I think I speak for all of us when I say that week eleven had most of us scratching our heads. Twelve extra points were missed, besting the 1995 record of ten. And we all thought that moving the PAT back a few yards was useless! It’s certainly hard to imagine this happening without the backed up PAT being a factor. Overall, its only fair that this week, we look at the kickers with the most horrific misses and overall performances of the week.
The first kicker that I think is worth mentioning is Matt Prater. After a stunning punt returned for a touchdown, Prater came out to kick the PAT. But when he kicked, the ball didn’t make it past the defensive line: the ball was immediately swatted down. While there isn’t much you can do about a swatted PAT, there are things that may have made it easier for the lineman to bring it down. The first thing may have been that the kick was going slow enough for the lineman to see it and get enough time to take it down. That in mind, there’s a good chance that the kick would have never made it in at all. But the defender may never have gotten the chance to swat the PAT if the offensive lineman had kept the defender down. As an offensive lineman, you have one job! Keep the defense from getting past you, over you, under you, whatever! On looking at the replay, the defense came right into the offensive line and left Prater with five feet of space. This was a failed play by anyone’s terms.
Matt Prater got his extra point blocked. Robbie Gould, placekicker for the New York Giants, outright missed the goalpost. There isn’t much to say here except that the kick looked like it was going in when it suddenly broke left. I remember hearing the wind being accredited with the miss, but things like that don’t happen because of the wind. The football was twenty feet in the air and about seven feet from going in. If the wind started to take the ball, it would still have gone in. What happened on field to me looked like Gould kicked only the right side of the ball and it curved as a result. So rather than the wind, it seems like Gould just had a poor kick.
Of all the horrendous performances of kickers, of all the bad things that they did, nothing was more horrendous and bad as Mike Nugent’s performance. Mike Nugent outright missed two PATs that, had he made them, would have put the game into overtime and would most likely have won them the game. The Buffalo Bills, arguably one of the worst teams ever, beat the Cincinnati Bengals by a margin of two–two points that could easily have been claimed had Mike Nugent made the two PATs that he missed. But when it came down to the final play of the game, where the Bengals could win or lose, Marvin Lewis had as much trust in Nugent to make a thirty yard field goal as I have trust in Kanye West to be president. Thus, Andy Dalton was forced to chuck a Hail Mary down the field without AJ Green, a Hail Mary that Stephon Gilmore easily swatted down. This just goes to show that two points can make all of the difference in a game.
Obviously, kickers across the board didn’t have a great day, some more than others. All in all, coaches will be making sure that there is nothing like this next week.
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