the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, September 10, 2012

NFL Week One: the Veteran, the Rookie & the Broken Arm

At the end of the first half of San Francisco's 30-22 win over Green Bay, 49ers kicker David Akers joined Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam and Sebastian Janikowski as co-holder of the record for longest NFL field goal. The 15-year verteran's 63 yarder had just enough distance, hitting the cross bar and bouncing through.
"It was kind of one of those miracles. I didn't think I hit it great enough. I made 61 in pregame and felt pretty good that I could get it there if I just struck it right. But when I hit it, I felt like I missed it.
As a kicker, when you hit the goal posts at any part, it usually makes that horrific noise and usually bounces back. This time it got the sweet bounce. It was definitely a once-in-a lifetime type of deal. After 14 years of active roster play it's just one of those things you'll never forget."
Vikings' rookie kicker Blair Walsh played a significant role in Minnesota's 26-23 overtime win against Jacksonville. He connected on four field goals, including a 55 yarder on the final play of the fourth quarter to tie the game and a 38 yarder in overtime for the win.
"This scenario was not in my head. I knew that both of our teams were pretty well matched, and I knew it was going to be a close game, but I didn't know it was going to be literally that close....
I told them anything under 60 and I could honestly give them a realistic shot. We got it to 55. It's crazy. I had a feeling it was coming when they scored. We had 20 seconds left -- enough time to just really move it down the field....
The damn O-line is seven-feet tall on average. You know, I'm 5-10 and I can barely see. I moved a little bit to the side and I saw it going center. I knew it had the leg."
Walsh's holder, punter Chris Kluwe, commented:
"That's a make-or-break kick for a rookie in his first game, especially when you consider who he's replacing. Either you make it or you go home because that's exactly what he was brought in to do. I think it showed a lot about the maturity of a [22-year-old] guy."
Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg gutted it out for the entirety of Washington's 40-32 win over New Orleans. The issue wasn't actually his gut, but rather his arm, which was broken during a punt in the first quarter.
“I tried to get a hand on a guy, he dipped in to try and get around the corner. When he dipped in, I threw my arm out and his helmet just crushed it....
We're going to evaluate it this week. That's the plan. I don't want to sit out, but ultimately that's up to the coaching staff depending on how everything turns out tomorrow and things like that, once the adrenaline goes away and everything is going to be a completely different story.”

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