Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Kickers' keys in divisional round
By Daniel Braunstein
Fans saw kickers play a pivotal role in the Wild Card playoffs last weekend. In the Jets-Colts tilt, Adam Vinatieri’s 50-yarder to give the Colts the lead was answered by a Nick Folk game-winning 32-yard field goal as time expired. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, David Akers missed two crucial field goals in the Eagles’ five-point loss to the Packers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the remaining kickers in the divisional round.
Billy Cundiff, BAL: Cundiff had 40 touchbacks this season, tied for the most in NFL history. The Ravens allowed just four touchdowns and forced six turnovers on drives following those touchbacks. In the Ravens' wild-card win over the Chiefs, Cundiff had two touchbacks, both of which led to Chiefs turnovers. Despite his strong leg, Cundiff is just 1-for-7 on field goals of 50 yards or more over the last six seasons.
Shaun Suisham, PIT: Since replacing the ineffective Jeff Reed, Suisham has made 14-of-15 field goals, including 8-of-9 from 40-to-49 yards. Reed missed two from that range in Pittsburgh's three-point loss to Baltimore in Week 4.
Nick Folk, NYJ: After missing badly on a 53-yard field goal against the Patriots in Week 13, Folk has converted his last eight attempts, including the game-winner against the Colts. The eight straight made field goals is tied for the second longest streak in Folk's career. He also holds the NFL record for most career extra points without a miss at 168.
Shayne Graham, NE: Signed when Stephen Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve, Graham has converted all 12 of his field goal attempts for the Patriots this season, though he has missed two extra points. Graham is the only kicker in the last 10 years to miss at least two extra points in a season without missing a field goal.
Mason Crosby, GB: He’s 15-of-16 on field goals in his career in games played in domes, with the only miss a 52-yarder at Minnesota in 2008. Crosby made his only kick in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in Week 12 this season, a site he and the Packers re-visit Saturday.
Matt Bryant, ATL: Over the last six seasons, Bryant has missed just one field goal from between 30 and 39 yards. His conversion rate of 98 percent (49-for-50) in that time is tops among kickers with at least 20 attempts from that range.
Olindo Mare, SEA: Mare's 88.0 field goal percentage (73-for-83) is third in the NFL since he joined the Seahawks in 2008. In the two years before he arrived in Seattle, Mare had made just 36 of 53 (67.9 percent), worst in the NFL among kickers with at least 20 field goal attempts.
Robbie Gould, CHI: Gould is 6-for-6 in his postseason career, the second-most postseason field goals without a miss over the last 10 years (Garrett Hartley). Four of Gould's field goals were from beyond 40 yards.