A 44 yarder is not auto-MATT-ic

October 19, 2009 | Keith Melchior

Updated 10/19…**

There are huge numbers of Hauschka haters out there and it’s making me ill to read and listen to some of the comments about him. This sounds like 2001 all over again, when the upgrade at the QB position from Trent Dilfer to Elvis Grbac was made. People are still really upset about that move. Grbac has no solid running game with the preseason injury to Jamal Lewis. Even with a make-shift RB by committee they made it to the Divisional playoffs. We’ll never know what would have happened if Billick turned the 2nd half over to Randall Cunningham. Those what-ifs are what pisses people off the most, mainly because they DON’T know what would have happened. Same with Dilfer. Could he have gone as far as Grbac with no running game? We don’t know because it didn’t happen. Now we get to the “Stover would have made that kick” comments. Again, we DON’T know that for sure because it didn’t happen.

Here’s the scoop on Steve Hauschka.

He has attempted only 9 FGs as a Raven hitting on 6 of them. He was 1-2 last season. Both of those kicks last season were not made with the game on the line. The margin of the score was 15+ when he attempted those 2 50+ yard kicks and they were both attempted in the 2nd quarter. One was at home and the other was on the road

So far this season he is 5-7 . Of those 7, 5 FG attempts have been in the first half.  He hit the one in San Diego in the 4th quarter to extend the Ravens lead over the Chargers to 5, forcing them to go for a TD at the end of the game. He’s 4-4 inside 40 yards, 1-3 beyond 40 (all 3 came on artificial turf fields)  Even the announcers on the game were saying the target area was about the 35 yard line.  Probably not wanting to risk a turnover, the Ravens chose to stall at the 37 yard line. I’m not making excuses for Hauschka missing that kick yesterday, but I am also not going to crucify him like many have chosen to do. That was his first ever attempt at a game winning FG and it was a tough kick in a tough environment. It has to be difficult for even a veteran kicker to attempt a game winner under those noisy conditions in the MetroDome.

Granted, the kid has to learn how to make those kicks, and that is part of the growth process of a kicker in the NFL and for those who think a 44 yard FG is a makeable kick, let me throw some stats out to you….

I could only go back to 1991 with the nfl.com career stats. In 1991 with Cleveland, Matt Stover was 16-22 in FG attempts… From 1991 to 1994, he made an average of 72% of his FG attempts (11-20 from 40-49 yards)  His best season with the Browns was 1994 at almost 93% (8-8 from 40-49)

His first 3 seasons in Baltimore  he averaged about 76% of his attempts (21-38 from 40-49) His best season here was 2006 with 94% (6-7  from 40-49)  In 2007 Stover was 27-32.  He was 7-8 at home and 1-4 on the road from 40-49 yards. Last season he was 27 -33.  He was 3-7 at home and 2-2 on the road from 40-49 yards.

From 1991 to 2008, Stover was 14-15 from less than 20 yards….168-171 from 20-29 yards….141-156 from 30-39 yards …..126-179 from 40-49 yards ….and 13-31 from 50+yards.  As a Raven he MISSED 39 kicks from 40-49 yards..

I looked up Adam Vinatieri’s career stats as a comparison to Stover;

From 40-49 yards he was 85-120 (70-99 as a Patriot and 15-21 as a Colt)   In the 4th quarter and OT he was14-21 from 40-49 yards… When his team was ahead he was 33-50 and when either tied or losing, he was 52-70 from 40-49 yards.

And Vinatieri is considered one of the best kickers in the NFL averaging 82% of his FG attempts.

YOU go kick a 44 yarder if it’s so makeable!!!

**..Update..

A few wondered what Stover’s career numbers were in domed stadiums.. He has kicked in Atlanta,  New Orleans, Indy, Minnesota,  St Louis, Dallas,  Houston (Reliant and Astrodome) and Seattle (Kingdome) a total of 27 times and has a career 32-40 indoors.  With Cleveland he was 13-16 with a long of 55 yards (Astrodome)  in 1991. With the Ravens he was 19-24 with a long of 51 yards (loss 22-20 at Indy 2002)…Since 2002 his longest was 46 yards 35-17 loss at Detroit 2005).. Kicking in 3 domes in 2008, his longest was 37 yards (a loss 31-3 at Indy and a win 33-24 at Dallas)

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