Greg Zuerlein, K St. Louis Rams
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Monday, October 27, 2014, 11:21am
Rams coach Jeff Fisher and special-teams coach John Fassel called for a kickoff to go deep and to the left side. But kicker Greg Zuerlein mishit the kick and it didn't get much hang time, leaving plenty of room for Davis to scoop it up and take off down the right sideline. By the time Davis was done running, he had a 99-yard touchdown, the Chiefs had a 17-7 lead and were well on their way to 34 unanswered points and a blowout victory.
"It was a bad kick," Fisher said. "We were trying to get a deep left kick and he just shanked it and they got off and running. I haven’t seen it. Usually when that happens, you are going to get potentially a hold or two but it’s uncharacteristic of our cover team not to make that play. But that was a key play. It’s what they needed to win this game. We didn’t get that."
The mishit kickoff and the missed field goal are part of a disturbing trend for Zuerlein, who just two years ago was considered one of the most dangerous young kickers in the league as he converted his first 15 field goal attempts. But since Week 6 of 2012, he's 44-of-57 on field goal attempts, a 77.2 percent conversion rate. He only missed two field goals in 2013 but both came at the most inopportune times in losses to Seattle and Tennessee.
So far this season, Zuerlein is 8-of-11 on field goal tries. And though two of those misses have come from 50-plus yards, his ability to make long kicks was a big part of his appeal in the first place. He's made just five of his past 14 attempts from 50 yards or further. The story said it's not time to give up on Zuerlein just yet -- a 27-point loss certainly isn't all his fault -- but if his struggles continue, it's fair to wonder how much longer his leash extends.
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
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