The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicking woes continued Thursday night against the New England Patriots.
Nick Folk missed three field goals for Tampa Bay as the Patriots managed to escape with a 19-14 victory over the Buccaneers. Folk missed from 56, 49 and 31 yards, forcing the offense to score touchdowns they would not have needed otherwise to grab the lead. Folk’s misses from 56 and 49 yards weren’t particularly close either. His miss from 31 yards wide left with less than six minutes remaining was the final blow. A make there would have allowed the chance for a game-winning field goal try in the closing seconds instead of a throw for the end zone.
Folk isn’t trying to dodge the blame for his misses.
“We should have won the game, 20-19,” Folk said,” via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “So this one’s on me.”
It’s not all on Folk. Cameron Brate dropped a touchdown pass before Folk’s final miss from 31 yards that would have made it a 16-14 game. Jameis Winston scored on a 3-yard scramble only to have that touchdown negated by an illegal hands to the face penalty on center Evan Smith. Either one of those scores would have enable the Buccaneers to have a greater chance to winning the game.
Instead, Folk’s third miss two plays later carried a greater significance.
The Buccaneers had hoped they’d found their kicker for the foreseeable future when they selected Roberto Aguayo in the second round of last year’s NFL Draft.
Aguayo missed nine of 31 field goal attempts and missed a pair of extra point tries last year with Tampa Bay. His struggles led the team to bring in Folk to compete in training camp. As he continued to falter, the Buccaneers released Aguayo and gave the job to Folk.
Folk has now missed five kicks in the last two games. The Buccaneers will have an extra few days prior to their next game against the Arizona Cardinals to assess what other options are available to them given the continued missteps of their kicking game.