the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, September 17, 2012

NFL Week Two: Goin' the Distance

Yesterday's early NFL games saw nine successful field goals of at least 50 yards. Although not quite the longest of the day, perhaps the biggest came in Indianapolis. With eight seconds remaining, Adam Vinatieri hit a 53 yarder to give the Colts a 23-20 win over Vikings. Following the game, long snapper Matt Overton tweeted:
Way to go my fellas!!! Snap, hold, kick WIN!
The holder, punter Pat McAfee, chimed in:
Just another day for Adam Vinatieri... He'll be banging 50 yard game winners when he's wearing Depends. What a BALLER
Adam Vinatieri, who knows a little bit about game winning kicks, discussed his latest:
“When it was halfway there I knew it was good. I felt like I hit it well, but you always have to follow through and look up to make sure it’s confirmed that you hit it where you wanted to.... It’s always special. Any time you can go out and help your team win a game and put points on the board, it’s a great feeling, no matter what the distance is and what the circumstances are.  It’s nice to go out there and show them I still got some lead left in the pencil.”
On the other side of the field, Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh made a 51 yard field goal. It marked the second week in a row that he connected from long distance.

The longest of the day belonged to Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker, who made field goals of 56, 51 & 48 yards in Baltimore's 24-23 loss to Philadelphia.
"My range would probably extend to the upper 60s on a good day. You don’t put too much emphasis on the distance. It’s just another attempt. Harbaugh is always stressing to us to keep stacking good days....  I feel I hit [the 56 yarder] pretty good. I was pretty fired up to hit a good kick today. I was just looking at it as another kick. With my particular job description, you really have got to have no emotion. You just got to have a poker face every single attempt."
Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson hit a 50 yarder in the Browns 34-27 loss to the Bengals. New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley hit a 53 yarder in the Saints 35-27 loss to the Panthers. Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth hit a 52 yarder in the Bucs 41-34 loss to the Giants.

New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski made field goals of 46, 34, 51 & 53 yards. But as is oft the case, it was the one he missed that garnered all the attention afterward. With the Patriots trailing the Cardinals 20-18, his potential game winning 42 yard attempt with five seconds remaining was wide left.
"I had a chance to win and it came down to me. I didn't pull through and it stinks. I feel bad for the fans and my teammates. I can't take it back now.... I had a good game up until that point. I felt good going out there. There's probably not another game where I would feel more confident going out for a kick like that. It humbles you really quick."

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