As the New York Jets lost their Week 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals thanks to kicker Nick Folk, is it time they moved past him?
Four. That’s how many points kicker Nick Folk of the New York Jets kept off the scoreboard in Sunday’s 23-22 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. “I still take it on my shoulders. I feel like I let the team down. If we make the extra point and the field goal, they need a touchdown at the end” Folk said after the game courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets.
Entering Sunday’s contest, Folk held an NFL record 312 consecutive extra points made. That statistic should not be taken at face value, however. Remember, in November of 2015, Folk was placed on the injured reserve list, ending his season.
During the 2015 season, Folk connected on 100% of only 19 attempts. To compare, fellow AFC East rival Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots, connected on 100% of 52 attempts. Folk’s, albeit still perfect, is a much smaller sample size. The Jets games, before
The Jets games, before Folk injured his quadriceps, were also decided by an average of about 13 points, hardly the pressure-filled 1 point, emotional September 11th game from Sunday. Perhaps, in his ten-year career, he has gotten to a point where he folds under pressure.
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Also, keep in mind 2015 was the first season the NFL enacted its new rule to move the point-after-attempt from the two to the fifteen-yard line.
Folk told me this last December about what it is like to hit a PAT:
“You just kind of take it as another field goal.
I tell myself to make every kick look the same, whether it’s an extra point or a 50 yarder or a game winner, whatever it is, you try and kick the ball the same.
So that’s the biggest thing, you can’t take it as just an extra point”.
All but 19 of Folk’s 312 consecutive PATs were kicked from the two-yard line. Last December, Folk told me: “[The NFL] just wanted to add excitement to the game.” With the Jets, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings all missing extra points on opening weekend of 2016, no one can deny that it hasn’t.
All-in-all, Jets fans should not be quick to want to fire Folk immediately.
Fans should be more patient than a one game blip on his otherwise above average 10-year career. He has a career accuracy of 80.5% as a field goal kicker and a 99.7% as a PAT kicker.
There is no denying the importance of Sunday’s game against the banged-up, playoff caliber Bengals. However, there is much more football to be played in the 2016 season, we cannot focus squarely on this episode. Even the Vikings took kicker Blair Walsh back after missing the game-winning field goal in last year’s NFC Wild Card playoff game.
“It’s just frustrating from my end. . . . I feel pretty bad about it. . . . but we have a game in four days so we have to bounce back pretty quick”, said Folk via the Media Relations Department of the Jets. A day in the life of a kicker. On to the Bills, Jets Nation.