the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, September 9, 2013

NFL Week One: Nick Folk, Stephen Gostkowski & Greg Zuerlein Kick Winners


He didn't kick a game winner, although he did make field goals of 27 and 33 yards in the fourth quarter which equaled the final margin of victory as San Fransisco won 34-28 over Green Bay. He wasn't asked about either of those afterward. Instead, Phil Dawson was asked about his very first field goal attempt as a 49er - a 48 yarder that went wide left:
"That's my welcome to Candlestick. I hit that ball exactly where I was aiming and about the last 5-6 yards it just took a hard left, which I wasn't anticipating at all. That's just how it's going to be here. Give me a little time I'll hopefully get this thing a little more squared away. Honestly, if I had to line up again, I think I'd aim in the same place."
With five seconds left in the game, Stephen Gostkowski did kick a game winner - a 35 yard field goal to give New England a 23-21 win over division rival Buffalo:
"It wasn't the smoothest operation. I had to make an adjustment. Ball came out a little low. I was lucky it didn't get blocked. But any time there is a little glitch in whatever the operation is, it's my job to adjust. Those guys do such a great job. They bail me out sometimes and I bail them out sometimes. And it just worked out for everyone. It's never perfect, that why we practice all the time.... Maybe it wasn't our smoothest operation, but it doesn't really matter what it looks as long as the results good. I'm sure we'll go back and look at it and tighten it up. We're – me, Danny [Aiken] and Ryan [Allen] – we're perfectionists. I'm sure there are other snaps and holds that he probably felt could've been better. And I'm sure a couple of my kicks could've been better. Nothing is ever perfect, you just kind of work to do the best you can every time."
With 40 seconds left in the game, Greg Zuerlein also hit a game winner -  a 48 yard field goal to give St. Louis a 27-24 win over division rival Arizona.
"Basically, I stay calm, swing like I know how and the rest takes care of itself. There's no better feeling. I don't even know the distances when I go out there to be honest, I just go out there and try to do my job."
During preseason the Jets tried to change kickers, bring in Billy Cundiff and the Dan Carpenter. But in the end they stayed with Nick Folk. That decision looked goo yesterday, as Folk hit game winning 48 yarder with two seconds left on the clock. New York won 18-17 over Tampa Bay.
"After Geno [Smith] ran out of bounds, I was already running out there for a long one. I think it was going to be a 63-yarder, but then I saw the flag. So on the kick I just tried to make it like an extra point. Rob [Malone, holder] and Tanner [Purdum, snapper] did a great job and those guys up front blocked real well for me. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was good."
Folk elaborated on his 'extra point' approach to the field goal:
“I like the situation. I don’t find it intimidating and I just face the pressure. Just kick it like an extra point. Kick it like every other kick. That’s kind of the mentality I’ve taken with every kick. That one kick is the most important kick. The other ones don’t matter. But you can build off those past experiences.”

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