It could have been another sad week for Indianapolis Colts‘ kicker Adam Vinatieri. Last week Vinatieri missed a 52-yard field goal on the opening possession of the game against the Miami Dolphins. We didn’t know it then, but that missed field goal would make the difference between the Colts winning or losing.
As bad as the Colts played last week, if Vinatieri makes that field goal Indianapolis is only down 24-23 on the final drive. Andrew Luck led them down to a first-and-ten from the 23-yard line. That changes everything as they don’t have to take shots at the endzone but rather just run the clock out and settle for a Vinatieri-chip-shot for the win.
Indianapolis would have been 2-0 entering today’s game against the San Francisco 49ers if Vinatieri had made that field goal last week.
Today, he made his first two attempts from 43 and 41 yards respectively, but none was bigger than his 51-yarder near the beginning of the fourth quarter. Indianapolis led 13-7 and making it would have put them up two scores. He missed the kick wide left and gave the 49ers the ball back with good field position.
That could have given the 49ers the momentum and life they were looking for. It felt like they were on the verge of scoring anytime. Luckily for Vinatieri, the Colts’ defense bailed him out by forcing San Francisco to a three-and-out.
What a swing of things. The Colts’ offense ran a great bone-crushing drive on the next possession and sealed the deal. They were so close to going to 1-2 with two straight losses based on the right foot of Vinatieri.
Vinatieri can’t keep missing these field goals. With how tight the NFL is in this day and age — with games being decided by one possession — a missed field goal is the difference in winning games or losing.
Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru