With a 58-yard field goal at the end of regulation, the Detroit Lions forced overtime and managed to hand the Minnesota Vikings a third consecutive loss with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate. But if Blair Walsh managed to make his kicks earlier in the game it may have never come to that.
First, Walsh missed an extra point in the third quarter that would’ve tied the game, 10-10, then his 46-yard field goal to attempt to give Minnesota a 12-10 lead was blocked. Of course, it’s not as easy as just adding four points to the Vikings total and assuming the game finishes the same, but in a low-scoring game that came down to the wire, those points were certainly crucial.
And for Walsh, it was the continuation of a nightmarish 2016.
“You guys have got to understand, what do you want the answer to be?" Walsh asked reporters after the game. "I want to be there for my team. Of course I do. But come on. You guys ask the same questions every week — 'Did you make it? Why didn't it go in?' I mean, if I had the answer right away, I'd tell you. I'm confident in what I'm doing. I know that I'm going to be fine. But it's tough right now."
For about two minutes, Walsh expressed his frustrations with reporters who have spoken to him often in the last year:
Walsh signed a four-year, $14 million extension with the Vikings prior to the 2015 season and rewarded the team with a streak of 17 consecutive made field goals over a seven-week span, including back-to-back game-winning field goals in Week 8 and Week 9.
He finished the 2015 season No. 1 in the NFL in made field goals and was successful on his first three attempts in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. But that was before disaster struck and he missed a potentially game-winning 27-yard attempt in the final minute of the game.
Walsh opened the 2016 season with two missed field goals and a missed extra point against the Tennessee Titans, but rebounded fairly well to make 11 of 12 extra points and seven of eight field goals in Weeks 2-8.
That momentum seemingly flew right out the window Sunday and Walsh is clearly frustrated. After a 5-0 start, the Vikings are struggling to find wins and that means there’s more pressure than ever for Walsh to make his kicks, if not just for the team but also to save his job.