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Seahawks Kicker Consideration, Week 4: A slice, a safety, and a win

Rod Mar,

First of all, I am a Blair Walsh apologist so let me just start this article by saying this is all Michele Tafoya’s fault. You heard that right, she jinxed Walsh before that kick during the broadcast and a missed field goal — his first missed field goal as a member of the Seahawks — is all on her.

Michele Tafoya is literally the worst

I’m not ready to completely panic, but there are some very troubling things about Walsh’s misses, both actual and in warmups on Sunday, so let’s break them down.

First off, his missed field goal:

Blair Walsh misses his first field goal as a Seahawk

So, we have a slice on this shot. The most obvious suspected cause is that, due to the right-to-left wind as seen on the pylon, Walsh overcorrects and misses to the right. A couple of things bother me about this attempt. First, the wind isn’t actually that strong here: reported winds were 7 MPH to the South, and the kick is not excessive in length. A large correction just wasn’t needed to make this kick.

The second part about this miss worries me much, much more. And it is how during halftime Walsh seemed unable to cage his aim as he missed every single practice kick shown to the left regardless of hash attempted:

Blair Walsh halftime missed FG practice shots

Walsh, until this point, had been perfect on field goal attempts regardless of point differential, distance, wind, surface, or weather. But he had also only gotten six attempts. So, while 6/7 (85%) isn’t ideal, keep in mind that 85% field goal percentage is just below what we can expect over the course of the season. It may be a stretch to say that each kick is an independent statistical event, but assuming they are, with seven attempts our expected number of misses would be approaching close to one. Then again if kicks are independent then hitting six does not mean “you are due” for a miss either, that’s not how things work. I will be interested to see if and how Walsh bounces back from this fairly high-pressure kick. In summary, don’t panic ... yet.

NFL leading punter no longer, aka the fall of Jon Ryan

Okay, it’s time for the good news section of the article: Jon Ryan is no longer the leader in punt attempts for the NFL. He is now tied for third at 22 punts during the 2017 season. Second bit of good news, he’s also no longer in first place for total yards punted this season as he has fallen to sixth. The Seahawks only required Ryan to come off the bench twice for kicking duties.

While one of those was the free kick after giving up a safety to the Colts, it does show how much leg power Ryan has. He begins the free kick making contact at Seattle’s 19-yard and the kick is caught by the Colts at the their 16. Meaning the ball traveled 67 yards down field before being caught.

Jon Ryan free kick

If you’re wondering just how you can help out the Seahawks and our kickers I think Sarah Colonna, Ryan’s better half, has a suggestion:

Kick of the Week:

You know what makes me happy? Patriots losses. Why? Is it because I have had run ins with insufferable fans who understand next to nothing about football and either didn’t watch New England when they were bad or have lost all semblance of humility since then? Nah, that couldn’t be it. I just like the underdog is all.

Graham Gano, before this kick, was a perfect 9/9 on field goal tries and 6/7 on extra points. While this kick isn’t as far as the 61-yard bomb last week, you have to respect the pressure of the situation all the same. The Panthers were regarded as a long shot to win this game to begin with, Cam Newton even had some choice words for reporters after the game. But Gano walks up, boots the ball 48 yards for the walk off win in front of a hostile crowd against the most dominant team of the modern era. For that reason, and definitely not because I have anything against the Patriots, he’s our kick of the week winner.