. I just try to calm myself down, take a deep breath and, you know, I kick hundreds and hundreds of kicks each week and there is no reason that is any [different]. The consequences are greater but I am not thinking of that at the time....

It’s nice to get a win. The couple times that I’ve had a chance to be in overtime it seems like I kick off every time and haven’t had an opportunity, and I was just glad to get an opportunity. As a field goal kicker you can’t make your own opportunities. You just got to go with what is given to you on the offense and defense and when you get an opportunity to come through for your team it’s very rewarding to be the last person to touch the ball and come off winners."
Dan Carpenter's 44 yarder gave the Dolphins a win at Green Bay.
"It feels good when you hit it where you want to hit it. When I hit the ball, it went up and it was going the direction I wanted it. From then, I pretty much knew.''
Several other kickers had less successful outings, although in each case it did not impact the final outcome of the games. Connor Barth's successful field goal streak came to an end when both his attempts hit the right upright (from 40 & 47 yards), during the Buccaneers 31-6 loss to the Saints.
“I wouldn’t say that I mishit them. They were fine. You’re talking inches from maybe hitting the upright and bouncing in or just getting in. I wouldn’t say hitting the upright is a bad hit. The end result is not good because you aren’t making three points, but that stuff happens. I didn’t do anything different than what I normally do. They did a good job – the snaps and holds were good. I didn’t come through and put them through. For me, I’m going to keep my same stroke. That is what has gotten me where I am now. Consistency wise, I’ve been good. I’m 6-for-8 now, having a good year, and I just need to start a new streak.”

After my first miss, for the rest of the game I approached it like I made that kick so that keeps your confidence up. These two kicks, for my sake, yeah I missed them, but deep down I feel I made them. I won’t even watch the film. I don’t want to watch misses. If you look at Tiger Woods, people always ask him about shots he had, but he always brings out a positive thing. So, he never looks at the negatives just like I don’t watch myself miss. What’s the point? Why watch yourself miss when you can watch yourself make them?”
For New Orleans, Garrett Hartley was back in the starting role after having been replaced for two weeks by John Carney. Hartley was good on a 27 yarder, but missed from 33 yards:
"It just went left. I know it was kind of difficult judging the wind. It felt like a decent hit off my foot. Then looking up, it ended up going left. We've been hitting the ball very clean in practice. Unfortunately, there was one hiccup today. Everything else we felt great about, the other kicks, the extra points and the kickoffs. It's just little things that need to be ironed out. I'm one part of a three-part trio. We need to get the collaboration and keep working and grinding. Things will turn around. We've already seen the results in practice; we have to execute it on game day."
Although the Eagles won 31-17 over Atlanta, kicker David Akers missed three kicks on one game for the first time in his career. In windy conditions, he was wide left on attempts from 37, 47 & 37 yards. He eventually connected on a 30 yarder.
"It was a bad day. That's all I can say. It was frustrating. I get down on myself for not performing at a high level. I demand better out of myself and my teammates should demand better out of me. I'm just thrilled that Kevin [Kolb] did such a good job out there as quarterback, and a lot of other guys played extremely well, and my misses didn't end up costing the game.... I've never had a day like today, so it's frustrating."

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