Monday, December 20, 2010
A look at Dan Carpenter's day to forget
By Tim Graham
Dan Carpenter wasn't asked to kick any gimmies Sunday for the Miami Dolphins. His attempts were long. The wind was gusting about 20 mph.
Dan Carpenter missed four field goals in Sunday's loss to Buffalo.
And it's tough to get on him for missing all four of his kicks. If not for Carpenter consistently bailing out the Dolphins' moribund offense, the Dolphins' playoff hopes would have died weeks earlier. He was the AFC's special teams player of the month for October.
Still, the Pro Bowl kicker had a miserable afternoon -- one of the worst in the past 30 years for any kicker, as you'll read below. The Dolphins desperately could have used just one field goal in a 17-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Sun Life Stadium.
Carpenter was a Pro Bowler last season. He missed from 48 yards (wide right), 61 yards (short), 53 yards (wide left) and 48 yards (wide right). The last miss came with 1:48 left in the game and the Dolphins in need of three points to maybe force overtime.
Instead, the Dolphins fell to 1-6 at home and had their nominal playoff hopes extinguished. The Bills beat their first opponent with a winning record.
"It hurts knowing that you cost your team and the chance to move on to the playoffs," Carpenter said.
If the Dolphins' offense could move the ball, then Carpenter wouldn't have been asked to kick from a different zip code.
Nevertheless, his performance was epically unsuccessful.
Carpenter was just the second kicker to miss four field goals without making one since 1992. He was the first kicker to miss four field goals in a loss of three points or less since Kris Brown did so on five attempts in 2001.
The Elias Sports Bureau found Mike Cofer in 1991 was the last kicker to miss all four without a conversion in a loss of three points or less.
"I'm going to put the guy out there and let him take his swings," Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano said. "He's been kicking great. I've got a lot of confidence in the guy. I felt like he would knock it through on a 44- or 45-yarder. He's made a bushel of those kinds of kicks and farther.
"We wouldn't have a chance to be where we are right now without him, we know that."