Los Angeles Chargers placekicker Dustin Hopkins was the MVP of the team’s 19-16 overtime win over the Denver Broncos. Hopkins made four field goals, including the game-winner in the extra session, all while dealing with a hamstring injury that popped up when he kicked his team’s only point-after conversion of the evening.
Hopkins is out 2-4 weeks with that hamstring strain, so his efforts absolutely came at a personal cost. Journeyman kicker Taylor Bertolet will replace Hopkins in the meantime. Bertolet didn’t miss a kick against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5 when filling in for Hopkins, who had a quad injury at the time, but all of his field goals were within 30 yards.
You may not think that this is a meaningful storyline, but the Seahawks just came off a game in which the Cardinals failed to convert on all three 4th down attempts within field goal range. Matt Ammendola’s struggles made him a liability and not trustworthy in the eyes of Kliff Kingsbury, and his missed extra point on Arizona’s only touchdown justified the decision. Ammendola has since been released.
Two weeks prior, the Detroit Lions didn’t have their usual starting kicker Austin Seibert available, so Dominik Eberle gave it a go and missed two extra points. Detroit made up for that by making their two-point conversions but they wouldn’t have been necessary if not for Eberle’s misses.
Brandon Staley is one of the more aggressive coaches in the league when it comes to going for it on 4th down, but with a backup kicker whose three career attempts were all chipshots, don’t be surprised if that further impacts his decision-making like we saw with Kliff Kingsbury last Sunday.