the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, September 23, 2013

NFL Week Three: Stephen Gostkowski & Dan Bailey

Each week we typically compile quotes from kickers involved in close games... so close that they come down to a game winning field goal attempt. This week we focus on two kickers in games that did not go down to the proverbial wire.

In New England's 23-3 win over Tampa Bay, kicker Stephen Gostkowski was good on all three of his field goals, including a 53 yarder on the final play of the first half.
"I usually go back [in pregame warmups] to about a 53, 55-yard field goal. I don’t usually test much more than that. I can see how far it crosses in and get a gauge and then talk to our special-teams coach [Scott O’Brien]. Obviously, you have more wiggle room at the end of the half and the game. You’re more likely to kick a longer field goal at the end of the half or game than you are in the middle of the first quarter, when field position is a different thing,” he noted. “It’s nice to get those long opportunities. We don’t get too many of them around here. You’ve just got to take advantage of them while you can. That kick in December is probably a lot tougher than it was today."
The Patriots' kicker also had touchbacks on all six of his kickoffs in the game.
"I know how much our guys appreciate it and how much our coaches appreciate it. It’s a play that they can’t do anything about. If I can kick it over their heads and they can’t return it, that’s one less chance they have to make a big play. I’ve always prided myself on kickoffs. There are a lot of things that go undervalued in a game. Everything is not flashy and about points. It’s 50 percent of my job and I take just as much pride in it."
In Dallas 31-7 win over St. Louis, kicker Dan Bailey made a 19 yard field goal but missed from 35 yards. It was only his second ever pro miss at home. The first one from two years ago was blocked, and someone else also had a hand in yesterday's miss.
"It actually got tipped. It’s kind of one of those things. You hear and see the ball when you make contact, then you hear something else, and you look up, and it’s not exactly going where you thought it was going to be.... But yeah, I mean, it’s just frustrating. I like to think I make them all. It is what it is. Try to make the next one."

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