Monday, May 27, 2019
Home Sport For better or for worse, kickers carry too much responsibility

For better or for worse, kickers carry too much responsibility

They say no one is perfect. Justin Tucker was in a sense and stopped being in a blink.

It will be necessary to see how the first extra point attempt that Tucker fails in his career affects the Baltimore Ravens in the long term. For now, the effect of his first mistake in this line meant that the Pittsburgh Steelers, without moving a finger to rest in Week 7, took the lead in the AFC North.

Until before his failure at the end of the duel against the New Orleans Saints, Tucker had connected the 222 extra points he had tried in his more than six years in the NFL, a streak that even began from his collegiate stage, which guessed right 71 with the University of Texas.

Tucker was the only player in NFL history who was perfect in extra points among kickers with at least 200 attempts.

In 2015, the NFL decided to make it difficult for the kickers to try extra points by moving the location of the ball from the 2 to the 15 so the distance to the posts was 33 yards and Tucker, the measure did not affect … until the Week 7 of the current campaign.

Justin Turner (9) looks incredulously at the posts after failing the first extra point attempt of his career, including the collegiate scope. K. Lam / Baltimore Sun / TNS via Getty Images

In 2015, the extra points stopped being automatic. From 2000 to 2014, kickers converted 98 percent of their attempts, a figure that rose above 99 percent since 2010.

Since the location of the ovoid is the 15 yard, the efficiency has decreased significantly, but not at a dramatic level. The kickers converted 94 percent of their extra point attempts from 2015 to 2017 and in the current season, the efficiency is higher, 95 percent (491 of 518), according to ESPN Stats and Information.

For many, that a kicker is responsible for the fate of a team is unacceptable, but it is part of the game and most of the time, this shows the inefficiency or weakness of an offense and the success of the defense, which forces its rival to use his kicker.

Brett Maher, of the Dallas Cowboys, found himself in this situation in Week 7 after failing a 52-yard field goal attempt to tie the score and ended up meaning the loss to the Washington Redskins.

Originally, the attempt would be 47, but a punishment against the long center (long snapper) L.P. Ladouceur by moving the ball delayed five yards to the Cowboys.

Maher, who made it to Week 7 perfect in his three previous attempts of more than 50 yards and with a streak of 16 successful field goals, cost him the Cowboys loss.

The Redskins celebrate after the attempted field goal missed by the kicker of Dallas, Brett Maher. John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maher's strength remained, however, the curve that made the ball out of the post is evidence that, if there was no punishment, Dallas would have forced the extra time.

The further, (almost always) more complicated
In Maher's defense, the distance from which the kickers have missed the most field goal attempts the last four seasons, including the 2018 season, is 50 or more yards. In the current season, the effectiveness is 64 percent; in 2017 it was 69 percent; of 57 percent in 2016 and 65 percent in 2015.

In field goals of 40 to 49 yards, the efficiency in the NFL in 2018 is 73 percent, the lowest in the last four years (79 percent in 2017 and 2016 and 76 percent in 2015), according to ESPN Stats and Information.

In this line, Chandler Catanzaro did the hardest thing-and failed the easy way-to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the victory over the Cleveland Browns, after missing a 40-yard field goal attempt at the end of regular time, but connecting another of 59 yards in overtime.

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Catanzaro's triumph is the longest field goal to win in overtime since the NFL adopted overtime in 1974.

The perception in 2018 is that kickers fail more, but this may be because they are tested more frequently in decisive situations than in recent years and, therefore, failures are magnified.

The errors are inherent to any position, but they are more evident when it comes to the kicker and although no one can be perfect, there are those who come closest to that condition.

These are the most efficient and accurate kickers since 2017 with at least 30 field goal attempts:

The solution in Dallas is to run, run and run
With everything and Amari Cooper as another option for Dak Prescott in the passing game, the Cowboys must commit to giving the ball to Ezekiel Elliott early and often.

In the loss to the Redskins, Elliott had his third worst running game after adding just 33 yards. The worst game of his career occurred in 2017, when in Week 2 of that season he added only eight yards in a visit to the Denver Broncos. After the duel against Washington last Sunday, the runner's lowest productions are 51 yards (vs. New York Giants, Week 1 in 2016); 54 yards (against Houston Texans, Week 5 of 2018) and 69 yards (Week 1 against Carolina Panthers, Week 1 of 2018).

Before the irregularity of the air attack in Dallas, the defensive ones focus their attention on the runner Ezekiel Elliott. Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

All have been defeats for the Cowboys, which, given the irregularity of Prescott and a body of receivers that will not improve much with Cooper, have in their corridor the spark plug of their offensive engine.

When Elliott is over 100 yards on the ground, Dallas is 12-3; when you add less than 100, the record is 10-7, but still positive in the balance.

Eagles aimlessly
The NFL champion seems to have forgotten how to play with the clock as his ally.

By losing the 17-point lead with which they reached the fourth period paea, eventually falling 21-17 against the Carolina Panthers, the Eagles became the first defending Super Bowl champion to let go a 17-point lead since the Buccaneers they lost one of 21, with five minutes left to play, Indianapolis Colts on October 6, 2003.

They also became the fourth team since 1966 to let out a 17-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter at home. The last team that had done it were … the Eagles in 1985.

Coach Doug Pederson was upset with the press over questions about his game plan in the fourth quarter against the Panthers.

"(Attendees, coaches and players spent more than 18 hours watching videos and creating the game plan, while for you, in the box, it's very easy to say, 'They should have done this,'" Pederson said.

Maybe it's true, but any head coach should know how to play with a 17-point lead and even though his playbook is witty and varied, they should know how to keep the opponent at bay.

In the fourth quarter, the Panthers added 226 yards and 12 first and 10. In turn, the Eagles offense had only nine plays, all passes, and produced only 22 yards and two first and 10 and only one was with the advantage on the scoreboard.

Run and keep more time Cam Newton and his offense on the bench would have been a better idea, Doug.



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