After a terrific month of November, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month.
Vinatieri was 11-for-11 on field goal attempts during the month, the only kicker in the NFL to be perfect while attempting at least 10 kicks. He also hit 9-of-10 extra points and scored 42 total points during the month, a total that ranked tied for fourth in the league. During November, Vinatieri hit the game-winning kick with under a minute left against the Atlanta Falcons He also hit the kick that sent the game to overtime against the Carolina Panthers, plus the kick that gave the Colts the lead in overtime (it wasn't a game-winner due to the new overtime rules, which gave the Panthers a chance to match - which they did). Last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Vinatieri hit all four of his field goal attempts (plus a fifth that was wiped out due to a Buccaneers penalty), the second time this season and the 19th time in his career that he hit four field goals in a game. During November, seven of his 11 field goals were from 40+ yards out.
The future Hall of Famer is having another terrific season this year, as since two early misses to start the season (it's crazy to think he started the season 0-for-2) he has hit 16 kicks in a row, including two game-winners and 10 kicks from 40+ yards out. During a season in which Andrew Luck has been injured for four games and in which the Colts have struggled to put the ball in the end zone at times, Vinatieri has never been more important to the team than he is this year. That was evident just last week, when the Colts continually fell short of the end zone yet could call out Vinatieri for an automatic three points. With a backup quarterback in the game, having a kicker like Vinatieri is even more important, which likely played a role in him being named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month as well.
This is the first time that a Colts player has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month since punter Pat McAfee earned the honor in September of the 2014 season. This season, McAfee has been the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week (week three), while safety Mike Adams (week five) and cornerback Darius Butler (week nine) have been the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. For Vinatieri, this is the fourth time that he has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month, but surprisingly it is his first time as a Colt (the others were in October of 1998, September of 1999, and November of 2004). Regardless, this time it is very deserved, as Vinatieri had a great month in the midst of another great season.