On a day in which Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri set a new NFL record with his 43rd straight made field goal, it was another game that actually showed his value even better.
That game would be the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks, one that wound up as a 6-6 tie and left both teams kicking themselves over their kicking game. Combined, their two kickers - Chandler Catanzaro for the Cardinals and Steven Hauschka for the Seahawks - hit four of seven field goal attempts, as they each had makes in regulation and in overtime. But it was how that overtime period ended that was stunning.
With just a few minutes left in overtime, the Cardinals faced a third and goal from the six yard line, and they decided to kick - which was a perfectly understandable decision - despite their shaky special teams. A make would have won the game, but Catanzaro’s 24-yard kick nailed the upright and bounced off, no good. So the Seahawks got the ball and launched an impressive drive to get into easy field goal range with just seconds left. And with the game on the line, Hauschka missed the 28-yard kick wide left.
The Colts did some epic trolling on twitter after the misses, emphasizing how nice it is to have Adam Vinatieri.
It’s true, though: Sunday night’s game showed very clearly why Adam Vinatieri is so valuable to the Colts. To have a kicker who is just automatic takes a lot of the worry out of it, because we saw last night (and we’ve seen all year) that field goals are far from automatic things for most teams and most kickers. In fact, there are only three kickers in the NFL who have yet to miss this year: Adam Vinatieri (18-for-18), Justin Tucker (18-for-18), and Greg Zuerlein (10-for-10). From 20-29 yards, Vinatieri has hit 96.7% of kicks in his career (174-for-180). Overall, he’s been just as good, especially recently. He’s made 43 in a row, but he’s also made 78 of his last 81 kicks! That’s insane production, and he’s still hitting from long distance too. He’s 16-for-19 on 50+ yard kicks over the last four seasons.
Tony Dungy, the Hall of Fame coach who coached Vinatieri for three seasons in Indianapolis, also realizes how much of a benefit it is to have a guy who’s that automatic.
Watching the kickers tonight really makes me appreciate Adam Vinatieri. He made his 43rd FG in a row today to set an NFL record. Congrats.— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) October 24, 2016
I think most Colts fans realize just how insanely good Adam Vinatieri is and how valuable he is to this Colts team, but if there was ever any question just take a look around the league, particularly at the Sunday night game last night.