When the Buccaneers traded up to select kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of this year’s draft, the idea was that acquiring the most accurate kicker in college history would take the guesswork out of one phase of their game.
Early struggles in the preseason made it clear that things weren’t going to be quite that easy and the first five weeks of the regular season have been even worse. Aguayo missed three kicks in the first four games and seemed destined for goat horns on Monday night when he missed two field goals in a game that was tied at 14 with overtime fast approaching.
Jameis Winston led a 66-yard drive to give Aguayo one more chance and the rookie was good from 38 yards to give the Bucs a victory.
“I was just hitting the ball in the net and just working on staying smooth and staying comfortable and when I got there, I was just like having another rep in the net, being comfortable and attacking the ball,” Aguayo said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s just another kick.”
That might be the right mindset for Aguayo after so many misses, but it didn’t quite feel that way when the ball left his foot. A miss would have sent the game to overtime and a Panthers win would have sent the Bucs into their bye week with a 1-4 record. Aguayo’s status and the wisdom of spending draft picks that way would have been much discussed, to say nothing of the wisdom of keeping the guy who made the move on hand.
Those discussions may still come, but the game-winner likely makes them less urgent in Tampa.