Welcome to Gramatica Errors, SB Nation’s weekly discussion of NFL kickers and punters. As always, we will do our best to avoid any and all foot puns. Now let’s kick things off:
SCUTTLEBUTT AMONGST THE FOOT GANG
This is the section where we talk about what’s buzzing amongst the Foot Gang, which is the name I’ve made up for all of you Morten Fandersens out there on the internet.*
Once again, I reached out to Inside The Pylon’s kicking expert, Chuck Zodda, for the scoop, and he told me a topic of discussion this week was Cowboys’ kicker Dan Bailey, who nailed a 56-yard field goal in the team’s ugly loss to the Broncos. Zodda made the argument this week that Bailey is just about as good as anyone in the business, and with the possible exception of the Ravens’ Justin Tucker, probably the most clutch kicker in football.
“Bailey has one of the simplest motions in the league,” Zodda told me. “He is compact in his backswing and has a very vertical swing that controls his torque effectively while still maintaining power.”
Zodda went on: “Bailey is so good that during the 2016 season, he alternated the hash he took extra points from because he wanted extra practice. No one else in the league does this.”
In fact, Bailey was so excellent on Sunday, and the Cowboys were so bad, it led SB Nation’s Blogging the Boys to debate whether or not Bailey deserved the game ball for the performance. I’m all for this “kicker is actually the best player on the team” narrative. It’s already a talking point that Rams punter Johnny Hekker is the most talented player on the Rams, and it’s entirely possible, at least in my dream world, that Tucker is the best player on the Ravens. So let’s keep this going with Bailey and the Cowboys. How many 50-yarders has Dak Prescott kicked this year? That’s what I thought.
*This sobriquet comes from friend of the column Bill Barnwell, and I don’t feel bad stealing it because, you know what, Bill is doing fine.
HEY, IT’S GIORGIO TAVECCHIO!
For the second week in a row, Italian Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio impressed many members of the Shoe Crew by making his only attempt of the day and nailing six PATs in Oakland’s easy win over the Jets.
The fact that he was able to do this while also having the name of someone who would pull off a stylish diamond heist makes this all the more impressive.
What’s that? No. Tavecchio isn’t actually an international jewel thief. I was just saying his name sounds like that. I don’t know anything more. Tavecchio and I have never rendezvoused in Calcutta. I’ve never even heard of the Syndicate. YOU’LL GET NOTHING OUT OF ME.
The special teams play of the weekend came when Texas Lutheran’s Tyler Hopkins attempted a field goal, had the ball blocked, and then, with the ball still bouncing, kicked it a second time, this time between the uprights. The refs eventually ruled it good.
Watch the play here:
There was quite a bit of discussion in the Kick Clique about the play and whether or not it was legal. SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner dug into the rulebook and pointed out that it was almost certainly not, which gives me hope that the refs did what I have always wanted them to do in situations like this: know something is illegal but allow it to stand mostly because it was really fucking cool.
Every sport: Adopt this bylaw to your rulebook. If something nuts happens, ref gets to decide that, for this one time at least, you know what, we’re just gonna let this fly. Call it the You Know What We’re Just Gonna Let This Fly Bylaw. Don’t trust the refs? Let the commissioner call down and make the ruling. I don’t care. We’ll let the lawyers work that out.
And yes, I know this wasn’t an NFL play, but in my defense: Whatever.
YOUNGHOE KOO, IT MIGHT BE YOUR FAULT
Chargers kicker and internet sensation, Younghoe Koo, had a chance for a game-winning field goal against the Dolphins on Sunday and missed, leading to a 19-17 loss for Los Angeles. It was the second week in a row Koo has missed a field goal in the closing seconds of the game.
While his miss last week came because his line let him down and his kick was blocked, he had no such excuse this time, and you know what I DON’T CARE. MORE ROOM FOR ME ON THE BANDWAGON. GET OFF HATERS. I WON’T FORGET THOSE WHO DOUBTED HIM. YOU AND ME, KOO. WE’LL RIDE THIS THING INTO THE SUNSET. THELMA AND LOUISE BABY. WOOOOOO.
Sebastian Janikowski, at age 39, is still in the NFL and playing for the Oakland Raiders. He was injured for the second consecutive week, however, so for their game against the Jets, the Raiders once again turned to ... Giorgio Tavecchio.
Now, if you aren’t Giorgio Tavecchio, please look away from the computer right now. Seriously, if you aren’t Giorgio Tavecchio, close your browser. The rest of this article is for Giorgio Tavecchio and Giorgio Tavecchio alone.
Ah, Giorgio, you again. It seems the little tango of life has brought us together one more time. I was hoping it would be under better circumstances, but fate has always been a fickle bird, hasn’t she, you card? You may have bested me this time, but as long as I’ve got one eye open, know that your old bête noire is out there.
Let’s cut to brass tacks: the diamonds. They’re in the glass box under Mercedes’ attache case. Make sure Hidalgo gets his cut; I think we all know he more than earned his share this time around. And Giorgio? Give Mercedes a kiss for me. Tell her I’ll never forget that night in Tbilisi.
I’ll see you next time the Syndicate’s siren wails or, if fate will have it, in hell. And good luck next week against Washington.