Week 5 wasn’t kind to some NFL kickers. One established kicker might be on the hot seat after one of the worst kicking performances ever. Another saw his long consecutive field goal streak broken. Even one of the greatest ever had a kick blocked.
Since Week 2 when we saw quite a few high-profile kicking disasters, things have quieted down — until this week, that is. League-wide kickers were 48 of 63 Sunday in Week 5, or 76 percent on field goals. That’s not the worst week ever, though it’s down quite a bit from the league average this year, which is 84 percent.
While we did see five game-winning kicks, including four at the last second, the ones we’re talking the most about are those misses.
Mason Crosby’s 5 missed kicks were most we’ve seen since 1997
Mason Crosby, the Packers’ all-time leading scorer, has had a memorable run as the team’s kicker, but it might be coming to an end soon.
Crosby missed four field goals by the smallest margins in their 31-23 loss against the Detroit Lions. Three of Crosby’s misses weren’t even long misses — they came on field-goal attempts of 38, 41, and 42. His final miss of the day came from 56 yards out.
To make matters worse for Crosby, he missed an extra point while the Packers were trying to get back into the game. By the time the Packers were down 31-20 with 9 minutes left, Crosby had already left 10 points off the board with his misses. Crosby ended up leaving 13 points on the field in a game where the Packers were losing by 11 until he hit a meaningless field goal as time expired.
There’s no doubt that if Crosby had made his field goals, the Packers would’ve had a chance to squeeze out a win against the Lions — instead they fall to 2-2-1 on the season.
His five missed kicks were the most in a game since Cole Ford missed four field goals and an extra point in a 1997 game for the Raiders.
Crosby had only missed one extra point and one field goal coming into the game and had been leading the NFL with 10 made field goals. He’s been with the Packers since 2007, so he should be able to keep his job — for now:
Mike McCarthy says he still believes in Mason Crosby, who missed five kicks yesterday, but he's got to make those kicks. Asked about snap/hold, McCarthy says: "We've got to be better there. The results have to be better." Many changes through the years.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 8, 2018
But wasting a pretty good performance by his friend Aaron Rodgers — who threw for 442 yards and three touchdowns — and potentially costing the Packers a win is going to sting.
Robbie Gould had an impressive streak end
49ers kicker Robbie Gould missed a 45-yard field goal in their game against the Arizona Cardinals. Gould had made 33 consecutive field goals up until that point, the longest streak in 49ers’ history. Unsurprisingly, Adam Vinatieri owns the NFL record with 44 consecutive field goals made.
This forced the 49ers to go for a two-point conversion halfway through the fourth quarter, which they missed, when they were down 14-12. The Cardinals went on a little run to close out the game, winning 28-18.
Even Justin Tucker had a field goal blocked
Justin Tucker is legitimately one of the best kickers of all time, but even the greats get blocked. Baltimore was trying tie the game at 6-6 heading into the half, but rookie Denzel Ward blocked the kick.
Cleveland won the game in overtime on a field goal in the final seconds — if Tucker had made this kick the game might not have made it to overtime. That’s a rare miss for Tucker, who entered Sunday having made 81 of his 86 field goal attempts since 2016. To his credit, he did make his three other field goals attempts, including one that tied the game with less than a minute left before it went to overtime.
A few kickers got some redemption
It wasn’t all bad, though. A few kickers that struggled early in the season turned it around and gave their teams a boost.
- Cleveland’s Greg Joseph made the game-winning kick for the Browns in overtime after missing a 55-yard field goal right before the end of regulation.
- Dan Bailey of the Minnesota Vikings hit two field goals in the second half after missing two of his three field goal attempts in the first half. His field goals were crucial in the Vikings’ 23-21 win over Philadelphia.
- The Los Angeles Rams’ newly signed kicker Cairo Santos missed an extra point attempt that would’ve tied their game against the Seattle Seahawks at 31. However, he did hit the go-ahead field goal in their 33-31 win.
- Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a field goal on their first drive of the game, but he made his next four, including the game-winning kick in overtime against the Cowboys.
Other kickers missed, but it didn’t really matter
Other kickers struggled to get the ball through the uprights too, but it didn’t hurt their teams too much.
- Matt Prater of the Detroit Lions missed a field-goal attempt in their win over the Packers.
- Jets kicker Jason Myers missed a 30-yard field goal in their blowout win over the Broncos.
- The Steelers drove right down the field and scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the game. Chris Boswell’s extra point attempt failed, his third missed XP and sixth missed kick of the season. Luckily for Boswell, his miss ended up not mattering in the slightest as the Steelers cruised to an easy victory against the Falcons, 41-17.
- Caleb Sturgis missed a field goal and extra point for the Chargers, but for once the Chargers’ kicking woes didn’t cost them. They still rolled over the Raiders, 26-10.
A couple kickers even got to play the hero. Panthers kicker Graham Gano hit a 63-yard field goal as time expired to get a win over the Giants, while the Bills’ Stephen Hauschka was perfect in the Bills’ 13-12 win over the Tennessee Titans — including the game-winning field goal.
It’s been a weird year for the NFL in general. In Week 5, that weirdness belonged to the kickers.