Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein, who has made plenty of big kicks, missed a kick he should have made to win Thursday night’s game at Seattle. As he lined up to try the fateful 44-yarder, all Seahawks coach Pete Carroll could do was wait, watch, and hope.
“I have a thought,” Carroll told reporters after the 30-29 win regarding his mindset in that moment. “They’ve still got to snap it and they’ve got to put it down on the ground and kick it and it has to go through. There’s a lot of stuff that still has to happen. That’s exactly the source of the optimism. ”
Carroll has been there before, with much more riding on it.
“It reminds me [of] the time, I’ll never forget it, it was the Minnesota game, it was the clearest moment I ever had in that vein,” Carroll said, referring to a 2014 open-air wild-card game against the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. “It was windy and frozen and all the rest too, we had a lot of things going there. That’s basically what I’m thinking; I’m just holding a good thought as long as we can.”
In that game, former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh shanked a chip shot, ending Minnesota’s season and boosting Seattle to the divisional round. It also ruined Walsh, giving him a case of the yips that he never was able to cure.
Zuerlein, who along with Walsh became an instant success as a drafted rookie kicker in 2012, now has to worry about the same thing. That’s why coach Sean McVay isn’t stating the obvious regarding Zuerlein’s inability to satisfy the you-had-one-job aspect of his job. If last night’s miss sticks with Zuerlein, he may start missing more. And more.