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10/05 15:03 CDT Other than Santos, bad week for kickers
Other than Santos, bad week for kickers
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- All plaudits to Cairo Santos of the Chiefs for making seven
field goals Sunday. At least someone was able to kick the ball straight this
Santos' club record in a 36-21 loss at Cincinnati --- that's right, all the
points were on field goals, not three touchdowns --- stands out even more when
compared to the rest of his peers.
Not only were field goals a chore, particularly in crunch time, but the longer
extra points were problematic.
This wasn't the worst kicking performance in NFL annals, but it was a pretty
According to STATS, 57 of 71 field goals (80 percent) were made in Week 4.
That's not awful if most of the failures were from long distance, which they
Also, take away Santos' perfecto, and the numbers sink.
Jacksonville's Jason Myers, a first-year kicker from Marist who beat out
veteran Josh Scobee, missed from 53 yards. OK, we'll give him that.
Except that his try with 6 seconds left sailed right, but the Colts had called
a timeout. So he got a gimme --- and sailed it right, as well.
In overtime, he missed from 48 to the left.
"I put them both down the middle," Myers said. "I shucked them both well. One
just kind of went off to the right on me; one kind of turned left on me. Just
trying to make it. Try not to have it in my head about the other one. I wanted
that one to go in, but got a second chance. It just didn't go in."
Scobee, with Pittsburgh, had it even worse last Thursday night, twice botching
field goals that could have salted away a win over archrival Baltimore. He
missed from 49 and 41 yards, the Steelers lost --- and Scobee lost his job.
Tampa Bay rookie Kyle Brindza failed from 43 and 29 yards. Yes, a kick even
shorter than an extra point --- and he missed one of those, too, in a loss at
Carolina. Brindza, out of Notre Dame, missed three field goals and an extra
point during last week's 10-point loss at Houston.
After strongly backing Brindza following the Panthers defeat, Bucs coach Lovie
Smith tempered his support Sunday.
"We're not going to start kicking people off in the press conference after the
game," he said. "I'm disappointed in Kyle's play today; we have to do a better
job with extra points, with field goals when we need 'em. Those are critical
parts of the game; we need to get more production from there."
Such perennially dependable booters as Mason Crosby (44 yards), Nick Folk (40),
Blair Walsh (38) and Dan Carpenter (30) also misfired.
And the Saints' new kicker, Zach Hocker, clanged what would have been the
winning 30-yarder Sunday night off the goalpost.
At least New Orleans won in overtime, though on a long TD pass.
Unlike in college, where so many kickers are untested or simply not reliable,
NFL coaches often play for the winning field goal. It's a risky philosophy,
particularly now with the extra point moved back to about 33 yards.
"All the kicks are tough," said Steelers veteran long snapper Greg Warren, "and
now that you're taking (PATs) back, you're taking the one you could always
count on out of the equation, I think it does shake it up. I mean, it's not
just one kick you're changing, it's the mental makeup of everything.
"When that kick gets a little tougher, that job gets tougher. I think it's
definitely going to affect guys more than we anticipate, and it's interesting
how the league reacts to it, if it's what they were looking to do, to achieve."
Long-time placekicker Jay Feely, now retired, tweeted that extra points used to
be like warmup kicks, and now that they are more challenging, his former peers
are struggling more than ever. It's beyond a mindset, too.
"You didn't have to worry about the results (it was a given) which allowed you
to focus on your form and get grooved-in during a game," Feely wrote about the
short extra points.
"Somewhat of a confidence builder. Like throwing a couple of screens early for
a QB. Now the pressure is bigger on Ex Pts than even FGs because there is zero
room for error (100 percent success is demanded). The pressure intensifies and
it negatively impacts FG performance as well."
That certainly was the case this week.
AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell and Sports Writers Will Graves and Fred
Goodall contributed to this story.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL