Home NFL NFL kicking disaster: Kickers get off to ugly start as they combine for worst Week 1 performance in 10 years – CBS Sports

NFL kicking disaster: Kickers get off to ugly start as they combine for worst Week 1 performance in 10 years – CBS Sports

6 min read

USA Today

It’s almost fitting that the final NFL game of Week 1 included a disastrous kicking performance, because that basically epitomized how badly kickers around the league performed during the opening week of the season. 

The final game of Week 1 was in Denver, where Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski had a nightmare game with three missed field goals and a missed extra point during Tennessee’s wild 16-14 win over the Broncos

Although Gostkowski eventually redeemed himself by hitting a game-winning field goal with under 30 seconds left to play, things got pretty ugly before that. 

Including his three misses, NFL kickers around the league combined to miss a total of 19 field goals in Week 1. If that sounds bad, that’s because it is. Things got so ugly that there was only ONE game out of 16 where there weren’t any missed kicks (Packers-Vikings), so congratulations to Mason Crosby and Dan Bailey. In the 15 other Week 1 games, there was at least one missed field goal or extra point (There were a total of five missed extra points in Week 1). 

According to our research team here at CBS Sports, the 19 missed kicks were the most combined missed field goals in nearly a decade. The last time there were 19 errant field goals in the same week came all the way back in Week 10 of 2011, which is notable, because the 2011 season also marked the last time that kickers didn’t get a full offseason of practice (Nine years ago, half the offseason was canceled due to the NFL lockout). 

Kickers as a collective group don’t generally struggle this early in the season, and if you need proof just consider this: The last time there were at least 19 missed field goals during the opening week of the season came all the way back in 1982. 

According to NFL research, the 71.6% conversion rate on field goals was the lowest Week 1 total since 1998, when kickers combined to hit just 71.4% of their kicks. 

The reason this is all notable is because if there’s one position in the NFL where you can lose your job after one bad performance, it’s definitely kicker. The Browns have already moved on from their kicker, Austin Seibert, who missed a field goal and an extra point in Cleveland’s 38-6 opening week loss to Baltimore (Note to the Browns: Seibert is not why you lost that game). 

Fortunately for Seibert, he wasn’t a free agent for long and that’s because the Bengals swooped in and signed him on Tuesday. Ironically enough, the Bengals and Browns will be playing each other on “Thursday Night Football” this week. However, Seibert won’t see the field unless the Bengals decide to start him over Randy Bullock, who is still with the team, despite having the ugliest miss of Week 1.  

Forty-Niners kicker Robbie Gould actually predicted in early August that we might see kickers struggle early on this year and it appears that he was right. Gould thought that kicking in empty stadiums would create a new variable that kickers might not be prepared to handle. Teams around the league will now be hoping that things in the kicking department go much smoother in Week 2. 

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