the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, September 19, 2011

NFL Week Two: 55ers & Redeemed

The second week of the 2011 NFL season saw a pair of established veteran kickers each nail a 55 yard field goal, albeit in a losing cause, and a pair of younger kickers redeemed themselves by hitting clutch winning field goals after having previously missed shorter kicks.

The first of the 55 yarders came off the foot of Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee. Unfortunately for the Jaguars it was one of the few bright spots in their 32-3 loss to the Jets. The second 55 yarder is still being discussed. When David Akers hit it early in the fourth quarter, it gave the 49ers a 10 point lead over the Cowboys. There was a 15 yard penalty during the play, however San Francisco opted to decline the penalty and keep the three points on the board. Dallas went on to tie the game, and then win it in overtime, as we shall discuss in further detail below. Regardless, here at Kickology we're always in favor of field goals over touchdowns. Aker's kick ranks as follows among some previous long balls:
David Akers' 55-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the third-longest in 49ers history, behind two 56-yarders by Joe Nedney in 2005 and Mike Cofer in 1990. But those both came on the road, in domes. Akers' kick is the longest by a 49er outdoors and at Candlestick. The longest of his career was a 57-yarder against New England in 2003.
After a perfect preseason, Washington kicker Graham Gano got off to a slow start in the regular season, with a missed 39 yard attempt last week against the Giants and a blocked 30 yard attempt late in the first half of this week's game against the Cardinals. Nonetheless, he was successful on three other field goals this week, including a 34 yarder with 1:45 remaning in the game to give the Redskins a 22-21 victory.
“After the block, I went up to [special teams coach Danny Smith] and I told him we were going to have a chance to win on a field goal. I had a feeling it was going to come down to that at the end....
I was pretty pumped up; I’ve been there before. I’m just excited for those opportunities. The biggest thing is you try not to think about it too much. You just go back to what you’ve done in practice and let your instincts take over. That’s what I try to do and hope that everything goes well and put the ball through the uprights.”
Although this week's game at San Francisco didn't begin well for Dallas kicker Dan Bailey, as he missed a 21 yard field goal attempt on the opening possession, it ended in storybook fashion. On the final play of regulation his 48 yard field goal tied the game. His 19 yarder in overtime gave the Cowboys a 27-24 win over the 49ers.
"It was definitely a roller coaster for me. I'd like to have that first one back, but that's OK. You've got to take it one kick at a time. Luckily, I got a couple of opportunities to redeem myself and went out there and put them through....
I just left [the first kick] out there. It was one of those kicks you need to make. You need to make all your kicks. I'm not going to make any excuses. You've got to do your job. Luckily, I got a chance to redeem myself."

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