the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, December 3, 2012

NFL Week 13: Untied - David Akers & Greg Zuerlein

It was just three weeks ago that a rare NFL tie occurred after neither team scored in overtime. Both the 49ers' David Akers and the Rams' Greg Zuerlein missed a field goal in that extra period. 

San Francisco and St. Louis played again this week, and came very close to not settling the matter yet again. On the final play of the fourth quarter, Zuerlein set the stage by hitting a 53 yard field goal to tie the game at 13-13 and send it into overtime.

After several overtime possessions ending in punts, the 49ers finally got the first scoring opportunity with a 51 yard field goal attempt with a little over four minutes remaining. David Aker's kick was just wide right.
"It's a game of inches and I probably missed it by 3 or 4 inches to the right. And I just feel horrible for letting my teammates, organization, fans down....
I don't put anything on injuries. "I should've made it. I hit it great. You're going from 51, if it's off a little bit or turns a little bit, it doesn't take much to be off. Got a good shot into it and good power into it . . . just frustrating."
Following the miss, the Rams drove just enough to set up Greg Zuerlein for a 54 yard field goal attempt with 30 seconds remaining.
"I was just trying to make the kick and not think about anything."
Zuerlein's kick was good, and the Rams won 16-13.
"The biggest thing is that we won the game. Personally, it feels good just to make a game-winner. I've had some opportunities before, and didn't convert on them.... I was pretty relieved. Relief and excitement at the same time. It's a mixture of kind of everything....

I was looking at (holder) Johnny (Hekker). I normally just give him a high-five or a low-five. He was screaming and then some other people hit me, and I blacked out."
Quarterback Sam Bradford summed up the team's collective thoughts:
"Money. I think this entire team has all the confidence in the world in Greg. We see him make those everyday at practice. It’s just kind of routine for him. I think we all expected him to make it."
All of this followed a missed (wide right) 58 yard attempt by Zuerlein near the end of the first half. Following the half-time, he received some unanticipated support from a former Ram, who happened to be on the field for an honorary team anniversary celebration - kicker Jeff Wilkins:
"Don’t worry about that one, you’re going to make the game winner."

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