METAIRIE, La. -- If New Orleans Saints kicker Shayne Graham was on the hot seat before, it can't have cooled off much after he missed a 51-yard field goal in Monday night's 31-15 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Graham appeared to stumble a bit after the kick -- but it was unclear if that affected the kick, which missed a little short and right. And holder Luke McCown didn't spin the laces around on the football. But coach Sean Payton said he'd have to look at the tape before passing any judgment.
Graham's attempt came after McCown had dropped the snap on a previous attempt -- but the Saints got a do-over because of offsetting penalties.
There was a steady rain for several hours in Chicago leading into the first quarter. But Payton said the footing "wasn't that bad really."
Graham, who later made a 25-yard field goal attempt, is now 19-of-22 on the season (plus one missed extra point). But the Saints tried out four kickers last week after Graham had missed a 42-yarder at home against the Carolina Panthers.
And Payton said it's possible to be "unhappy off the last performance" despite a steady body of work throughout the season. Ultimately, though, New Orleans stuck with Graham and Payton insisted he believed he would respond the right way.
You could also question the decision to attempt that 51-yard kick in the first place on Monday night, especially with some mild weather conditions to deal with. But the Saints appeared to have a light wind at their back. Graham had just nailed a 55-yarder going in the same direction during his last warm-up kick with at least 5 yards to spare.