The NFL has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons this season, but there are still some things to be happy about.
The longest fg in nfl history is a record that was set this season. The kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, kicked a 61-yard field goal against the New York Jets on October 15th.
Here’s what we know: In Week 5 of the NFL season, there were more failed kicks than in any other week in the previous 34 years.
This is how we feel: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
It should make us feel like this: Eh.
Despite the adoption of regulations that make kicking more difficult, NFL kicking has gradually improved over the last two decades. The lengthy rising trend shouldn’t enable one week’s performance, as startling as it was, to obliterate years of hard work.
The timing of the problem this season has impacted views in certain instances. There have been 11 missed opportunities to equalize the game or put a side ahead in the last minute of the fourth quarter or overtime. It’s been the volume in other instances. During the last three minutes of regular and overtime, the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals, for example, combined to miss five field goals. Mason Crosby’s 49-yard field goal won the game for the Packers on the sixth try.
So let’s take a step back and look at the big picture to separate anecdote from trend and get a better understanding of what’s occurred so far this season.
Is it really as terrible as it seemed in Week 5?
Yes, for the most part. 14 field goals and 13 extra points were missed by kickers. That total of 27 missed field goals was the most since Week 11 of the 1987 season, according to NFL Research.
However, the extra-point misses were mainly responsible for that enthralling data point. It’s not difficult to imagine a worse week for field goals. There were 17 missed field goals in Week 5 of the 2019 season, for example. There were 16 in Week 5 of 2018. In both instances, the misses occurred on fewer tries than they did during the weekend.
So, what’s the deal with the bonus points?
At this time, we should refrain from delving too deeply into it. (It’s simple for most of us!)
Place kickers converted 94.4 percent of their extra points in the first four weeks of the season. Over the same time span, that’s better than the 2020 and 2019 seasons, and just around the league average since the NFL moved extra points from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line in 2015. Before getting too worked up, we should observe whether the downward trend from Week 5 continues.
What about field goals, for example?
Beginning with the 2015 season, kicking accuracy has been somewhat below average during the same time span. Eighty-seven percent of field goal attempts have been made in the first five weeks. That’s the second-lowest mark in the first five weeks of a season since the beginning of 2015, although only by a small margin. Between 2015 and 2020, the average conversion rate was 83.6 percent, a difference of three more converted kicks.
If you’re searching for a more in-depth explanation, examine the increase in long tries this season.
What exactly do you mean when you say “long attempts”?
Coaches have sent kickers out to try 61 kicks from at least 50 yards, including six from at least 60 yards, during the first five weeks of the season. This is eight more than the previous peak from 2015, and thirteen more above the pre-2020 average. Although the conversion rate was a solid 60.7 percent, the greater volume had a larger influence in lowering the total average than normal.
Please, don’t make me laugh. Every crucial field goal seems to be being missed.
There is no question that a significant percentage of field goals have been missed in crucial circumstances. So far in the fourth quarter and overtime, there have been 17 such misses. However, there has been a significant increase in late-game efforts.
The following are the facts: Kickers have made 88 of 105 attempts, converting 83.8 percent of the time. This proportion is higher than it was for comparable kicks in 2019, 2018, and 2015, and it’s just slightly lower than the 84.5 percent average from 2015 to 2020.
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So this is a volume issue?
Yes, in many ways. The large number of tight games the NFL has generated this season is one explanation for the increase in attempts, particularly from long distances.
There have been more winning touchdowns in the last minute of regular or overtime this season (19) than any other season on record. Through five weeks, the team has played in eight overtime games, which is a league high. Through five weeks, 21 games have been decided by three points or less, which is tied for the third most in league history.
When games are tight late in regulation, and particularly in overtime, it’s natural to expect more high-leverage field goal attempts. If the general conversion rate remains same, which is not surprising, there will be more misses to go along with the increased number of tries.
Aren’t there certain kickers that can be counted on to go above and beyond the norm?
Yes, of course. Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs, Cairo Santos of the Chicago Bears, Brandon McManus of the Denver Broncos, Younghoe Koo of the Atlanta Falcons, and Chase McLaughlin of the Cleveland Browns are the only full-time kickers who haven’t missed a field goal or an extra point this season. The Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker, who missed a 49-yard from goal against the Lions in Week 3 but made up for it with an NFL-record 66-yard field goal to win the game on the last play, isn’t on the list. He’s also very excellent.
In all, 10 kickers have made at least 90% of their field goal tries, while 16 have made all of their extra point attempts.
You seem to be creating many justifications for these individuals.
Basically, this is simply to provide a more complete picture of what has occurred this season. There have undoubtedly been a number of high-profile misses. However, they arrive during a season in which clubs are playing closer games than normal, resulting in a greater number of tries. The actual conversion rates do not seem to be much different from prior seasons.
So there’s nothing here to look at?
I’m not sure I’d go that far. Strange things may happen while you’re kicking. However, there are plenty of non-performance data sources to use as a starting point for this research.
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