Thursday, September 29, 2011
Akers to Feely: Kickers and close games
By Mike Sando
Twelve games in Week 3 were decided by no more than seven points.
That was the highest number in NFL history, matching totals from 2003 (Week 12) and 1993 (Week 15), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Expansion has increased the chances over the years, but with so many close games in Week 3, I wanted to quickly touch upon kicking dynamics heading into Week 4:
- 49ers: Former longtime Philadelphia Eagles kicker David Akers returns to Philly with the San Francisco 49ers. He has made all seven field-goal tries this season, including two from 50-plus yards, both in clutch situations. He has touchbacks on 52.9 percent of kickoffs, best in the NFC West. Akers has been outstanding and the 49ers have leaned on him heavily while playing conservatively on offense.
- Cardinals: Jay Feely, who missed twice amid tough weather conditions during a 13-10 defeat at Seattle last week, faces one of his former teams when the New York Giants visit University of Phoenix Stadium. Feely is tied for the NFL lead with three misses this season. He missed only three last season, connecting on 24 of 27 attempts. Feely has touchbacks on 33 percent of kickoffs, which ranks third in the division. That is up from 22.9 percent last season.
- Seahawks: Seattle's Steven Hauschka has made all three of his attempts as a budget replacement for Olindo Mare, who cashed in with Carolina in free agency. Hauschka has one touchback in nine kickoffs for an 11.1 percentage that ranks last among players with more than two kickoffs. Mare has made all five field-goal attempts while producing touchbacks on half his kickoffs.
- Rams: Josh Brown has two of his three games indoors, an advantage over his divisional counterparts. He has touchbacks on 45.5 percent of kickoffs. Brown has made all four field-goal tries from inside 30 yards, missing one of two from 40-49.
The chart shows field-goal stats for kickers playing for and against NFC West teams in Week 4. The "missed from" column includes abbreviations for field goals missed short, wide right, wide left and blocked. Note: I added the Redskins' kicker to the list; thanks to Los Angeles Rams of St. Louis for pointing out the omission.