Heroes and villains among NFL placekickers in Week 5
NEW YORK (AP) — Some teams can’t kick about their kickers. Others might want to kick them off the roster after this weekend.
With the rare exceptions of Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri and Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, there aren’t any placekickers whose place in Canton, Ohio, is a topic of discussion. Even Vinatieri and Tucker missed kicks in Week 5.
For every hero with his soccer-style boots, there are flops. Graham Gano nails a career-best 63-yarder to lift Carolina past the Giants — tied for second-longest field goal in NFL history — and Greg Joseph sends a flutterball through the uprights to give Cleveland a 12-10 win over Baltimore. Meanwhile, Mason Crosby has the worst Sunday of his 12-year career with four botched field goals and a missed extra point in a 31-23 loss at Detroit.
Want more? Maybe not, but here goes:
—Chris Boswell missed the extra point after the Steelers’ first touchdown, the third he’s missed this season. Boswell missed three in his previous three seasons with Pittsburgh.
—Caleb Sturgis’ PAT attempt after one Chargers touchdown bounced off the upright for his fourth miss of the season and third in the past two games. The sixth-year kicker has equaled the amount he had over three seasons in Philadelphia from 2015-17.
“The extra point did bother me a little bit, but we’ll figure out what happened there,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “He’s been kicking with a lot of confidence, so I’m not concerned about it.”
—The Browns’ Joseph clanked an extra point off the right upright, the third extra point missed by Cleveland this season. The rookie then pulled a 55-yard field goal left for the win with 5 seconds left in regulation before connecting in OT.
—Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, had a 48-yard field goal attempt blocked by Cleveland rookie Denzel Ward on the final play of the first half. He made three kicks, however, proving he’s still the league’s most reliable.
—Detroit’s Matt Prater missed a 55-yard field goal, badly, sending the football way right. But the strong-legged Prater is one of the best long-range kickers around and holds the record with a 64-yarder for Denver in 2013.
—Cincinnati kicker Randy Bullock had a 37-yard field goal try blocked by Vincent Taylor of Miami in the second quarter. The Bengals still rallied from a 17-0 hole to win.
—Cairo Santos of the Rams had a chance to tie the score at 31 in Seattle but missed a fourth-quarter extra point. He got a chance to redeem himself and did on a 39-yard field goal for the winning points.
—This one is not kicker Stephen Hauschka’s fault, and he was being celebrated later with a 46-yard field goal to lift Buffalo past Tennessee. But it was an example of the weird day kicking teams were having.
The Bills botched a field goal late in the first half — either it was a blown fake or an issue getting the ball down for the kick. Holder Corey Bojorquez stood up after taking the snap and tried a short pass back to Hauschka under pressure from Brynden Trawick of the Titans.
—Not to ignore the punters, Atlanta’s Matt Bosher had a kick blocked late in the third quarter when Pittsburgh’s Roosevelt Nix bulldozed in.
Clearly, the most forgettable performance came from Crosby, who was crushed by it.
“I don’t get this much attention unless it’s really bad or extremely good,” he said. “This one is unfortunately really bad. I’m going to have to really look at this one and this one hurts a bunch. I left a lot of points on the field for this team.
“I look back and I’m thinking, in my childhood, in high school, this is definitely one of the worst ones and I’m bummed about that.”
What really bums out fans is when coaches play for the field goal. It’s far worse in college, where the dependability of placekickers is shakier than Crosby was Sunday indoors at Detroit.
But it infiltrates the NFL, too. And when the kickers flop consistently, they lose their jobs.
And like Hauschka and Santos and Sturgis and Bullock, they somehow pop up elsewhere. Until they start missing again.