I hate kickers. Anybody who knows me knows this. It’s not necessarily the people themselves. In fact, I’m friends with the Vikings placekicker, Ryan Longwell. It’s that coaches worry way too much about field goals and not enough about trying to score touchdowns. OK, so the fact they seem to fail so often in big situations also drives me crazy. But this weekend, the biggest snafu was because of a kicker’s brain, not his foot.
- Donovan McNabb probably didn’t know either. When Nick Folk made the field goal to give the Jets a 23-20 OT win against the Lions, he didn’t jump up and down with excitement. That’s because he didn’t realize the game was over. He thought the overtime rule change voted on for this year’s playoffs included regular season games as well. As a Jets fan, I’m just glad he knows the ball needs to go BETWEEN the uprights.
- That’s a huge substitution. Because the Jets ran into 6-foot, 190-pound Jason Hanson and injured him on a previous kick, the Lions needed somebody else to try an extra point. Enter rookie Ndamukong Suh, a man who stands 6-foot-4, and weighs 307 pounds and is a defensive lineman. Nobody from New York went near him, but Suh clanged the kick off the right upright. If he asks to try again, I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell him no.
- Another big man caps a big win. Suh had his moment, but as a rule, kickers are small, thin guys that would otherwise never play football. Sebastian Janikowski is clearly the exception. Generously listed at 250 pounds, he looks like a linebacker. On Sunday, he nailed a 41-yarder at the end of regulation to tie the game, then a 33-yarder in overtime to give the Raiders their third straight win and pull them to within a half-game of the division lead. Thank goodness he didn’t try to jump into his holder’s arms to celebrate!
- Where there’s a Welker, there’s a way. Because of an injury to Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, Wes Welker was the second position player to attempt an extra point Sunday. He made his try, which was about the only thing that went right for the Patriots against the Browns. I say we force teams to use non-kickers on extra points every time, it’s much more fun to watch.
- This time, he gave his friend a chance. The F-Word threw away the chance to reach the Super Bowl last season with a terrible interception. This time around, he gave his kicker the opportunity. Longwell capped The F-Word’s record day by booting a 35-yarder down the middle to give the Vikings a 27-24 victory and is now 5 for 5 in overtime attempts. It’s amazing how well things turn out when The F-Word gives others the chance to be the hero.
- I had to include punters. For the fifth time this season, the Chargers had a punt blocked. Because San Diego’s offense is so good, the team has only punted 30 times all year, which means 1/6th of the time they haven’t gotten the kick off cleanly. I’d say the Chargers should always go for it on 4th down, like Pulaski Academy in Arkansas, but Norv Turner is afraid to go for it in opponent’s territory so that’s not happening.
THERE IT IS!