The Seahawks’ most reliable player has been faltering recently, and nobody knows exactly why.
After making 37 consecutive field goals, including going a perfect 24 for 24 in the 2020 season, Seahawks kicker Jason Myers has started 2021 sluggishly, making just 3 of his 5 attempts so far. He has missed at least one kick in three of the last four games, with a missed field goal in the losses to Minnesota and the Los Angeles Rams, and a crucial missed extra point in the loss against Tennessee.
Some might say Myers is coming back down to Earth, and this isn’t a horrible assumption. Even though Myers ranks 15th all-time in field goal accuracy, at 85.5%, expecting him to consistently make over 90% of his field goals (or even all of them) like last year, is unreasonable. And even though his current rate of 60% isn’t nearly high enough to satisfy the Seahawks long-term, every great kicker has a slump every once in a while; we saw this happen Sunday with Packers kicker Mason Crosby, as he missed three kicks in the span of eight game minutes despite having missed only two all of last season.
However, there is reason to believe that Myers could be having some psychological issues when kicking. In the Titans game, Myers missed an extra point off of the right upright that kept the game within 14 points, and ultimately allowed the Titans to come back more easily, leading to the loss.
While we will have to wait for more misses to know for sure, early evidence suggests that Myers may now be attempting to over-compensate for that miss by driving the ball leftward. In his misses against Minnesota and Los Angeles (both of which were from manageable distances of 44 and 35 yards, respectively), Myers missed wide left, despite having favorable kicking conditions and good holds in both instances.
Kicking is one of the highest-pressure jobs in sports, and doubt can creep in with even the slightest failures. Perhaps doubt just enters his mind right at the moment of kicking, as some of you might have experienced right before taking a free throw, penalty kick, or golf swing.
Regardless, Myers will need to be better for the remainder of this season for the sake of the Seahawks (and his job security). The Seahawks are 0-3 when Myers misses a kick this year, and 2-0 when he makes one, suggesting a correlation between his confidence and the confidence of the team. This hypothesis is strengthened when we consider that the Seahawks have been outscored 56-10 after a Jason Myers miss this year, and have outscored opponents 54-33 before one (all of his misses have occurred while the Seahawks were leading). It’s also possible, though, in a “chicken-or-the-egg” sense, that special teams failures are just a symptom of the team’s dysfunction as a whole.
Moving forward, keep an eye out when watching Myers kick, and see if he is aiming to the left. By paying close attention, we might find out soon just how bad his problems are.